Online Screening : Clementine Edwards - Toxic Inheritances Online Screening : Clementine Edwards - Toxic Inheritances

1st February – 15th March 2024

Clementine Edwards: Toxic Inheritances 

On a warm day in 2017, a woman pulled a small object from the wet sand of the Elbe river, believing it to be a piece of amber. She put it in her jacket pocket and went for a swim. The jacket then went up in flames.

In 1943, an air force officer named Willy Peter dropped colourful marker bombs over Hamburg, preceding the British firestorm of the city. One German on the ground remembered: ‘I stood there looking out at … the wonderful sky … prettier, much prettier than a fireworks display’.

In 1669, a local alchemist was on the hunt for the philosopher’s stone. Having hoarded hundreds of litres of urine, he cooked it down and produced a mysterious white substance that glowed in the dark.

In the present day, white phosphorus has been and is being used by Israel as a chemical weapon on Gaza.


Toxic Inheritances (2024) tells stories of white phosphorus. Light-bearing and brutally hot, white phosphorus is pyrophoric, meaning it combusts on contact with air. The video considers the role of inheritance and storytelling in human-chemical relations, and grammars of the (super)natural. It is a deepening of Clementine’s studio exploration on the subject and a sort of fictionalised sketch of a family tree for the chemical.


Sound Editing by Maoyi Qiu.

Thank you to Marta Hryniuk, Cannach MacBride, WET and CBK Rotterdam.

Quotes from Joe Miranda and from Andrea Sella, professor, inorganic chemistry, UCL.

Clementine Edwards’ art practice is led by sculpture, also encompassing text, performance, video, installation, wearables and workshops. Across form, their practice is shaped by their relationship and proximity to (dis)possession – of body, land and personhood. Clementine is the artist and co-editor with Kris Dittel of The Material Kinship Reader (2022), collectively produced the Climate Justice Code (2023) and was a research fellow at Rietveld Academy in the Jewellery—Linking Bodies department (2022). 

WET Screening is an irregular online screening programme put together collectively by WET. We present experimental, urgent and under-represented moving image works. We are particularly interested in works that challenge dominant modes of production. The screening is sometimes accompanied by a conversation with the artist/filmmaker. These interviews form an ongoing archive available to listen to on WET’s mixcloud. You can access the archive of all the screenings here.