Mallee Country

This was made whilst I was on a photocamp at Morgan in South Australia's Riverland  in November.  The camp was for  the Mallee Routes project and I was there with Gilbert Roe, a fellow collaborator on the project.    

I was travelling on the Sturt Highway  to Moorook to photograph dead trees on the edge of the River Murray.  I needed to build  up work for the forthcoming Mallee Routes exhibition at the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery in March, 2018. 

Tunbridge, Tasmania

The talk circa 2011 is that with the  analogue-to-digital shift to the last decade, film has died and digital photography opens up new horizons. The symbolic events are the end of Kodachrome in 2010 and the  blowing up of the Kodak  film plants in both Rochester and Chalon-sur-Saône. 

Whilst film aficionados lament a disappearing past, digital devotees are looking forward to endless expansion based on recycle, clip and cut, remix and upload.The argument is that it  took the death of film to fully liberate the medium from the paradigms of painting.

This image was made with an old Leica film camera whilst I was staying in Tunbridge in the Tasmania Midlands in 2017.  

I had just come back from spending several days  photographing in Queenstown whilst Suzanne and her friend were walking in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.  We were staying at Tunbridge for a couple of days before we wen exploring the Tasman Peninsula. 

beyond the Red Centre

In the nineteenth century the colonial narrative represented Central Australia  negatively--it was a  dangerous and hostile environment. It was the Australian Outback, and  this was represented as  being without economic potential a dead heart,  arid and waterless,  as a space of the 'other', 

In the  late 20th Australia represents Central Australia  is seen positively. It becomes  the Red Centre, a major desert tourist destination in the Northern Territory.  The Red Centre in the tourist marketing brochures is the welcoming heart, the place of cultural significance, the site of the 'real' Australia, a site of unchanging beauty.

The tourist conception  of the Red Centre primarily refers to  Uluru, Kata Tjuta,   Simpsons Gap, Glen Helen Gorge,  Kings Canyon etc and the promotional images are those of a decorative pictoralism.  The Tanami  desert, which lies beyond the region of Australian  Tourism's  Red Centre, remains a space of the 'other': an empty land  without a trace of culture.    

The Tanami, as this snap of the landscape at Hooker Creek  indicates,   is not an empty land.  It is the space marked by the foundation of settler society and the dispossession of indigeous peoples, the intersection of  indigenous and settler cultures,  and the site of indigenous painting of country as a contemporary art form. There is a form of forgetting or disremembering by settler Australians associated with how they understood the history of their nation.