Maps, borders, and lines of latitude and longitude are human constructions created to give us a sense of understanding, ownership and control over the global environment. However, when we enter the landscape, experience it personally, these lines of demarcation and navigation lose their meaning. We find our way through the relative position of landmarks, relying on the relationship of sea and island, mountains and coast to locate our position.
Emma Hamilton has created a double exposure photograph in the island landscape of Fleinvær Norway, the location where she was first introduced to the idea of navigating through sight lines. Here we are at once located and dislocated: placed into an unfamiliar landscape with two horizon lines to guide us.
Slowly, slowly winter day opens his arctic eye. From the moment when he gives his first drowsy blink to the time when his leaden lids have finally opened wide, there passes not merely hour after hour; no, age follows age through the immeasurable expanses of the morning, world follows world, as in the visions of a blind man, reality follows reality, and is no more—the light grows brighter. So distant is winter day on his own morning. Even his morning is distant from itself. The first faint gleam on the horizon and the full brightness on the window at breakfast-time are like two different beginnings, two starting points. And since at dawn even his morning is distant, what must his evening be? Forenoon, noon, and afternoon are as far off as the countries we hope to see when we grow up; evening as remote and unreal as death… Halldór LAXNESS
Hamilton’s series of seascapes were inspired by a passage from ‘Independent People’ by the celebrated Icelandic author Halldór Laxness. In February 2018, while on an art residency in Reykjavik, Iceland Hamilton would walk daily along the shore each morning. Using her digital camera, the artists would photograph the horizon as seen through the viewfinder of an analogue camera. Here the blink of Laxness’ arctic eye becomes the opening and closing of the camera shutter.
Paths for navigation: double light, 2016
Perspex, Duratran, clamps, light
Winter morning series, 2018
Winter morning I-V
Colour inks on paper, on aluminium
Courtesy of the Artist
About the Artist
Emma Hamilton is a Melbourne-based artist interested in the materiality of the photograph. Emma has an active interest in responding to varied locations and landscapes, researching and making work in France, Norway, Romania, New Zealand, as well as metropolitan and regional Australia. She has exhibited widely in Australia and also in Nantes, France. In 2014, she was awarded a residency in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts by the Australia Council for the Arts.