Glen Jamieson’s Tombland Drift began online as a photographic archive-in-motion. From this digital setting it has migrated into the form of a book, a performance, and an exhibition.
‘Tombland’—Scandinavian for ‘empty space’—is an Anglo-Saxon site in Norwich, UK where all roads into the city once intersected. Proceeding from this central empty space, Jamieson marks out the city into eight territories for visual inquiry, walking out or in, moving anticlockwise one after another. All photographs were taken as found in daylight hours between Autumn 2013 and Spring 2014.
In its online form Jamieson attributed tags, based on image-facts, to photographs in an expanding networked archive. Tags enabled dynamic reconfigurations, illuminating unforeseen correspondences. As a book, presented in an unbound, folded, and collated format, the archive is formalised into narrative journeys. Ninety-six images are sequenced in relation to the eight directions of inquiry, beginning with Tombland ‘Towards the East’, moving anticlockwise and concluding with ‘From the South East’ towards Tombland. However, an index of image-facts and a commentary that issues positively from the journeys offers swirling counter-narratives, above, below, and beyond what is merely apparent. In this index numerals indicate the image location in the publication, capital letters indicate its location in relation to Tombland, and words relate to the image-facts within. Readers are invited to make their own narratives.
Tombland Drift installation, Norwich OUTPOST, UK, 2014. Image courtesy Traven T. Croves
Tombland Drift folds out for viewing. Laid out in expanded form it suggests further possibilities still: its sequence can be rearranged and displayed differently alongside the index of image-facts and the commentary. Physical space determines the proximity of printed leaves. Finally, Tombland Drift manifests as a live event for which the commentary is read accompanied by corresponding medium-format slides from the physical archive. The process of deconstructing and rearranging the city’s image, across media platforms, anticipates the emergence of unforeseen possibilities beyond surface geography—from the interior of Tombland towards an empty and open space.