Villages have edgelands too. Rural ‘non-places’ that, like Brogden’s urban wasteland sites, are deprived of our attention, regard and affection (Brogden, 2019). These are marginal, interstitial spaces. Forgotten and taken for granted (Warnes, 2018), they are rarely destinations in their own right. Blink and we miss them — as we hurry on, eyes fixed on sites more privileged, more valued. Sites that plead the badge of heritage and tradition.
But in our edgelands there is meaning, myth and memory too. Look carefully though. For nothing is really as it seems. Arcadia and artefact embrace and confound. Edge and boundary twitch and coalesce — where does foliage end and machine begin? The dance between the two is random and sporadic; the tune that leads them comes and goes. So listen carefully and you might hear. Take time to look and you might see.
And meaning here has to be won. For there is, as Mark Fisher suggests of the Marie Celeste and the statues on Easter Island, an eerie absence of presence (Fisher, 2016). Questions proliferate: who abandoned the cultivator and trailer and why? Will they ever be resurrected? What does the abandoned drum on the bridge signify? Who maintains the pylon and sub-station (for they are never seen)?
If you sense the answers, welcome. For you have glimpsed the true Arcadia.
Brogden , J. (2019) Photography and the non-place: the cultural erasure of the city. Palgrave Macmillan.
Fisher, M. (2016) The weird and the eerie. Repeater.
Warnes, S. (2018) ‘Managing tensions in an English cathedral – an embodied spatial perspective’, in Kingma, S.F., Dale, K. and Wasserman, V. (eds.) Organizational space and beyond: the significance of Henri Lefebvre for organization studies. Routledge.
All illustrations, Ian Rodwell. South Norfolk, July 2019. Holga 120.