Stephen Cornford

  Horizon of Fulfilment (2020-21)




On Brexit day I decided to ride to the edge of the small-minded land. The closest I got that evening was the footbridge over the railway at St. Andrews Road station, just outside Avonmouth village, beyond which lies the heavily fenced and frequently patrolled territory of the international port. Peering at the container cranes in the distance I wondered how this area would change over the coming decade, how would the inevitable disruption to international trade shape this territory - politically, economically, physically, demographically? 

Over the next two pandemic-tinged winters I returned regularly after nightfall with a DSLR that I had converted to shoot in infrared, taking 2 to 8 minute exposures of the port and surrounding industrial areas. During this time, the West of England Combined Authority applied—and thankfully failed—to establish Avonmouth as a Freeport. Nevertheless it remains a site of rapid horizontal urbanisation, with single storey distribution centres now covering much of what the dense network of waterways remind us is actually a flood plain. A low-rise monument to human myopia. In 2022 planning was granted for a new gas pipeline to be laid between the dock and the gas cylinders, as if the international shipping of fossil fuels would continue in perpetuity.