There is a justifiable sense amongst community action groups that artists sometimes instrumentalise the very human consequences of gentrification and redevelopment, which often see entire communities scattered into the winds. As a result, photography as a collaborative process is another valuable strategy deserving of far greater attention. Sajovic employs multiple approaches, from portraiture and interviews, to collections of objects and community-focused events and workshops. Wearing motorcycle crash helmets and carrying dustbin lid shields, these images look like something from a post-apocalyptic future, but in fact depict a dystopian global reality of highly precarious living conditions.
Gentrification is of course not freestanding, but driven by other, deeper factors. In some countries, one such driver is the far larger issue of urbanisation, the mass movement of people to cities as a result of economic pressures, which in turn shifts and reshapes the demographics of the city. Urbanisation has wiped away the place that shaped Zhu as a child, leading her to create a photographic guidebook of sorts as a way to retain her memories of the island.
Interestingly, photography is at so many steps woven into that very process; a complicity which is ripe for artistic subversion. Felicity Hammond scours urban landscapes before and after their redevelopment, often rendering the results as cyanotype prints. With similar concerns, Max Colson employs technologies at the very limits of what might be considered photography, recently using LIDAR scanners, a laser-based surveying technology used by architects and engineers to document sites prior to redevelopment. Lastly, photography can point towards the contradictions that underlie these pernicious forms of urban change.
This technique is partly designed to subvert the outward appearance of these buildings, which are meant to be looked at and photographed.
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But more than that, my photographs seek to remind viewers that the foundations of these towers are not the concrete piles driven deep underground. In reality, they rest on shifting sands of highly opaque ownership and complex networks of off-shore shell companies, often at the very fringes of legality.
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Metropole , I hope, is a reminder that however local gentrification can feel, it is frequently global in both cause and consequence. What is photography? To say it is all things to all people is to attempt an all too easy escape from a difficult question.
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Perhaps what photography really represents is a set of contradictions, and that might be what actually makes it so interesting. Just as it can pave the way, or at times actively promote the worst excesses of the neoliberal city, it can also — in the right hands — become a witness, an advocate and a provocateur against them. For the story in full, order your copy at shop. How it works. The main characters are extremely sympathetic and realistic, and the reader can not help but get drawn into their story.
A lot of bad stuff affects all of them, especially Kieran and Eve, and you are left hoping that they can hang on and find the happiness that they deserve.
I quite enjoyed the romance angle between Kieran and Eve; it came about quite naturally and had quite a satisfying conclusion. Several iconic parts of the mid th century Australian experience are explored by the author, including the transportation of convicted criminals from England to Australia, the often terrible convict lifestyle, the resettlement of Irish settlers to various parts of Australia and the trials and tribulations of those seeking their fortunes in the goldfields.
Norlynne Coar: Artist's journey to the land unseen
All of these examinations of history are deeply fascinating, and I really enjoyed reading about them. The author has obvious skill at portraying all the historical aspects, and the reader gets a real sense of what it would have been like to experience these historical events, ordeals and locations. The most significant historical event that occurs within this book is the Eureka Stockade, which plays a huge role in the overall story.
As such, the reader gets an excellent idea of what events led up to the Eureka Stockade, and why the participants thought it was necessary to organise as they did. The actual battle at the Eureka Stockade is pretty brutal and tragic for the reader and becomes one of the major parts within the book. I quite liked the examination of the aftermath of the event, especially the rather entertaining, but apparently accurate, courtroom sequence, which I was not as familiar with.
Throughout the story, the main characters experience high amounts of oppression or prejudice, often from upper-class English characters, due to a wide range of social factors.
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For example, before the Clancy family leave for Australia, they are oppressed by the rich, English family who controls their land and whose greed takes something precious from Kieran. Eve is taken advantage of by the son of the household she works for and is then cast out when the affair is discovered without the son standing up for her. Even when they reach the promised land of Australia, the characters are still oppressed. The Clancy family still face discrimination for being Irish, with the police targeting Kieran, and one particularly dislikeable doctor refusing to leave a party to treat someone from Ireland.
In a Great Southern Land is an amazing and powerful read that I was quite happy to find myself really enjoying.