The Decline of Empires alludes to the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbons, which traces the decline of once great empires – from the Roman Empire to the Byzantium. Venturing outside of what is narrowly defined as urban, following the rivers and power lines as they snake away from the city, to areas where the industrial and merge with the rural, is like tracing history in reverse. Here there are the left over fortifications of the First World War and the corroding remains of once powerful industry. Power stations still operate and docks function but there is an underlying sense of this being both derelict and abandoned land, both active industrial zone and place of defunct industry. It is also the the place of transient communities, of temporary dwellings ranging from regimented caravan parks to neglected mobile homes. The definition of what constitutes home or community is questioned here. There is a strangeness to this area and an oddness to the random encounters with strangers. This could be described as place where movement stalls and memory collects in a seemingly purposeless way, akin to remembering past times, indicative of a great Colonial Power in decline.
© Barry Falk 2017