/ 2010 / /

Postcode War

'Potscode War' is a project based on the London borough of Hackney. Once an Acardian suburb of grand houses, orchards and conservatories, the latter declined into a zone of dodgy asylums and dirty industries.
Today, Hackney has become the epicentre of gang culture and the battle ground of two main violent street gangs: The Hackney Man Dem and the Tottenham Man Dem.
The Feud started back in January 1997, following the shooting dead of a 16 years old member of the Hackney Man Dem on Upper Clapton road. A month later, an act of revenge resulted in the death of a 16 years old Tottenham youth who was beaten and shot dead on the Carlton Lodge Estate. And so on it continued with incidents reaching a dramatic peak of violence in 2007.
As a result, over the last 13 years, the streets of Hackney have witnessed endless attacks costing the lives of many young teenagers. Jumping from estate to estate these youths fight with all their pride, perpetuating what seems to be an endless quest for revenge, while defending the honour of their postcodes.

The series depicts different crime scenes where various gang members have violently lost their lives over the last 13 years.
All images were shot just before sunrise and were purposely underexposed, as an explicit reference to night time which is when most crimes were perpetuated.
Furthermore, each photograph was taken at the same height using the same focal length.
These technical choices together with the exaggerated emphasis on darkness, have for aim to trouble the reader, making these sites almost unrecognisable and therefore impossible to locate.
Although these images have an obvious dramatic dimension which in itself connotes danger, the idea is to play around this notion by associating it to images which are unclear as to what they stand for.
The aim here is for people not to remember these places only as crime scenes. We are at a time when Hackney is undergoing profound changes, and with the Olympics coming up in 2012, it is time to stop being prejudiced and give the borough the chance to finally reinvent itself.

Alexandra Serrano is a French-Mexican photographer. Recent First Class graduate, she holds a Master degree in Photographic Studies from Westminster University.
Her practice is mainly autobiographical and self-reflective, tackling themes such as those of family, childhood and memory. Her work features in various publications and has been exhibited in both group and solo exhibitions across London. Serrano is part of the Intimate Space project organised by the Brazilian artist Georgia Creimer, for the 2012 Youth Olympic Games. Her latest project, Between Finger and Thumb will be exhibited at the Festival Circulations(s) in Paris in March 2012, as well as in Montpelier as part of the International Festival of Contemporary Photography (Boutographies), which will take place in June this year.