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Christina Bryant

Plate-II,-The-south-entranc

Fellowship: June 2005 – December 2009, the Forge, Digswell.

Christina’s practice focuses on areas of land that can be found along the peripheries of our towns and cities, within the spaces aptly named by geographer Marion Shoard as the Edgelands and described by Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts in their recent book of that name, as a kind of no-mans land, a debatable zone, that is complex and mysterious (Farley and Symmons Roberts 2011:6). These unwatched and disregarded places that sit along the fringes of our towns and cities – the copses; scrublands; railway lines; bridges; brooks; abandoned quarries all seem a world away from our ideas of the ‘real’ countryside, and often remain invisible to most of us regardless of  their close proximity to our doorsteps. However, it is in these concealed and overlooked spaces that certain things thrive and a true kind of wilderness can be found (Farley and Symmons Roberts 2011). In this ambiguous and often challenging terrain Christina searches out the invisible and an opportunity to discover that which we often choose not to see.

Through an engagement with the archaeological discipline and an artistic appropriation of its methods of extracting the secrets of the past, Christina attempts to extract and examine the disregarded and overlooked of the present. Through collecting, drawing, mapping and analyzing the artefacts, monuments and structures that exist within ‘active’ areas surrounding our built environment, Christina seeks to examine, interpret and present possible narratives that emanate from the data. Christina’s methods seek to encounter a fresh vision of this constantly evolving edge landscape and offer a way of reevaluating the sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes intriguing relationships that emerge from within it. As Victor Buchli and Gavin Lucas explain in their book Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past, an archaeology of the contemporary turns the methods back on ourselves and reverses the situation so that the familiar object is made unfamiliar. Through this process objects are made palatable and sanitised by the distancing effect, allowing us to view the subject in more objective terms (Buchli and Lucas 2011:9). Christina’s interest is in what the objectifying and alienating process of archaeology enables us to discover about ourselves, from within these places of England that lay our dirty secrets bare (Farley and Symmons Roberts 2011: 10).

August 2013

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