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Passing Each Other By

I find the coastal, semi-desert spaces that I visit in southern Spain creatively stimulating. The penetrative sunlight (more like an x-ray) illuminating the raw and exposed heterogeneous topography of the place for me leaves its mark.

The past and the present are intertwined and the landscape is littered with the interrelations of human agency (largely undertakings in mining and farming) and nature (transformations and settlements of matter through natural phenomena of vastly different scales and complexities).

Massey (2005) proposes an approach to understanding space as the product of interrelations and interactions “from the immensity of the global to the intimately tiny” “…predicated on the existence of plurality” “…always under construction.”

If, as Massey proposes, space is always under construction and “is never finished; never closed” then these spaces where my images started are ideal surfaces into which I can weave my thoughts and feelings about impermanence and transience.

These spaces and first- hand experiences in the field activated what for me progressively became the questioning of dualistic absolutes and distinctions between nature and society and the unlocked possibility that such an analytical lens (dualistic thought) could itself be obscuring alternative ways of seeing and thinking about landscape, place and space.

The images are the outcome of two separate walks, one along the borderline between official natural parkland of the Parque Natural de Cabo De Gata and land designated for large-scale agribusinesses and the other within the semi-desert landscape within the Parque itself.

The first walk aimed to explore the land at ground level and flotsam and jetsam of organic and synthetic materials on the borderline of this hybrid environment.

It involved both taking images and collecting material samples to be used in my studio. The second walk was more physically arduous – I walked through dry river valleys, zigzagged hillsides and randomly followed walking or goat tracks, stopping only to photograph large boulders and rocks (my chosen typology) which, for whatever reason, had become dislodged and had rolled down hillsides to settle out of place.

These large rocks may have been disturbed through natural geological erosion or alternatively through the sudden impact of some type of human intervention such as mineral extraction, road building or even earlier warfare.

  • Massey, D. (2005). For Space. London: Sage Publications