Appropriated from moving image productions, here are ‘new’ scenes which see beyond a TV screen to the featured place itself, framing each scene as if I had been there. The images came about during a recent period of illness during which I was unable to physically place myself in the landscape.
They also reflect my mediated experience of the wider world, having never had the opportunity to travel. In addition to the idea of the image world as a ‘destination’, the omission of human presence within the content of these images is intentionally contradictory. It acts as a comment on human impact on the environment as a result of mass awareness via the media.
“Landscape is not the ideologically neutral subject many imagine it to be. Rather, it is an historical artifact that can be viewed as a record of the material facts of our social reality and what we have chosen to make of them.” (Bright, 1985, p11)
(One example of this would be the location made famous by the movie The Beach; since the movie the fragile corals have been decimated by tourism. “This once-idyllic cove, on the tiny Thai island of Koh Phi Phi Leh, was the paradise location of The Beach, Danny Boyle’s 2000 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio. It was then pushed by tourism officials in advertising campaigns to entice more wealthy visitors to Thailand. But mass tourism has since taken a vast toll on the fragile coral reefs here: 80% of the coral around the bay has been destroyed, the result of millions of boats dropping anchor on it, tourists treading on and picking it, or poisoning by rubbish and suncream.”
(Ellis-Petersen, 2018, Guardian.com))
“whatever its aesthetic merits, every representation of landscape is also a record of human values and actions imposed on the land over time.” (Bright, 1985, p2)
I jotted down three lines of rhyming text which seemed to sum up these images succinctly, the 2nd pain referred to could connect to a feeling of environmental catastrophe, or could be reference to the pain of seeing itself, an idea suggested in Elkins (1997, p29):
I’ve seen around the world today.
It’s beauty took my pain away,
and left another in its place.
“Media, by altering the environment, evoke us in unique ratios of sense perceptions. The extension in any one sense alters the way we think and act – the way we perceive the world.” (McLuhan/Fiore, p41)
Bright, D. (1985) Of Mother Nature and Marlboro Men: An Inquiry Into the Cultural Meanings of Landscape Photography. Available at: http://www.deborahbright.net/PDF/Bright-Marlboro.pdf (Accessed 4 March 2019)
Elkins, J. (1997) The object stares back
San Diego: Harvest
McLuhan, M. and Fiore, Q. (1996) The Medium is the Massage (renewed edition). London: Penguin
Ellis-Petersen, H. (2018) Can a tourist ban save DiCaprio’s coral paradise from destruction? Guardian.com, 25th February 2018. Accessible at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/25/can-tourist-ban-save-dicaprios-coral-paradise-thailand-maya-bay-philippines-boracay (Accessed 21 February 2019)