What began as an interest in the interplay between the M25 and local woodland has grown into a fascinating photographic survey of the forgotten spaces and pedestrian walkways found beneath the orbital M25 motorway.
Nick Rochowski and Tim Bowditch have produced an intriguing interpretation of one of our more famous and for many, infamous roadways in the UK. Veering away from the surface view of a green landscape bisected by monolithic architecture, Rochowski and Bowditch went underground, exploring the voids left by the motorway as it carves its way through the landscape. The blank canvasses of solid concrete have revealed themselves as a sinuous texture of almost lunar-like quality.
The practice of surveying and its precise and technical methodology has informed Rochowski and Bowditch at all stages of their work. Beginning with online mapping, they identified points accessible via public land. By day Rochowski and Bowditch travelled to their selected locations often marked by water outlets, maintenance tunnels and public footpaths and returned at night to let the camera scan and record this hidden landscape.
Rochowski and Bowditch used an Achromatic Digital Back that records the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum. This technology, along with hour long exposure times, has produced a set of black and white photographs that in their depth of tone and clarity of focus reveals unseen details of a subterranean landscape with a stillness that is almost palpable.
While working beneath the motorway Rochowski and Bowditch became aware of the acoustic footprint of the M25. Keen to bring an audible component to the project, they approached Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau to create a sound piece that explores the beat and drone of eight lanes of thundering traffic. This collaboration has become a key element in thinking about the installation of Hind Land within a gallery space. For the show in The Front Room, the gallery will be turned into the dark subterranean hinterland of the M25, with large scale, floor to ceiling photographs shown in a dimly lit room and complimented by the presentation of de Kersaint Giraudeau's sound piece of rumbling traffic as it travels along the M25.
In a further piece of collaboration, Rochowski and Bowditch commissioned artist Alison Moffett to produce a publication to accompany the exhibition of Hind Land. Moffett has made a pencil drawing consisting of a series of grids onto which she has overlaid a jagged circle of white dots representing the mapping references of the M25 used by Rochowski and Bowditch. By joining up the dots Moffett offers us a new constellation of stars, echoing the pathway of the orbital motorway as if seen in the night sky. Printed on large format paper and folded like an OS Map, Moffat's Hind Land becomes a blueprint of the underground spaces created by the M25.