Encircling the Land: Photographic Visualisations of the Experience of a Landscape
The exhibitions emerges out of my process of visual and hermeneutic enquiry centred on the Tswaing meteorite impact crater, north of Pretoria. It is generally accepted that the meteorite which caused the crater, struck the earth around 220 000 years ago. Although that is relatively recent in geological terms, the impact on the local landscape forcefully contains the memory of processes from deep time.
In my attempt to read and interpret the landscape I move through a process of repeated engagements with it. A circular ritual of walking, waiting and documenting has been my starting point, with a burgeoning archive of 360° photographic visualisations of the experience. Despite this ritual and a considerable amount of documentation, my attempts to apprehend the landscape have been largely resisted and I have come to accept that openness rather than closure can be a generative part of such a process. Gadamer’s ‘hermeneutic circle’, a reflexive theory of building insight through a circular and dialogical process of reading texts in the light of other texts, has helped me to celebrate an approach in which meaning accrues, for the process, the documentation and the landscape itself.
My conceptual engagement with the circular landscape always takes me back to the same point. Visually that is the residual borehole near the middle of the crater, drilled in 1988 by paleo-climatologist T.C. Partridge. It was from this drill core that conclusive evidence was found, just over two decades ago, to establish that the site was meteoritic rather than volcanic. It is from this point that many of my attempts at panoptic vision have taken place, at various times of day and night during my excursions to the crater over a period of six months.
My 360° photographic visualisations of the landscape are fraught with light contradictions, making it difficult to adequately document. The inaccessibility becomes a metaphor on the one hand for the inscrutability of this awesome site. Photographically, the complexity of the processes used, bring with them an array of digital artefacts which further colour the layered nature of the project and its overall process.