Country End/Town End. From Surbiton to Kings Cross

Ferguson, Nick (2015) Country End/Town End. From Surbiton to Kings Cross. In: sensingsite 2015 : In this Neck of the Woods; 04 Jun 2015, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)


In the form of a narrative with 36 slides, Country End/Town End takes the visitor by train from Surbiton, a dormitory suburb of West London, to Central St Martins. The trip takes as its conceptual beginning Robert Smithson’s seminal photo essay A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic (1967), which begins in New York’s city centre and finishes in the suburb Passaic, where the artist sees the decaying but perpetually incomplete suburb of Passaic as “ruins in reverse … all the new constructions that would eventually be built” In revisiting these themes, but in relation to the topography of London in the new century, and with a reversed direction of travel, the talk invites a reconsideration of the epistemological relationship between London’s centre and periphery, particularly as it pertains to notions of old and new space. Under consideration is the neighbourhood of King Cross, and the proposition that, though a centre, it is more reminiscent of a suburb – a perpetual building site, and one which lacks qualities expected of a metropolitan centre. The talk was selected from an open call for papers for a conference, Sensing Site, at CSM in 2015. The primary research, particularly the photos, will be of relevance to researchers of London’s architectural heritage and its relationship to finance. The broader aspects of this research will be of interest to communities, (both online and through print) of psychogeographers, particulary those who take London as their subject matter. Beyond the institution the work will also be of interest to those engaged by the politics of London’s changing landscape and for whom the art form of text and photographic images constitute an alternative media to that of journalism. I will be submitting the work for publication as a photo essay. Three possible journals are: The Journal of Cultural Geography in Practice; Art and the Public Sphere; Philosophy of Photography.

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