The Rochester Project - (2009 - ongoing)
The Rochester Project began in 2009 is the continuing investigation into land use in north central Victoria, Australia. A semi-arid landscape made fertile by a network of irrigation channels built as early as 1912, the landscape surrounding the small rural community of Rochester is my home town. In 1975 several reports of unidentified flying objects were made, with a supposed landing occurring on a dairy farm approximately 5kms outside of town. The owner of the farm was my best friend's father, and it was with puzzlement and pride that I saw the photograph on the front page of the local newspaper of him standing next to a burnt circular shape in his paddock. I grew up and moved to the city and forgot all about the long hot nights spent lying on concrete paths looking at the sky watching first for ufo's and later for Satellites or shooting stars. The interminable boredom of being young in a small country town is something that cannot be imagined, only experienced. It seems to me now that the ufo and the irrigation channels I grew up surrounded by are linked by a common thread of hope and desire. Hope for a better future and the desire for contact with the exotic. Both speak of failure: the failure of modernity to conquer nature - for the deserts did not bloom, instead we face an ecological nightmare as rising salinity levels make a fragile environment even less fertile, and the ufo's that the townspeople watched for never did arrive to transport us away, or to relieve us of the relentlessness of daily routine.