The 100-mile-long border covers a region with the most national parks, darkest skies and least population in the country, but also includes the military installations of the west coast, upland hill farming of the Cheviots and the largest manmade forest in the UK.
Making this walk alone, Zoe gathered a wealth of material about life on the border including historical archives, contemporary news, border ballads and video. She met and interviewed people who live on both sides of the line, learning about their relationship with place, past and present and their underestimated cultural identity as Borderers.
The walk coincided with the Brexit vote and Zoe discovered that the border continues to be a focus of debate over sovereignty raising issues of nationalism and identity, which is reflected in the anxiety over the refugee crisis and international political zeitgeist.
Beyond the Pale uses photography, drawing, mapping and text-based art to build a poignant body of work questioning the notion of nationhood and landscape in the 21st century. The photographs can be viewed as familiar pastoral images but also otherworldly, depicting suspenseful and psychologically charged places that radiate their own violent history. The landscapes can also feel timeless, even primordial, offering a sense of permanence that can allay current political anxieties.
The rigorous approach to the drawings and map works is a way of seeking order within an overwhelming world. Attempting to hand draw the fleeting and magical phenomenon of a murmuration of starlings or the vascular-like flow of the watercourses, points to a nostalgic endeavour in a digital age, when orbiting satellite are constantly recording and transmitting our attempts to get lost.
Zoe Childerley is a lecturer at Brighton University and has worked as an artist using photography and mixed media for over 10 years. She has undertaken many commissions and residencies and exhibited nationally and internationally.