Hanson writes that small towns in contemporary Britain are “an uncontained whole of opposites.”(p.154). There is a dialectic happening in the place where I live, “A contradictory assemblage” (p.154), a “Location of contradiction”(p.155). My focus on places of contestation where the influence of global capitalism (supermarkets) butts up agains the local landscape (flooding) is an attempt to deconstruct the simplistic binary between rural and urban.  There is huge change, people are sensing this and trying to construct a sense of being rooted in the local to counter these increasingly difficult changes brought about by neoliberalist forces, “a sense of making and remaking the face of one large surface” (p.155)

What I’m trying to capture is the tension of being caught in the contemporary world in a small town via focus on one particular site. I am exploring edges, the space where things meet, fences, borders, liminal spaces.  The image below is one where the newly laid tarmac meets the old surface.

Working to a prescribed visual process has been useful to reduce “thinking” and start “doing”. Here’s an outline of the creative process so far:

I identified the colours in this image:

I printed out the original image in black and white, cut it up into various shapes & rearranged the shapes on top of the palette.

I used left over paint to make backgrounds onto which I stuck a small black and white copy of the original image. I used pencil to copy the image.

I wasn’t inspired by this.

Part Two

I laid tracing paper down on various images & traced outlines of shapes.


I then copied the drawing without looking at my drawing hand.(One on right)

I took close up photographs of the drawing.

Then chose one and cut out all the shapes.


I printed out four copies of each and rearranged them.

fullsizeoutput_ccaI noticed that the image looked like a vehicle that had been in an accident. (Not again! I thought)

I printed the cut out onto A4, cut out the white sections and was intending to lay it over a collage of the area.

However, as I was doing this my light threw shadows onto the collage.  I started to play around with shadows.

I filmed this footage with my phone, it’s pretty grainy so I may use my other video camera.  I like the outcome and may do some drawings from the footage and stills. I like the out of focus, fractured, dreamy like quality and the simultaneous sensual merging and tension that seems to mirror the fragility of the contested site.

Hanson, S. (2013) Small Towns Austere Times.  The Dialectics of Deracinated Localism Zero Books Croydon.

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