‘Memories of a Journey at Night’ is set within the ‘wanderers’ section of ‘Rurality Re-imagined’, ‘a landmark publication in an emerging 'new rural studies'’1 that re-interprets the rural within contemporary globalised society. The book brings together leading artists, architects and academics in a ‘sparkling collection of essays, photographs, artwork, creative writing and meditations’ that represents ‘a sustained exploration of and contribution to cultures of the countryside and the liminal spaces of the non-urban.’2
‘Memories of a Journey at Night’ uses narrative to introduce innovative concepts around our experience of motorway travel and the relative, perceived positioning of the motorway environment in relation to the rural landscape. The narrative is based on the authors’ reflections on the research and development process and completed works of their ‘M5 Southbound: Welcome Break’ body of artwork, exhibited in rural Gloucestershire, London and New York. The essay examines the perceptual disjunctions and intersections between the motorway environment, its architecture and the rural landscape as a setting, experienced at night at speed, or in the act of stopping at motorway services. As an example, in analysing one of the works from the series above, a diesel canopy is re-interpreted as a temple of light suspending the viewer between the journey and stillness, the branded motorway services and the black intensity of the rural night beyond.
In the tradition of Tony Smith’s famous journey along the un-opened New Jersey Turnpike in 1951, in which the sculptor realigned the conceptual division between art and the everyday based on the notion of experience3, Warren and Mosley speculate on the simultaneous perception of the everyday, their extra-ordinary research process and how reality is interrogated within their artworks.
1. David Bell (2018), 2. George McKay (2018) book review https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rurality-Re-imagined-Villagers-Farmers-Wanderers/dp/1940743346 accessed 10-10-18
3. As documented in Artforum in 1966 and cited by David Salomon (2013) ‘The Highway not Taken: Tony Smith and the Suburban Sublime’ Places Journal September 2013 https://placesjournal.org/article/the-highway-not-taken-tony-smith-and-the-suburban-sublime/ accessed 19/10/17