Uncanny Valley is a series of images, which collages photographs of the Gleadless Valley estate. Architecturally, the estate is not dissimilar to others around the country, but the unusual valley in which the estate sits makes it unique. Whilst other estates have been canonised and redeveloped, Gleadless Valley, on the other hand, is backgrounded in critical consideration. Still without regeneration, it has been described as the city’s worst area to live. The Uncanny Valley images are a collection of collages, using photographs taken by a series of photographers. The compositions repeat the lyrics of the estate — concrete, hand rails, tv ariels, windows, balconies, satellite dishes — and reinterprets them as a reality of fictions. The work is not concerned with the exhaustible knowledge of the estate. Instead, it is interested in the “withdrawn” twilight qualities of the estate. As such, it is not a panoptic fact file, but an oblique indirect approach to an otherwise under-imagined object. This perspective reveals an aspect to the estate previously unconsidered when it has been approached exclusively from an architectural, socio-historical, or geographical perspective.
The work interrogates both the structure of imagery and the potential of co-authorship. It reveals how graphic design can sit between a long form essay and a fiction in communicating experiences of place. This exhibition furthers research considering the emergent qualities in encountering images situated in the mundanity of an everyday realism. The work also considers that the collage maker’s job has not been to find something mystical in the mundane. Instead, it is to destabilise habits of perception and reveal their materials to always already be collage-like.
Uncanny Valley was exhibited at Temporary Contemporary, Market Gallery, Huddersfield, in 2018. The exhibition was accompanied by a limited edition artist’s book.