During 2001, a series of journeys were undertaken with the purpose to record the landscapes and architectures of rural and remote regions of South Australia; then to make a series of postcards for twenty places, which were to be described as Placecards. It was thought this could be project which would help convey the qualities of place in ways that would bring the tourist’s attention to the fine and coarse detail of towns, detail formed by diverse topographies and sociologies, released from the chronological and historical ordering of the usual postcard.
The journeys undertaken and recordings made suggest the possible making of a different account - a chorographical piece. Chorography is about history conceived spatially with information collected through the walking of region. In this project, rather than walks, a series of drives radiated from the removed centre of action - Adelaide, to the north, west, south and east - using the major highways as a structuring element. A selection of the many images collected along the way is reproduced here, according to the order in which these places were observed. The images specifically disregard typological or historical order.
There exists an invitation to think through the making of a chorography based upon this particular snapshot of remote South Australia. You are requested to ponder the relationship between things bound by relative location, the vagaries of the physical environment, the actions of people who pass through, and people who stay. It is acknowledged in this invitation that you are provided with a remote view of a remote place, informed by images reduced of colour, specifically framed to elude extraneous context and minimal text. A fictional chorography perhaps, but one seeking to encourage a performative methodology in landscape/architectural perception.
The suggestion of the topography of horizon is implicit within the detail of ‘these’ typologically disparate images. Evident in these remote landscapes is the constant visual reminder of one’s location in space through the presence of the physical and literal horizon. Leatherbarrow’s writing on topography, horizon and architecture reminds us that describing topography as a coherent horizon may require retreat from its well-known form. He suggests that:
…topography now becomes clearer; to develop vocabularies and concepts that will demonstrate how settings that are distant and distinct from one another can also be interconnected, how they can remain apart and joined. To see architecture and its horizon topographically means to focus on the performances separate settings sustain, and to discover analogies and similarities between them. Only in this way will architectural topography be seen to exhibit not just remoteness but familiarity; that is, typicality of recurring situations. Only in this way can the horizon be both dispersed and compact.1
Each of these landscapes/architectures has been made or remade from the natural by human intervention. A chorography of the topographical horizon of the fine and coarse detail of the cultural landscape could inform the desire to intervene.
David Leatherbarrow, Uncommon Ground: Architecture, Technology and Topograghy, (Cambridge Mass: MIT Press, 2000). ↩