Housing estates are popping up west of Ballarat. New suburbs seem to appear overnight. I have stood in a paddock and photographed the distant building sites and then, six months later I have stood in the same spot on tarmac surrounded by wooden stakes marking the new subdivisions. Six months after that I’m in a suburban street and folks are using leaf blowers.
We do a lot of things to convince ourselves we’ll live forever: avoid certain food and drink, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, keep feverishly busy. I wonder if building houses is part of that. Houses are a metaphor for permanence. Your home is your castle. It’s your safe haven. And yet, when you watch these homes being built they look so ephemeral. I’m fascinated by the effort that goes into creating such an illusion of permanence, which is why I’ve chosen to make elaborate, complex and, above all, time-consuming drawings on the crappiest detritus I can find: old packing crates and pieces of plywood “salvaged” from building sites. Is it archival? No. That’s the point.
Death, entropy and impermanence are the key themes behind this on-going project.
Enthusiasts who have got this deep into the web site may spot some links with Billie Thomas’s 36 Ulurus project.