I looked at the images from Sarah Pickering’s series Public Order and considered how they made me feel; and whether the series was an effective use of documentary, or misleading.
The context for the images had already been explained in the OCA’s C&N material, so it was not possible to view them fresh. I found nothing mysterious in the images – just the subject of a constructed scene; perhaps a film set or a construction for security or emergency services practice. The title of the work gives the subject away – public order is the police force. The photos provide information about the facility – some of the press reviews of the work (see website) reference post-modernism and how nothing is how it seems. I feel this is a stretch with this work, though I expect the perspective is based on one’s life experience.
I find nothing misleading in the images, but I do not find them an effective documentary – there is nothing of the purpose of the facility; it is not shown in use by the police. It is aftermath when there has been no real event, just a rehearsal.
I believe the images are viewed as art in their context as post-modernism; anything goes, fake. When it is clear what the subject is, this doesn’t stand up to scrutiny for me.
Sarah Pickering [website]. Public Order. Available from: http://www.sarahpickering.co.uk/Works/Pulic-Order/workpg-01.html [accessed 23.10.15]