Empire Green is a documentary study uncovering defining characteristics of British society through its green spaces. The obsession with delineating geographic spaces of ownership in the placement of stiff hedges and sectioned lawns, the clearly signed spaces for leisure and industry, all go in tandem with a society preoccupied with defining its own boundaries and keeping an unspoken distance from the other. In these clearly defined spaces everything follows order and protocol, even in the freer, more leisurely areas and the more chaotic edgelands, as well as in the dumping grounds where those rules are subverted. The use of green spaces becomes in a way expression of the mentality of its users, both in compliance and avoidance.
In my observation of this green social map I find my place as a foreign national on the outside looking in, which for me is the obvious place to be, placing myself in the most appropriate boundary; everywhere, yet nowhere.
“When I am in England I feel like I am sitting in a very comfortable armchair and I am looking at the stage and all these actors, I can applaud them but they got a set of rules and I’m not supposed to step in and jump in on the stage and play with them.” Henri Cartier Bresson