Of the Land and Us: cartography of oblivion

"There is a difference between land, which is earth, and landscape, which signifies a kind of jurisdiction. It always meant the framing of an image […] The word originally came from the Dutch and had to do with making pictures […] From the earliest time, it has been loaded with wishful thinking”

Humans, us, we have been altering our land since ever: in tangible, evident ways, building our cities, and in all sort of invisible ways, which are directly related to it.

There are then all those sings and marks we produce on the territory in order to support our lifestyle, made of an immense number of goods: these traces are so hidden away and so much outside of our experience, that we have no understanding of them, although they might be in fact the deepest signs of our activities as humans.

Truth is, that living within a city doesn’t allow us to comprehend the scale of the impact we are having on the territory. A street of NYC from above doesn’t seem like much, but when you see that same road on a desert area, it looks like a deep, engraved man-made sign which urges us to reconsider our relationship with the earth. After all, nature and human are two inseparable realms.

“Of the land and us: cartography of oblivion” is a project which explores and shows places, signs, marks, that are outside of our daily experience but that are actually very much correlated to our lives. Combining together images of a daily use object and its source, the project aims to generate both attraction and concern, celebrating this clash between beauty and urgency.

The series is using photography not just a mere witness, but as an artistic tool able to generate dialogue, where the photos become almost abstract or surreal, while hopefully providing a greater understanding of who we are as humans. The scale/non-scale is an intentional tool to put in (or out of) perspective what we’ve created.

 © 2023 Claudia Orsetti 

Freelance Photographer