Taking as its starting point my pressing need to acknowledge and mourn the loss of my mother, who died in 2016, "Kerosene Creek" explores my childhood memories of geothermal landscapes and watery environments in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
By photographing a single model who ‘stands in’ for my mother and myself in this volatile landscape, I’ve constructed a family past that is part fact and part fiction. Fashioned from photographs, videos and texts combined in hybridised forms, this hypothetical family past is personal because these places embody my memories of long-ago family holidays, and universal because they hold the key to the question of how life first evolved on Earth 3.4 billion years ago.
Single-celled micro-organisms known as extremophiles, thriving in hot springs where these photographs were made, are the modern analogues of the earliest life on Earth. They also inform the search for evidence of life on other planets, such as Mars.
"Kerosene Creek" is a reparative project which focuses on my relationship with my mother, mother-daughter relationships in general and representations of the mother within literature and psychoanalysis. It explores how by paying close attention and giving physical presence to the memories of the lost loved one, we can create a ‘living unity’ in which past and present coalesce: a process that is enormously comforting in the face of loss.