A former mining site sits within the Karangahake Gorge Historic Walkway. This historic site is home to the remains of human interventions and New Talisman Gold has recently been granted permission to start test mining in this location. Natural and cultural histories are still visible in the landscape, as if a palimpsest, an ancient manuscript that has been “written” on time and time again – a collision of humans and ‘nature’. The changing attitudes of exploitation to appreciation, all in the while trying to fit into a capitalistic model that is still driving towards exploitation, ultimately demonstrates a domineering attitude toward the landscape, of being on the land and not within it.
Burton’s work typically reframes dialogues about the landscape to create holistic visions of ecologies that include humans and their activities. Human interventions into the landscape are not highlighted as discrete actions upon the land but rather are incorporated as scars and marks that are part of the actual body of the landscape.
In collaboration with King these markings by humans on the land become re-embodied as entities that seem to threaten the viewer, warning against entry into the captured landscape. Using and disrupting the materiality of the film King disrupts the image of the landscape, mirroring drilling, erasing, contaminating actions that have been carried out in the gorge, in turn disruption our picturesque view. The land, through actions of man’s own devising, turns against us.
Rene Burton's other works can be found at www.rene.co.nz