"Peripheral" A poem by: Guy Dickinson
forgotten souls prowl and stutter.
Dust veiled echoes
time forged tapestry
her ashen veneer torn, bar a helix suture.
From within, a still, penetrating stare
sorrow lurking like a lost augury.
Ruined, not dead, she whispers
a slow, staggered refrain.
The silent chatter
"Wood For Trees"
On my maps, the woods are bordered. Both the pixels glowing as phosphors under smeared glass and the inks coating folded paper write rigid boundaries that secede the trees from neighbouring territories, separating the green from not-green. Although this marked margin can be solidified - in dreams and nightmares, in memories and in breathing experiences – by ditches, fences, walls and paths, those earlier forms of cartographic symbology which represented woodland as less definitively bounded have rehearsed another narrative where individual trees are each better understood as multispecies associations and where, by extension, agglomerations of trees form intricate sprawling collective ecologies.
As one tree’s lifeworld burrows below its understory and floats above its crown, so a wood’s edges blur when gases and minerals are exchanged with the surrounding environment, when winds and birds carry seeds - as progeny - elsewhere, when local water resources shift through siphoning and transpiration. The blur is not only outward since borders also shrink, through drought, disease, pests, through humans: if oxygenated air leaves the wood, toxins seep back; for every bird call, a shriek of hydraulic brakes; each cast of shade, a spill of sodium glare; glitter from fly-tipped mirror to match spiralling sycamore key.
This territorial overlapping might be most palpable at the wood’s peripheries but deeper under the leafy canopies there may have once been arboreal-anthropogenic relations which, if not wholly symbiotic, involved more balanced contributions than our air, noise, light and soil pollution. Maps – on screen or paper – position us high over the woods, other visual representations locate the onlooker out to the side; perhaps our ancient points of view reversed these externalised perspectives, as we peered uneasily from within the shelter, safety and sustenance of the wood toward the exposed vulnerable plains, and these photographs embed us inside that entangled hybridity.
From the overlaid interiorities of the “Peripheral” series, what had seemed stable is shaken: that confidence to see the wood from the trees, the secure sense of a sylvan border, a certainty with which to call one thing organic and another inorganic, one culture, one nature. Dickinson’s compositional layering draws what lies within the frame into a textural, tactile, condition of connection: the autumn bronzes of beech and bracken are rust; spindles of branches as twisted wires; trunk as post; pitted concrete, flattened earth, flaked paint, ridged bark, corrugated metal, all join as colour-drained surfaces to express matter’s material continuum.