Rebecca Shanahan - The Acclimatisation Project

Exhibition: 14 March to 14 April, 2001

Rebecca Shanahan

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Usually, it is the photographer who travels to remote locations bringing back images which depict the places they have seen. In her latest body of work. The Acclimatisation Project, Rebecca Shanahan has turned this convention around. Here it is the photographic negatives which travel to distant places and return, visibly altered, revealing something of the places they have been.

In The Acclimatisation Project, Shanahan speculates on the relationships between photography, identity and the experience of place. In an era of migratory flux and effortless electronic communication, what constitutes a 'sense of place', and is it still a component in our sense of identity?

In this series historically significant plant specimens act as metaphors for mobile cultures. These specimens are then imposed on images of local landscapes chosen for their reference to our colonial past. The resulting negatives have then been sent to the plant specimens' various countries of origin to weather, or acclimatise, outside. The images with their blemishes and discolourations portray more than the photographic 'moment in time', they depict the effect of the elements on the emulsion - thus giving each image an individual patina of age and wear - perhaps a sense of place.