My wound is geography. It is also my anchorage, my port of call. – Pat Conroy
This project is about exploring and questioning location, places, identity, human and nature. It is based on Nordic landscapes – from the Northern Arctic Circle, to the Scottish Highlands, to the remoteness of Iceland where landscapes are mixed with feelings and can trigger a sense of solitude that reaches the deepest part of me. It is about identifying these places, whether being nature or human and the connection between them.
This is a photographic journey to the unplaced. The ideas of non-human nature, estranged landscapes and the spiritual matters of humans become my starting point. Sourcing from philosophy, the non- human idea is especially related to the concerns about the human nature and the surrounding places or the environment. Through the images of these unplaced landscapes I have also been thinking about the relations between the human subjectivity (femininity) and the place itself. A sense of place, nature and landscapes are often used as a “metaphor” for the human body. In these metaphors the stones, the ruins, the desert landscape, the water, the ice or the flowers all speak with the different parts of the human body. The non-human landscape becomes evocative of the garden of “Eden”. The simplest, purest, minimized natural Nordic landscapes somehow metaphorically reflect the alienation of human. Feelings, emotions, desires and even fears are transferred and transmitted into the surrounding landscape. Identifying a place becomes identifying self. I have been guided to portrait the unplaced locations by the fantasies that I created myself, according to my wishes, my fears, and the feeling of self-belonging.
Shifting horizons: the horizon becomes a major subject in this project and plays a central role in creating the link between the nature and the human. It divides the image in half, it becomes transcendent, it has no end and no depth and it draws an imaginary line between the infinity and the humanized landscape. The horizon becomes the metaphor of a promise. It symbolizes eternity.
Through the series of images this project looks at a humanized environment and the relations between the nature and the human as main elements. The nature, which represents the non-human part of it and the human element, which is portrayed in a “unplaced” manner and could be also represented in terms of psychological, physical and non physical matters, such as alienation, estrangement, and isolation.
The aesthetic value of nature is combined with psychological elements in order to create a connection between the non-human surroundings and the humanized elements. The intertwined relation that originates from these two elements contributes to the concept of “unplaced” in which the human element becomes a paradox and the final result is the estrangement from the landscape itself.
“Making being here enough—I don’t want to read. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to do anything but being here. Doing something will take me away from here. I want to make being here enough. Maybe it’s already enough. I won’t have to invent enough. I’ll be here and I won’t do anything and this place will still be here. But I won’t do anything to it. I’ll just let it be here. And maybe because I’m here it will be what makes here different. Maybe that will be enough, maybe that will be what I’m after. But I’m not sure. I’ll be able to perceive the difference. How will I perceive it? I need to find a way to make myself absolutely not here. But I can still feel and be able to know the difference. I need to experience the difference between here and not changing here, and being here and changing here.”
“Enough place”, tells the complex relationship between identity, places and human. The self-portrait pictures of the body combined with a series of Icelandic horizon pictures of iceberg drifting in the ocean, become a metaphor that demonstrates human’s isolation and identity. Identifying a place, the human element and the connection between. “Enough place” enables a solitude that reaches the deepest part of me.
North’ nothing’ nowhere
I go North, it’s my nature.
Jennifer Wang 2016 - 2017 London