Sometimes he wonders what zone of transit he himself was entering, sure that his own withdrawal was symptomatic not of a dormant schizophrenia, but of a careful preparation for a radically new environment, with its own internal landscape and logic, where old categories of thought would be merely an encumbrance.
(J.G Ballard, 1963)
Humans do not raise above the world but only burrow ever more deeply into it, digging down towards the heart of things by fusing with them. We always stand somewhere.
(Graham Harman, 2010)
My recent work concentrates on the relationship between inorganic and organic structures as a way to explore how we see objects and indeed to inquire into a world where the human is not central to relations between things. I am examining these concerns with reference to architectural forms and in particular to spaces that are often overlooked, areas that are on the peripheries of urban environments but without which the city would not fit together. My newest photographs are informed by the analysis of Heidegger’s ‘tool-being’ and Husserl’s ‘intentional object’ as analysed in the work of philosopher Graham Harman.
In Zone of Transit, 2011 I have used spaces such as flyovers, or the isosceles of land around retail parks, as a studio. The photographs depict pockmarked concrete walls that are scuffed, water and sewage stained. The project focus’ on traces of activity and marks made by interactions; the relationship between the overhanging plants, debris that floats along the canal and subconscious interventions within the space. The act of going into site without an institutionally ratified task (to clear, to fix, to clean, to measure) could be viewed as a transgression. However there is nothing specific about the ‘Zone’ referenced in the title of the project. It is more important that to set a limit, you put a certain zone off limit and, although things remain exactly the same as they were, it is perceived as another place. Perhaps the process of making photographs, in the context of this zone is a physical way to determine an identity of the site. A zone that embodies a sense of otherness and estrangement that is symptomatic not only of a psychological state but a condition of modern society. A contrast or comment on the usage of transitional spaces, the homogeneous ‘non-place’ as explored by Marc Auge designed to be experienced by mobile shoppers, commuters, corporate nomads, tourists, itinerants, migrants, and virtual workers. A space where the user has no connection to any specific location or sense of identity.
In Unsounded Surplus, 2012 I have focused on working with objects at night. These forms come out of the darkness as the beam of light from a hand held torch repeatedly scans the surface of the subject matter over the period of the exposure. The image depicts the shifting qualities of things. As the render of the form interacts with artificial light the background recedes into a hidden space. My process of making is influenced by the aesthetic of photographs posted on Urbex (urban exploration) forums and in light of the recurring theme within my work of access and borders. The global phenomenon of Urbex, or the documentation of acts of post-modern rambling combine a dedicated and transitory approach to photography with the mantra ‘Take only pictures, leave only footprints’ and in light of the phrase used on internet forums to counter the vast range of unverifiable claims by users ‘Photograph or it didn’t happen’ The unsounded surplus is a reference to Graham Harman who states that one object can never fully comprehend all the relations of another, something always remains hidden no matter how far we dig ‘There is always an unsounded surplus in the things’ (Harman, 2010). The way I make photographs is to look at the recesses, at the edge of things through an engagement with spaces that are not habitually used in the normative navigation of the urban. The act of photographing as a search for something that is missing, something unseen or intangible and dealing with a substrata of the city, its substructure. But a space in which objects interact despite, or rather as well as, being interacted by human activity.