To the northwest of France is a peculiar island, inextricably with a history linked to Europe yet somehow insistently apart from it. It’s a land known for it’s modest social sensibilities while being driven by imperial ambition ever since the Romans receded from its sandy shores. This desire to be recognized, to be known and respected, to be tame without being tamed is deeply entrenched within the culture of Britain.
And while the invaders may have left, it seems the Empire never did. The wounds inflicted by Julius Caesar’s violent invasion continued to fester underneath the land, infecting the course of British history from that point on. Long before colonizing the world, England needed to unify and consolidate its own back yard in order to power it’s conquest of the globe.
Albion by Nancy.Adam.Susan (@NancyAdamSusan) is an exploration of a desolate industrial locale, a seemingly obvious allusion to the industrialization of the isles and subtext of the working class struggles that fraught Scotland and Ireland under British rule.
Chalky white tin roofs decorate the tops of stark grey brick buildings, and a swirling smoky sky long since defiled by the belching of factory smoke stacks now dormant. Echoes of cruel industry now nowhere to be seen, what little warmth in this town remains is tied to crimson sludge, found within an old powerhouse, the lifeblood of the land pumped up from the earth. At first sight, one may find the disembodied vitae disturbing, but soon you realize that the urban district before you is the body and that you dwell within it.
Surging throughout Albion the sludge snakes in and out of all manner of infrastructure, in-betwixt worker’s homes and the ruins of enterprise, eventually found juxtaposed between many fuel barrels in the very earth itself. Every Empire marches on its stomach, the British empire was no exception to the rule: an insatiable hunger for North sea Oil and a thirst for the abundant inexpensive labor of the people dominated the internal politics of the country, victory at all costs.
A tapestry of men, women, and children whittled down to bones and threads as their essence becomes rendered into the lifeblood of the nation: Yet another resource to be exploited, a profit to be made in the conquest and industrialization of far-away lands, suffering exported. Britain’s blood now murky with petrol and tears reflects Caeser’s legacy, the authoritarian influence of Roman power now codified in the English psyche.
Both Empires may now be gone, but the scars of their consumptive legacy remain, and Albion reminds us of the painful wounds they inflicted on the world. With no where left to go yet again, England now turns to consume itself, and the cycle starts anew.
Emily Rose is an indie developer who writes for rebind.io and resides in the pacific northwest. She’s often seen in the local VR arcade and developer community participating in pushing the medium’s horizons. You can find her on twitter @caravanmalice