This picture of silos from within an abandoned tennis court at Copeville, is another out-take from the central space/place section of the book. It was made whilst I was photography around in and around the Murray Mallee:
The 2017 Mallee Routes photobook that I had been previously working on has been abandoned. This was to consist of photos made during 2017, which was the first year of the collaborative project. I just did not have enough good photos to warrant the cost of making a limited edition book.
Mallee Routes: Photographing the Mallee 2019 is the last of these type of books supplementing my images in a collaborative exhibition. The upcoming collaborative exhibition at the Murray Bridge Regional Gallery in December will be the last of the collaborative exhibitions. The 3 years of the collaborative part of the project will come to a close with this exhibition, and the Mallee photographic project will then enter a new phrase.
The new phase starting in 2020 is one where I will be still going on various road trips to make photos of the Mallee country. However, rather than making snapshots premised on a disembodied relationship to the landscape as I had been during the 3 year collaborative phase, there will be a tighter focus with my photography. The plan is to build on the initial explorations in the ‘absent history ‘ and the ‘unknown futures’ sections of the project.
The ‘absent history’ section is situated within the colonised space of the white settler landscape, with its violent foundation and its colonial representations marked by anxiety and guilt about the damage done by the settlers to Aboriginal people. The latter were dispossessed from their country and the Australian cultural imaginary relies on silence and repression of colonial violence to maintain the fantasy of white sovereignty.
We photograph in the long shadow cast by settler colonialism:
The other focus in the new phase of the project is the ‘unknown futures’ section, given crisis resulting from the escalating effects of drought as the new normal, land clearing and climate heating. This has caused a water crisis in the country of the Lower Darling. Though these glimpses into the Mallee’s possible futures in the Anthropocene epoch I will slowly develop a critical climate aesthetics.
This is in the context of the culture war with its misinformation waged by an obstructive Minerals Council of Australia, and the well-funded PR campaigns of the coal industry designed to prolong the dangerous and unsustainable fossil fuel status quo.
With a bit of luck, the end of this new phase will link to work in he academy, and become a book with a commercial publisher. That will then mark the end of the project.