Edgelands an interpretation.

Posted: September 28, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

A quick exercise, for our new programme leader, in how we interperate the definition of ‘Edgelands’. This is the alleged area where the city meets nature either through development and expansion or the retreat and abandonment back to it’s original state. Six images required to show him how we think, approach and execute such a task.

An article in The Guardian stated: The zone goes by different names, few of them complimentary. Victor Hugo called it “bastard countryside”. The landscape theorist Alan Berger called it “drosscape”. The artist Philip Guston called it “crapola”. And the environmentalist Marion Shoard called it “edgeland”, which she defined as “the interfacial interzone between urban and rural”. The edgelands are the debatable space where city and countryside fray into one another. They comprise jittery, jumbled, broken ground: brownfield sites and utilities infrastructure, crackling substations and pallet depots, transit hubs and sewage farms, scrub forests and sluggish canals, allotments and retail parks, slackened regulatory frameworks and guerilla ecologies.

Now let’s get one thing straight from the off in that this is not my idea of fun photography. The whole urbex, abandoned buildings style of photography is a very niche area. Clambering over fences, entering derelict buildings or trespassing to get an image, inside or out, of some derelict structure is just not my thing. Tip toeing around fly tipping and domestic rubbish in many of these edgelands simply reminds you of how we feel about our world. Additional hazards such as asbestos, which all too many of these old buildings contain, or collapsing floors etc are a risk too far in collecting an image for me. We know these areas exist, we complain at the state of them yet allow them to remain for many years in some cases. There are however a seemingly unlimited supply of such buildings and areas of land within the local area for me to capture such an image from the outside.

I thought about documenting the decline of our local heritage, fishing, and what little remains of such a once thriving industry. A set of images showing docklands left to nature in calling home along with the newly sprawling renewables sector building its new structures nearby. Unfortunately with the time restriction and work commitments this would have taken too long.

So here we go with my interpretation of ‘edgelands’.

1. This image is simply a representation of what far too much of the City of Hull looks like. Dozens of old industrial and commercial buildings cleared for future redevelopment which either hasn’t yet happened or in many cases unlikely to happen in the current financial climate. Shot over the security fence this image details the foundations of ‘what was’, the unsightly domestic rubbish of ‘what is’ and then the onset of mother nature reclaiming in ‘what will be’.


2. An old abandoned school, not a five minute walk from the city centre, now being overrun by mother nature and a few less desirable members of society.


3. The road to nowhere where development simply stopped. A tarmac’d entry road, with markings, speed bump and path where nature has reclaimed the mound of rubble left blocking it.


4. Something a little different here. These are the remains of what was once the main dock gate gears at St. Andrews Quay in Hull. A huge steel gearing system, now rusted, yet still in situ owing to its formidable build quality now simply overrun by weeds, grass and brambles.


5. Where urban meets rural with a twist as here urban meets water. This image is of a small estuary, linked to the Humber, where many years ago small ships were launched to sea. The remains of a small sea going vessel peer from the silt and mud which slowly erode its carcass.


6. A boundary wall near to the city limits. Built to keep people in or out it would seem mother nature doesn’t share the same thoughts as the original creator so through and over she comes. With the wall partly collapsed to the rear the car park is being invaded, covered and colonised by the unchecked shrubbery. Brambles and vines climb over from above whilst mother nature is also coming around the wall and down the old path. The wall also has a slight bow to its shape owing to the pressure exerted by the ever expanding tree trunks of the rural side. If the wall does eventually collapse its colour and content will differ from what appears to be a dumped pile of builders rubble.



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