Kangaroo, 2003-19

Kangaroo, 2003-19

Eight gelatin silver film photograms created plein air without a camera at Meringur Flora and Fauna Reserve in the Victorian Mallee. Each film is encapsulated in a 33 x 55 cm Mylar envelope inscribed with a laser-engraved number. Displayed backlit atop light tables. Unique objects.

Despite their status as a symbol of the nation and the land, kangaroos remain an ambivalent presence for many Australians. The macropods’ hominin-like upright stature, strength, adaptability, grace and speed is certainly widely celebrated. But in a country of vast dry croplands and non-native herds corralled by fences these fecund, high-jumping creatures are the farmer’s enemy and the driver’s nemesis. Moreover, to the settler mind roaming wildlife presents uncomfortable evidence of unfinished conquest – an anxiety rationalized in the still-common delusion that much antipodean nature is so unsightly, comical, inferior or worthless it must be destroyed. These camera-less shadows record a rotting Western Grey Kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) carcass found in a remote patch of Mallee scrub. The scarified, fragmented images reflect upon the confused semiotics of its species, confusion rooted in contradictions between a rapacious mercantile culture, nationalist myths and ecological realities.

Preparing subject for ground level nocturnal shadowgram exposure, Meringur Flora & Fauna Reserve, Victoria, Australia, 2003

Preparing subject for ground level nocturnal shadowgram exposure, Meringur Flora & Fauna Reserve, Victoria, Australia, 2003

Preparing scaffold for ground level nocturnal shadowgram exposure, Meringur Flora & Fauna Reserve, Victoria, Australia, 2003

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