If you could live forever amidst a “frozen humanity” or spend one day on Earth knowing a nuclear bomb would blow the world into smithereens by nightfall, which would you choose?
Artist Dan McCabe explores this in his “crumpled” print of a giant 1980s Volvo station wagon, titled All the Time in the World.
Based on a short story by Arthur C Clarke, McCabe is fascinated how, like the character in the sci-fi snippet, life can slip away at any moment.
“I liked the tension between an isolated moment in time and its relation to the present, but also how the story paralleled my thoughts on photography at the time,” he says.
“I am drawn to compositions that remind me of growing up in the suburbs and I always try to capture it in this romantic way. But my images can also be quite sinister, and I like the tension between this nostalgic and equally unsettling way of representing the environments in which people inhabit.”
McCabe’s photograph of the car on a massive piece of draping lycra depicts a suburban landscape during the final evening hours.
It wasn’t until someone told the Subiaco local of the Volvo’s reputation as the “world’s safest car”, that he saw the potential for even more social commentary.
“I am drawn to compositions that remind me of growing up in the suburbs and I always try to capture it in this romantic way,” he says. “But my images can also be quite sinister, and I like the tension between this nostalgic and equally unsettling way of representing the environments in which people inhabit.
“I have recently started to see the way I photograph as a form of social documentation, however the end result is usually a bit more painterly.”
The 23-year-old’s work has been short-listed for the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award. The winner of the $15,000 prize will be announced Friday, September 20, 2013 with the exhibition running at FAC until November 17.
McCabe says he wants to challenge gallery-goers’ perception of time and memory when viewers come face to face with the ever-evolving image.
He says by obscuring part of the image with ripples and folds, the picture “isn’t as stable” as a normal snap, therefore creating an element of uncertainty for the onlooker.
“The image itself is obviously a past moment in time that can be called upon each time we look at it,” he says. “Unlike a memory that does change over time, the composition, tonal variation and subject matter as an image will forever be confined by the frame of the photograph. Playing with physical medium itself allows me to take back some of the control photography has and allow something else to enter that wasn’t there before.
“So it is the disruption of photographic image that may play on the perception of a past moment in time, arguably aligning itself with the subjective recall of a memory.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER