Based around a waste land on the peripheries of the M25 motorway, this project takes a seemingly banal site as a study. With plans for future construction, the landscape becomes one that is set in transience and temporality. I am interested in these left sites. Through processes of prior construction and then abandoned, they begin to embody an inner struggle between placed materials (construction) and the sediment and growth beneath them. The work thusly hinges on our treatment of space and looks to dissect and pick out elements of a landscape set between the natural and constructed. Through dissecting its topography and digging beyond it into the unseen, the landscape is re-examined, and shifted from something that may be initially perceived as plain into a powerful place.
Primarily concerned with looking at the elements of this landscape, I have re-staged and re- configured these materials and flora, in still lives. These images and sculptures become my own play with these materials, contrasting weeds with concrete, corroding rust and burnt pieces of wood. These arrangements seem natural in the wasteland, but when removed from their contexts and re-framed these blendings of the organic and manufactured, become uncanny.
Taking this further, by digging into the topography and taking soil samples, I worked with a microbiologist to culture single colonies of the bacteria present in the ground. Forming complex organisms in these petri dishes, they begin to embody a life pulse of the very geological makeup of the site.
With a constantly evolving city space, these sites become a key point in which to observe, our impact and the consequent reclaiming of it by the natural world. Sitting in some liminal position between the rural and the urban, often referred to as Edgeland, they are often the first to be re-engulfed by a continuing wave of urbanization.
See here for more of Brendan’s work.