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posted on 16.02.2017by Wells, Dianna
On Edge explores the transition and tension taking place on the peripheral zones of
Melbourne's fringe, between the old pastoral and the new expanding urban landscape.
I explore how the fringe can be defined and whether or not I can find, within the genre of photographic landscape, the sublime in the ordinary on the urban edge of Melbourne. I also investigate if the sublime can aid social awareness. The emotional response to nature is central to the theory of the sublime. In my project, emotions are aroused, not only by the beauty of the natural world, but also by the sense of tragic loss of the environment and agricultural land essential for the sustainability of a population.
The research examines the role of government, developers and environmental groups in shaping this landscape. The project considers the notions of the sublime, as expressed by eighteenth-century philosophers such as Edmund Burke and contemporary thinkers such as Jean-Franfi:ois Lyotard. This is contrasted with the deadpan approach to photography, which emerged in the USA in the 1960s and 1970s in the work of photographers such as Garry Winogrand and Dan Graham.
The photographic works investigate the clash between these aesthetic, social and political forces in the pursuit of the Australian dream of suburban home ownership. Rather than producing works that reflect a sublime panorama or vast spectacle of nature, I capture the detail on the ground and the rupturing effect of objects. In this way the consequences of urban development on the natural environment are questioned.