Proposing Work – Activity

When planning work for module 3 similar to module 2 I decided to undertake a mini-project alongside developing work for my main MA project “Tilbury to Harwich” as I do not feel the project will be sufficiently resolved by the end of module 3. The scale of the project requires me to have visited multiple locations along the Essex coastline and by the end of module 3 I will have only visited some 20% of the intended locations.

The mini-project that I decided to develop during module 3 draws on a number of the research activities for the main project but within a contained context. My mini-project for module 3 is a photo essay that records the current state of a disused water treatment plant that has stood ideal since it was decommissioned in the 1980s and specifically the building that houses the filter treatment facilities. The site is now used by Chelmsford Museum for their science and education programmes which are housed in other buildings on the site.

The curators at the museum provided me with access to the building on multiple occasions and some historical documentation for the building.

When selecting a pair of representative images to help the curators position my project within the theme and sub themes I decided to provide an image that shows the position of the building within the environment and a close-up image that provides evidence of the industrial decay that has occurred while the building has remained dormant waiting for the museum and county council to decide its fate. A story that is played out in multiple cities across the world once facilities that were essential to the community have reached the end of their useful life.














In addition to the images we were asked to provide additional information to help the curators with their task

I selected the following keywords ‘Place, Time, Exploration, Storyteller and Multi-disciplinary’.

  • Place is at the core of my practice as I have a strong personal affinity for the county of my birth which I think is core part of what defines me as an individual.
  • Time is something that I can constantly experimenting with the concept of time to create images that would not be possible with in other media. In our modern consumer lead economy time is becoming constantly decreasing either in terms of attention span or time to market. Over the true impact of man on the environment can only be observed by extending time. Something John Berger discussed in the film “Poerty, Art and Particle Physics” 
  • Exploration is core to the way I develop bodies of work. Most of my projects start with an idea or concept which I develop through exploration within the environment. For me one discovery leads to another and that informs the project and ultimately it develops into the final resolved body of work.
  • Storytelling is another fundamental building block to my practice as I enjoying sharing knowledge without through stories that hopefully engage the reader and encourage them to undertake their own journey of exploration.
  • Multi-disciplinary as practitioner I do not restrict myself to a single method or apparatus when image making instead I look at the idea or concept and consider what methods or apparatus would best suit the creation and display of images. Sometimes I will use familiar methods and apparatus other times I part of the journey will include developing new methods to bring my vision to life.

The aim of this particular mini-project was to tell the story of a disused water treatment facility which was groundbreaking when it was built in the 1950s to address water shortages in rapidly expanding market town that was transforming to become a manufacturing centre. However the facility that provided inhabitants with safe drinking water from the local river has been idle and the building is starting to decay through being idle.

When looking for an exhibition space I wanted a public venue as close to the water treatment plant at Sandford Mill as possible. I planned for the exhibition to be positioned as a work in progress because I had already planned to exhibit the work at an exhibition in London in October. This drove a decision to pin unframed prints to the wall rather than exhibiting framed images.

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