Henry/Bragg are artists Julie Henry and Debbie Bragg. They highlight subject matters that mean a great deal to them, such as the erosion of working class culture, often focsuing on British leisure pursuits, and the rise of global consumerism. They shine a light on overlooked members of society and capture parts of culture before they completely pass, using a mix of documentary photography, film and social engagement. They take the familiar and displace it in order to present it back to the viewer as a mirror to themselves.
ECOUTE BIEN LA CAMPAGNE is a series of three short films by Henry/Bragg made during their recent residency at Château de Sacy in France. The films examine the economic and cultural dominance of cities in contemporary life and question the sustainability of current levels of urban growth. Our cities are becoming temples to commerce, with rising inequality and the concurrent erosion of public space as it is given over to the automobile.
Henry/Bragg shot the footage for Ecoute Bien la Campagne around the fringes of urban Paris. The films show tower blocks painted like clouds, factory chimneys pumping out pollutants and the endless tunnels of the Boulevard Périphérique, which separates the city from the suburbs. The artists have paired these images with the sounds of the countryside, recorded during their residency in the village of Sacy-le-Petit in the summer of 2016. Sounds include the peal of thunder, the buzzing of bees and the bells in the village church, ringing out a working day that has all but vanished.
By bringing city and country together, Henry/Bragg force us to rethink the relationship between the two. Although we may think of the countryside and the city as distinct entities, in reality each is reliant upon the other. Henry/Bragg also suggest that, in our yearning for the high-tech cities of the future, we might be missing some important lessons from the rural past.