Corey George’s project Alas, Babylon probably comes close to my Assignment 1 idea. In this project George documents the changing landscape of Southern Florida as the overbuilt urban spaces give way to de-urbanisation.
In Lehigh Acres and other towns in Southern Florida many homes were built but only about 10% were ever occupied. Gradually nature has crept in and reclaimed its terrain back again. Huge, grand houses stand deserted, tarred roads broken up by vegetation and only traces of human activity left by the roadside. A telling story of man’s greed being overcome by Mother Nature.
When I first looked at the project (I always try and ignore the captions when looking at images for the first time) I thought it was a narrative about urbanisation – new suburbs being set out and the encroachment of the urban space on the edge of nature. After reading the captions I realised that I had it in reverse order.
The project is also done in deadpan style and I enjoyed the juxtaposition of the urban development and the post urban – or should that be urban cessation – decay. The urban development shows the land stripped of its natural scrub bushes down to the bare earth with plots laid out waiting for new owners to lay out their tropical gardens of choice. The post urban decay shows houses standing empty and dark, devoid of people and the native shrubbery gradually taking back its place again.
George states (1):
Florida now exists in an artificial form; much of the delicate nature of the state is hidden, glossed over or has been changed to suit man’s needs, regardless of the ecological damage and overcapacity… Any ecological change or damage is far more quickly felt than it would be in other areas of the country. The land’s capacity for growth is much lower than anywhere else, yet we continue to push it to the brink every ten years or so.
1. Smithson, Aline (2015). Corey George: Alas, Babylon [online]. Available from: http://lenscratch.com/2015/01/corey-george-alas-babylon/ [Accessed 19 June, 2015]
Corey George [online]. Available from: http://www.coreygeorge.com/gallery/alas-babylon/ [Accessed 25 July, 2015]