Oblivion

Oblivion

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Oblivion takes its cue from the text of the same name by the French anthropologist Marc Augé. He writes: “We must forget in order to remain present, forget in order not to die, forget in order to remain faithful. […] Oblivion is the life force of memory and remembrance its product.”

This project takes Augé’s consideration of the role of oblivion in our forming of memories and applies it to a familiar form of photo essay – the road trip. It consists of panoramic photographs shot in 2015 in the desert territories of the south-west USA – Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah – a landscape familiar from numerous films. It’s a documentation of a journey, imbued with an arbitrary quality: if one had looked out of one car window rather than the other, the results might have been different, but the destination would have been the same. The fragments seen in the images are traces of lives already lived in the landscape. Through the process of oblivion, their stories become perceptible by becoming (almost) forgotten. They are memories that are created by that which is omitted. Oblivion is the driving force throughout: it’s present in the images that are not selected, what is omitted from the frame, what is not seen and ignored. It’s present in the very fact that you, the viewer, were not there when the photograph was taken.

A short book entitled Oblivion (2018), containing a selection of pictures from the series, is available from SKWCZP.