Regarding Natural Vectors in an Artificial Landscape

Satellite Photography, Cane, 2006


The work is situated within a contemporary body of work that seeks to makes sense of human geography through the artistic practice of cartography. The current interest in map-making highlights the highly subjective nature of cartographic representation and a reassertion of human agency through spatial articulation.

The series of photographs are a mapping of the surprising beauty of human industrial incursion inscribed into and carved out of the so called ‘natural’ environment. The popular discourse on natural landscape is in no way natural: that is to say free from a clear morality, and set in direct contrast to the pejorative of the human footprint, the artificial.
This clumsy and reductionist dichotomy is myopic and obscures curious and surprising beauty.
Satellite photography as art practice is a subversive and democratic re-appropriation of a technology of surveillance, militarisation and control. The work is deeply suspicious of the romanticised popular notions of the natural landscape; here read moral, pure, undefiled and real; set up against the binary of human/industrial construction, here read innocence lost, impurity and violence.
This contempt fails to engage with the ambiguity of both the intellectual and aesthetic beauty of this kind of order.

The harbor as a site of human incursion, industrialisation, globalisation and curious beauty is the subject matter of the large digital photographs. But indeed the linearity and disorientating perspective makes the artworks drift into abstraction.
The dock- threshold: concrete orders the water into straight lines; the ship: vector of contemporary globalisation ferrying iPods, books, shoes, grain and cheap Chinese crockery and handbags; and the container: pixel, byte of information, building block of exchange, stacked and ordered in sophisticated colour arrangements.

Although problematising notions of the natural and artificial, the photographs are principally aesthetic surfaces, visual maps of a reality, another way of seeing and making the world.