The raw material for the narrative in WHERE? is a paradoxical, multiform, ambiguous account of the human species’ habitat. Paradoxical is its representation of three-dimensional ruggedness, protuberances and cavities on media that are either two-dimensional (photography) or abstract (text). The non-neutral ambiguity of photography lies in its use for depiction equidistant between denunciation and aesthetic pleasure. Such an alchemical mix of ethics, aesthetics and abstraction affords an innovative and communicable perspective of the territory. WHERE? is not a book of landscapes per se, but a hybrid of photographs and texts in pursuit of readers interested in the past and the future of humanity’s relations with its habitat.
Technology in its various manifestations determines visual perception and replaces direct observation of reality with conceits and models that simplify and dramatise it. Photography, one of these technologies, offers the most generous options for this understanding thanks to its quasi-mysterious feat of compressing three-dimensional reality into two-dimensional artefacts. These pictures face the challenge of portraying deserts, mountains, trees, rivers and human structures in a printed book, so their understanding can be improved and turned into aesthetic pleasure.
WHERE? resorts to the fruitful interaction between texts and images to illustrate photographically the essential conceits of visual syntax —point, line, plane, shape, volume and motion—, as well as the dynamising tools of fixed image —sequences, zooms, fractals, changes of scale and redundancies. These attempts on visual theory end up photographing antagonistic notions such as instability–balance, determination–non-determination, calm–stress, complexity–simplicity. The permanent exchange between abstraction and concretion on the visual sphere rounds up in the second part of the book with an inventory that splits the territory into anthropological and geographical morphologies. To sum up, the aim of WHERE? is to prove that certain ways of taking photographs can help to understand and portray the kaleidoscopic diversity of the territory.