Common Ground


Common Ground is a sustained exploration of a marginal landscape, our allotment site.  Although physically bounded, the allotment affords a space for reflection as well as physical activity. My imagery reflects the dual nature of this local landscape.
The land I pass across has a history of which we are part (myself and my partner). Eventually we will leave traces just as the people before us have left something of themselves. Anonymous though they are, still their presence is felt in the way the land has been worked, modified. In turn we will impress ourselves on the site leaving marks, however fleeting. So the site echoes a history of shared experience, of common purpose to which we have become a part.

This marginal landscape is, “An essentially peopled landscape, the allotment fits unfamiliarly in contemporary cultural expectations, somewhere between the city and the country and yet representing neither contemporary projected landscape. It falls between being a public and a private landscape in the way that few others do.”[1]

The authors also identify an important distinction between observation and participation, between spectacle and active engagement in the landscape. It is this twin relation of a worked marginal landscape, which I am concerned with. Bill Viola comments that although, “Apparently exterior, the true extension of any landscape traverses both the exterior and interior of any individual. In short, landscape is the link between our outer and inner selves”. [2]

[1] David Crouch and Colin Ward, The Allotment. Its Landscape and Culture. Five Leaves Publication 1997

[2] Bill Viola, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House. Writings 1973-1994. Thames and Hudson. 1995

Common Ground [smoke]