A System of Edges
Power, Mark (2005) A System of Edges University of Brighton Gallery, Brighton, UK.
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This work, a photographic series of 61 images, was exhibited in 2006 at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford (now National Media Museum) and at the Galerie National de la Tapisserie, Beauvais, France (2007). The book, 26 Different Endings (2007), was short-listed for the Arles Book Prize in Les Rencontres d’Arles, Photography Festival, 2007. A dialogue between real and imagined space, 'A System of Edges' returns to ideas explored by Power in his celebrated book The Shipping Forecast (1996). It interrogates how physically standing in a place is a vastly different experience from decoding a cartographer’s description that produces a place conjured in the mind, an image based on what we think we know, but cannot. In the backwaters of London, Power investigated a landscape of bleak suburban myth, a ‘deeply traumatised place … where the city’s vanquished have retreated to’, a very different place from that promised to the burgeoning population of London at the end of the war. 'A System of Edges' explores with precision the spaces that fall just off the edge of the A-Z London Street Atlas. If this atlas can be said to define the borders of London, as many believe it does, then Power’s photographs are an exploration into what the city is not, a documentary of the involuntary act of ‘not belonging’. The work represents the outer zones of any British city - indeed, his choice of exactly what to photograph as he made his way around the perimeter of the map was rooted in memories of his childhood. The concept of a particular space becoming resonant of any remembered liminality was a theme taken up in an autobiographical essay by David Chandler, Director of Photoworks.
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