Phillip George: Poetics of Migration #1 & #2

  • ©2004, Phillip George

  • ©2004, Phillip George



    Poetics of Migration #1 & #2


Creation Year:



    Metallic laser ctype print


    70 centimeters x 180 centimeters


Artist Statement:

    Poetics of Migration is derived from a theoretical framework based around the notion of the porous coastline. This metaphor was seen to act like a film plane in a camera, but a film plane that is operating in slow-motion image capture, recording evidence of what has passed by, sponge-like, absorbing and documenting the record of past histories and then displaying them within the landscape. The landscape was established as a recorder of a history. It was, in a way, the antithesis to the nature of photography, of photography’s instant method of recording the ephemeral moment – that decisive moment. The decisive moment was abandoned for the slow-motion sedimentary accumulation, disintegration, and rearticulation into the tidal fossil records, which made up the evidence within the documentation of the site. The ephemeral moment became tattooed into the rock instead of an inscription on paper. The instant became handmade. Here in this metaphorical space, the coastal aperture is seen as a porous membrane that fluctuates, and mediates incoming and outgoing ideas and influences as powerfully and as irrepressibly as the coastal tide. The porous coastal plane is seen to be a time traveller. It sits still. Our human-scaled idea of passing may be called time, but time, in this space, stays where it is. We are the ones who pass by. It is the landscape that records us.

    The space is an antipodean space where, instead of the land becoming the subject of the document, the land documents us. Poetics of Migration then attempts to excavate palimpsest like a document from this archaeological meditation, adding layers to translation, adding complexity and richness to language and culture. Poetics of Migration address parallel concerns of contemporary image making but also the cultural geo-political hegemony of our time. In response to these concerns, Poetics of Migration attempts to understand movements in other cultures and civilisations and tries to understand them in their own terms, in relation to their own histories, their own traditions and inspirations.

Technical Information:

    The Poetics of Migration images are composites made up of layer upon layer of images collected from around the world over the past 13 years. For example, the images titled Poetics of Migration # 2 include imagery from Bondi Beach, Sydney; Beijing; and Palmyra, southeast Syria. The images were scanned at very high resolution and electronically processed into a final 20 artwork.