© Stacey Yates

Stacey Yates writes:

As well as working at HCHLV I’m also trained as a photographer and I was recently invited to create work in response to the space occupied by a farming community located where East London edges into the Essex countryside.

The project was a collaboration merging sound and photography, and all of the artists involved were asked to respond to the space in their own way.

Aldborough Hatch was once next to a forest, but over time, the farm and the surrounding area has become suburban; a semi-rural, residential area on the north side of the A12, just beyond Newbury Park on London’s Central line.

For me, one of the most interesting aspects was the urban /rural boundary that the farm has come to occupy , and the way the space feels as a consequence of that.

As the city merges with the countryside, the sense of place we know as London, as a city, is diluted first by suburban council housing and then as it spreads across open fields. As it spreads it meets and mixes with landscape, history, memory, architecture and community and from this a new sense of place unfolds.

One of the dominant feelings for me of this space was the sense of ambiguity. It is both urban and rural, public and private, transitional and uncertain, yet calm and peaceful. And, at the edge of the city, the sense of freedom is reinforced by a strange lack of ownership.

At Henley Centre HeadlightVision, we talk quite a lot about how technology and changing social relationships make our identities more fluid. Place, in contrast, is usually seen as an anchor for identity. Perhaps we don’t think enough about the nature of the types of spaces which are in flux, and which, in contrast, create the opportunities for blurring of identities and social meaning.

If you’re in the Brick Lane area of east London this weekend, the exhibition is on until Sunday – at Studio 1.1, 57a Redchurch St, London E2.

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