Nick Jordan



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Cartwright & Jordan





Edgelands: The Unofficial Countryside & The Wild Enclosed

Artists Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan have made two new short films centred on the 'edgeland' landscapes close to their studio in Manchester. With a hybrid documentary approach, the artists have captured the unique features of these ecologically and socially diverse habitats that exist on the margins of the city.


The Unofficial Countryside (17.17 mins., HD Video, 2021) 2 min preview excerpt:


The Unofficial Countryside is an observational documentary portrait of the ‘edgeland’ landscapes that exist between the urban and the rural. Titled after naturalist Richard Mabey’s seminal book, the film documents the intrinsic characteristics of these places, where nature thrives on the fringes of the city. Filmed in a patchwork of urban woodland, ramshackle smallholdings, abandoned industrial sites, utility substations, scrapyards, open fields and informal riverside beaches, the documentary includes a voiceover drawn from Marion Shoard’s essay ‘Edgelands of Promise’, and captures the rich biodiversity of both native and introduced species, in a landscape shaped by the activities and imprints of people passing through.


The Unofficial Countryside (18.58 mins., HD Video, 2021) 2 min preview excerpt #2:




The Wild Enclosed (3.20 mins., HD Video, 2021) Trailer:


The Wild Enclosed is a film made within a former medieval deer park, on the outer rim of Manchester's metropolitan city region. Featuring ancient oaks and an abandoned outbuilding (‘The Slaughterhouse’), the film dwells on our complex and changing relationship with the land. Featuring an 18th century folk ballad performed by the artists, ruminating on the loss of the ‘Commons’, the film weaves together historic social issues of public access to land, private enclosure and today's managed preservation of an idyllic, wild woodland estate.



The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who take things that are yours and mine

The poor and wretched don't escape
If they conspire the law to break
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to keep them poor

They hang the man and hang the woman
Who steal the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Until they go and steal it back

[Seventeenth century protest ballad against English enclosures]



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