Eremezoic, 2003-19

Eremezoic, 2003-19

Two toned gelatin silver films recording the shadows of assorted animal bones recorded without a camera in the Victorian Mallee. Each film and film sandwich is encapsulated in a Mylar envelope inscribed with a laser-engraved number. Displayed backlit atop light tables. Unique objects.

Hundreds of sun-bleached bones lay scattered in the red dust near the old campsite. The remains of sheep and kangaroos, a dog, snakes, introduced and native birds (a sparrow, a cockatoo?) and what I guessed were rats and antechinus or other small marsupials: an osseous mix of the indigenous and colonial. In the devitalizing Mallee heat, the only living sound was that of my own breath and footfall. At dusk I collected the bones that, after dark, I arranged on sheets of photographic film laid on the bone-dry ground before exposing to flash. I imagined the resulting life-scale shadows would be indicators of human and natural history. But in a place of extermination and silence the experience also felt like a portent of the world to come: what biologist Edward O Wilson has called the Eremozoic or ‘age of loneliness’.

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