Tuesday, January 19, 2010

'codex infinitum' final works from 2009

I'm posting the final couple of photos from my ongoing project 'codex infinitum'.... and these are not the easiest ones for folk to digest (indeed one darling long-time friend of mine said - 'well ronnie, remember how I said I'd love to have any of your work on my wall - ummmmm - lets just clarify - NOT these please!"..... )

well there's just no getting around it... here are the works from the 'momento mori' series as part of the larger project... (I'll tell you a bit more about them if you survive the viewing)

'consumo cognitio'
(consumed knowledge)

'comesum cognitio'
(consumed knowledge)
interaction/ photography

'devoro cognitio'
(devoured knowledge)

Last year this dear old girl, part of my family's angus/limousin beef herd, died whilst trying to calve. This is a fact of life on a farm. Her dead body lay a few hundred metres from my house and each day I saw her in the distance - unmoving. Even though I would tell myself each day 'this is a fact of life' I still found her death difficult to digest. Knowing that it is a fact of life did not assauge my sadness or indeed guilt. Eventually, a couple of weeks after her death (and after the bloating, corpse explosion and initial stripping by maggots) I decided to take one of my encyclopaedia volumes to her stinking remains.

From the outset I knew that these would never be pretty pictures - but not everything in life is pretty....


  1. Very true... agreed, I might not put these prints on my walls either but I take from the pictures the fact that sometimes knowledge isn't everything or isn't enough. I know the dead cow isn't the result of the drought but the images conjur up the effects of the drought for me (I guess I'm remembering poignant pictures of dead cattle in news reports from places like Ethiopia, although this is much closer to home). So learning/not learning, knowledge/ignorance, failure to really learn - powerful messages that resonate for me with issues about science and the public, climate change and all sorts of other things. Very interesting. I don't know if that's what you intended your pictures to evoke but that's where I get to when looking at them! I guess the calf didn't survive, either? Sara x

  2. let me start with a huge


    for your comments sara.....

    in short YES YES YES and YES to all of your observations/ interpretations so kindly and freely given (and far more eloquently than I could manage: I love your line 'sometimes knowledge isn't everything or isn't enough')

    I prefer to offer all things up without excessive information (I don't want to ram down anyone's throat how to think about what is made) - and do you know - most of the time I find that others fill in the blanks in ways that I could never manage....

    and no - the calf didn't survive

  3. Very strong, very courageous works, Ronnie, and not easy to look at but very evocative of our harsh country. For me, Sara's comment is a really important addition to the photographs, putting into words feelings I can only think about, not clearly express.

    Your work is impressive, whether it be cows, wombats or burning piles by the drought affected dam - and gives the viewer a very different look at an Australia rarely seen.

    Have you had much feedback from Facebook?

  4. thanks also carol - I really appreciate people taking the time to read/post a comment

    When I posted these images on my fb profile - (and later on my 'fan' page) - as expected there was a resounding silence (it was sort of like an elephant in the room that no one wanted to mention!) but I quite like that....

  5. Hi Ronnie

    I love that others have offered a wonderful way of viewing the images. I realise I must be a bit odd, because I was thinking as I scrolled thru- so did she leave an encyclopaedia inside to see how it would decay, degrade or fall apart? I think I was interested in how the dead cow would affect the learning/knowledge - would the book absorb some part of it and therefore knowledge adapts/grows, would death destroy everything or would some parts survive?

    I just love how art can produce so many reactions and understandings.

    Quite fascinating juxtapositioning and I agree - not for the walls of my home either! Thanks for the viewing opportunity.



thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx