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Tales from the Edge

‘This question of whether something is fact or fiction is a reduction of the bookends with which we live our lives’

Walid Raad 106 Infinity Award

He looked into the water
and saw that it was made up of a thousand thousand thousand and one different currents,
each one a different colour, weaving in and out of each other
like a liquid tapestry of breathtaking complexity;

and Iff explained that these were the Streams of Story,
that each coloured strand represented and contained a single tale.

Different parts of the Ocean contained different sorts of stories, and as all the stories that had ever been told and many others that were still in the process of being invented could be found here,

the Ocean of the Streams of Story was in fact the biggest library in the universe.
And because the stories were held here in fluid form, they retained the ability to change,
to become new versions of themselves, to join up with other stories
and so become yet other stories;
so that unlike a library of books,
the Ocean of the Streams of Story was much more like a storeroom of yarns.

It was not dead but alive.

Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, 1990.p55

'Tales from the Edge' is a  series of alternative visual narrative 'tales' exploring different  approaches to creative visual documentary generated by three ‘Edge’ locations:

- Garden of Mindfulness is a body of photographic, moving image and sketchbook work about real and imaginary dramas in managing the one patch of land on which I have some control - my wildlife garden. And the elusiveness of any real 'sanctuary' from events in the outside world.

- Anywhere Road is a body of photographic and printmaking work about 'life in suburbia' - based on documentary of  the streets where I live and on-line social networks this project charts issues of isolation, environmental contradictions, social divisions in the streets where I live.

- Moot and Other Tales is a body of photographic and sketchbook work about Aldeburgh, a small, busy tourist town on the Suffolk Coast. Aldeburgh is both vulnerable to rising sea levels with climate change, and rapid economic development and environmental change if the much disputed Sizewell C nuclear plant is approves.  Based on photographs, video and sketchbook diary the project combines imaginary social narratives suggested by textures in the town and vignettes of tourists and local people raising issues about sustainability of fishing, tourism and the environment. 

The portfolios were produced for BA in Visual Communications  final module  ‘Sustaining Your Practice’ with Open College of the Arts.

Aiming to challenge and change social and economic inequalities and human environmental impacts, each project explores interlinkages, interferences and tensions between:

- ‘stream of consciousness now-time’: ways of heightening personal experiences of place affecting ‘hauntings’ from past memories and future visions, hopes and fears merge in our experience of the present

- ‘shifting histories’: ways in which multi-layered and multi-perspectives on physical, social and environmental remembered and re-imagined ‘realities’ are manipulated for consumption in the present time

- ‘unstable imaginings’ of future uncertainties – where alternative potentialities are often shaped and restricted not only by personal experiences, but powerful economic and political forces.

The main focus of the portfolios here is on sequential book narratives in photographic  media for physical and on-line viewing. But these portfolios are based on supporting work across different media – including sketching, moving image and printmaking to produce a more informed and in-depth understanding of place in both subjective and objective terms. My work also explores how the specific aesthetics that can be achieved in different media affect perception, understanding and communication to inspire activism 'to make the world a better place'.

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