Cornford and Cross
Trance Nation 2007


Helicopter and searchlight over summer Solstice gathering
Curated by Michael Stanley
Milton Keynes Gallery, Milton Keynes, England

 

The year 2007 marked the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Milton Keynes, a town remarkable for its combination of urban grid and utopian origins. Sleek corporate head offices line broad avenues whose names evoke the sites or mystic rituals of ancient religion: Silbury, Avebury, Midsummer...

At midnight on the eve of the summer Solstice, a helicopter crew prepared for a flight along a path marking a great logarithmic spiral across the darkened countryside. As the helicopter approached the centre of the spiral, its searchlight fixed on a gathering of Druids and New Age revellers celebrating under the night sky as they awaited the new day.

Two visions arose: the surveillance of the video camera on board the helicopter, counterpointed by the souvenir images captured by the revellers.


Poised between Antonio Gramsci’s ‘pessimism of the intellect and optimism of the will’, Trance Nation offered a fleeting moment of reflection, as the power of the searchlight was met by the sunlight.

The title Trance Nation refers to a genre of dance music marketed by the global media conglomerate Ministry of Sound, owned and controlled by James Palumbo, son of property developer Lord Peter Palumbo.



Peter Hutton
Milton Keynes Leisure Plaza (2006)
Courtesy of Abbeygate Developments Ltd



Pre-flight check



Preparing for helicopter flight
Milton Keynes Bowl helipad, England
Dawn to sunrise, 21 June 2007



View over Milton Keynes from helicopter



Flight over Willen Park, Milton Keynes



Summer Solstice gathering
Willen Park, Milton Keynes, England
Dawn to sunrise, 21 June 2007



Trance Nation (2007)
Helicopter and searchlight over summer
Solstice gathering
Willen Park, Milton Keynes, England
Dawn to sunrise, 21 June