The Seventh Zone
‘Stand still, and listen. Outsiders are struck by effects, shifts, that locals walking their animals, or collecting their kids from a fenced off school take for granted. There is a mystery at the edge of great conurbations; in the light, in the places travellers have passed through for centuries’.
Ian Sinclair, London Orbital.
From 2006 to 2010 I lived in London. Like many young people moving to the nations capital to chase their dreams, my experience was intense and exciting, but also stressful and at times lonely. As someone used to having easy access to countryside and open space, the transition to living in such a huge, crowded city took some getting used to.
Over time I realised that my day to day life took place within 2 Zones of London’s 6 zone transport system. I could cycle from Clerkenwell to Notting Hill without looking at a map, or make my way in autopilot from Victoria to Hackney Central using tubes and buses; But the rest of London, particularly those areas sitting on the fringes, were alien to me – nameless suburbs that were seen in momentary flashes of back garden from a high speed train; fields of decaying warehouses glimpsed from a National Express coach on the elevated section of the M4.
A work in progress, The Seventh Zone is a speculative journey through the hinterlands of a great metropolis – a 150 mile walk within the confines of the M25, the perverse ring road that simultaneously constrains and conveys. I’m interested in documenting a part of the city that is in flux; in parts succumbing to the pressure of the expanding urban sprawl, in other areas being silently overtaken by the irresistible crawl of nature. The work is still very much in progress, but slowly I am finding narrative lines that reoccur, woven into the silent suburban woodlands and sprawling housing estates scattered between motorways and industry.