Hythloday is a body of work that draws from one community’s fight against fracking, and presents their experience and beliefs through a visual interpretation of what is positioned between fact and fiction. In the United Kingdom, the trial site for hydraulic fracture-fracking for shale gas – and its potential for national rollout and future commercial exploitation – is located in the countryside between the cities of Preston and Blackpool. A mile down the road from this site, a group of activists – known to the local community as ‘The Protectors’ – set up camp, where they lived and fought to stop this fracking trial.
In what might be described as a “photographic novella”, Hythloday transforms this physical place into an imagined post-fracking scenario, in which the activities, causes, fears, effects and thoughts situated in this place constitute a potential future landscape. Hythloday draws its titled from the name of the sailor in Thomas Moore’s Utopia, which is used as a means to explore and understand the place itself, as well as ‘The Protectors’ fight and their attempt to build a better world.
Hythloday combines the tangibility of the present, the uncertainty of the future, and various threats and personal convictions to create a journey through an unknown and strange place, where a quiet tension exists between those portrayed and the land, raising questions about our relationship with the world itself.
While doing this project I focused on understanding the threats, beliefs, and thoughts of this community, and its effects on the landscape, rural areas and nature. The outcome is the construction of a fictional place which people and landscape features the possible future and aftermaths of fracking.
All images and text © Norberto Fernandez Soriano
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