Displacement: 13 Visual Complaints
2009-2019 See full details
documenting a disrupted inner-city site from different angles and at different times over the
course of several months. The site lay at the center of a controversy concerning the expansion of
a motorway through a cherished part of the city of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2007.
A late manifestation of the mid-twentieth century planning practice known as “urban renewal,”
the construction of this motorway’s downtown by-pass involved the displacement not only of a
low-income community of punks and artists, but of a mountain of dirt. This mountain became a
temporary monument to the impacts of a form of infrastructure now recognized as imbricated in
a no longer feasible carbon-intensive economy.
A motorway is an example of a “carbon form,” a material embodiment of our broader societal
investment in ways of living that are dependent on fossil fuels. Carbon forms are so ubiquitous
that their destructive effects upon land and life have become virtually invisible. Suburbs,
airports, skyscrapers, and global chains of supply all lock us in to forms of being that perpetuate
environmental degradation, even if the consequences of this degradation are often felt elsewhere.
These forms of displaced violence are making the literal displacement of peoples and ecologies
Displacement: 13 Visual Complaints takes as its subject a local site of past contention in order to
reflect on this temporal and spatial displacement of the effects of carbon emissions. Giving form
to atmospheric catastrophe, it is a visual excavation of the decisions around land-use that have
brought us to where we are.
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