Rurality Re-Imagined: Villagers, Farmers, Wanderers and Wild Things
Rurality Re-imagined is divided into four loose themed sections: villagers, farmers, wanderers, and wild things; each comprises five or six diverse chapters of varied length. In the section on villagers, rural communities are considered as assemblages and spaces of vernacularity, as dark settings for TV dramas, new wave photography, and as sites for community arts projects. The farmer's section critically re-invigorates the historical fascination with peasantry and farming in the arts through essays, painting, and photography that collectively place the agency of the artist under as much scrutiny as images of agricultural space and people. Stereotypically, the word 'wanderers' conjures images of gypsy caravans, or country ramblers, but in this section the term is stretched to include not only the traditional migrations of reindeer herds, but also that of the motorway driver, and migrations of cultural forms too, such as that of hip hop from the clubs of New York to the fields of rural Devon. In the essays and images in the wild things section, wilderness emerges as a highly contested cultural terrain far from any state of purity as it manifests itself in the behaviors of people, flora, and fauna in cultivated and uncultivated landscapes and parks.