Going into Pickering work already knowing the context of the images I feel detracts from the series in a way that it removes the mystery one would feel having first experienced the images prior to the knowledge that the streets are mock ups made for police training therefore it is understandable to find that empty, poorly maintained and with a sense of non completeness.
Taking a step back to think of the images if I wasn’t aware of the context I do feel they have a heavy sense of mystery to them. They have a an alien feel to the scenes. As if someone who was described what a typical British street looked like and built a facade to accommodate that direction but with no concept of the purpose or internal of the buildings. One could take that as a connotation towards the modern way of living where the externals are what matter and the internals are superfluous and in observed. The idea of Britishness, community and home but without the complexity. The image evoke feelings of destruction as well. They appear mid construction and abandoned, raising the question of why they were abandoned? What caused the mass exodus? When will we see the return of people if at all?
The most powerful images for this premises are the images that don’t reveal the steel frame construction but include everyday occurrences such as the toppled trolleys and traffic lights on the corner. They give the stillness, a point to attach life to.
It is in the images of the facade framework which the illusion fractures and beings to reveal its true nature and narrative.
I don’t feel that the series is deceptive when taken as a whole and especially when presented with its context to direct the viewer, I do however question whether the images contain enough to prevent misrepresentation.
Several of the images could be viewed singularly with no idea of the true narrative such as ‘Pub’, yes te contents are unusual and should raise question to what we see but along with several others such as ‘Phonebox, Eastcourt Street’ and ‘Lola Court’ there is no indication of the unseen.
I feel the images that work best are the ones that literally open the door to behind the scenes of the setting. ‘Flicks Nightclub’ and ‘Semi-Detatched’ are excellent examples of that where we see what is a fairly normal scene but with a jarring,y different perspective through the open doorways leading to a courtyard (impossible if we are to believe this is a typical terrace building) and a field respectively.
Essentially I feel Pickering is constructing an excellent internal narrative which as a whole will lead the viewer deeper and deeper into the subject, asking them to revisit the beginning and re-examine what they first took for granted and rediscover the details which they first over looked. The danger lies in how we approach the series outside of the presentation when it is not guaranteed that any written context and turn point images may be present or overlooked in contemporary media consumption.