Gathering Shadows: landscape, photography and the ecological gaze

Nankin, H 2014, Gathering Shadows: landscape, photography and the ecological gaze, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Title Gathering Shadows: landscape, photography and the ecological gaze
Author(s) Nankin, H
Year 2014
Abstract The practice-led art research project Gathering Shadows investigates the ‘tragic’ visual poetics of a speculative ‘ecological gaze’ at a time of ecological crisis. The work replaces the distancing objectification of lens-based capture with a unique indexical methodology focussed upon the cameraless outdoor nocturnal photography of live invertebrates and human artifacts. The work presents a symbolic order of dark and intimate x-ray like shadows in which insect umwelten operates as an index of nonhuman selfhood and place and insect abjection alludes to the multiple ‘tragedies’ of the human and non-human ecological predicament. The subjects of these works are drawn from two sites. The first, semi-arid Lake Tyrrell in the Victorian Mallee once informed a sacred reciprocity of sky with country in indigenous culture. The loss of this reciprocity is memorialized by using starlight falling on the lakebed to contact print films with the imagery of insects gathered from the lakeshore, imaging one species en masse on paper and digitally reiterating another. The second site, sub-alpine Mount Buffalo in the Australian Alps is a region already in decline due to climate change. Here, cameraless images of the keystone species Bogong Moth (Agrotis infusa) were gathered from a summit cave and digitally reiterated as detailed inkjet enlargements. A summary piece comprising cameraless film imagery from both locations links the two sites. The project confirms the auratic power of the site-specific indexical analogic methods, establishes the unique revelatory potential of digital reiteration of cameraless imagery and contributes to the biosemiotic reimagining and anti-anthropocentric repositioning of invertebrates and ‘landscape’ within photography in ways that aim to legitimize the tragic form as an appropriate aesthetic frame through which to apprehend our ecological predicament.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Keyword(s) Abjection
Australian Alps
Bogong moth
Lake Tyrrell
Mount Buffalo
Pathetic fallacy
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Created: Tue, 03 Feb 2015, 14:13:14 EST by Maria Lombardo
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