Architecture Essays, Language, Writing

The Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson / At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi Atsu

This is a limited edition print of Paradise Journal, an online and open-access publication for critical and experimental work on architecture in Australia.
Issue 01: Backyard

The Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson 

Ted Kotcheff’s Wake in Fright (1971) opens with a slow, 360-degree pan. There is no landmark in sight, no feature to mark the horizon’s edge. We see only an orange-red shrub-land. Yet, we are at a destination, a place carved into the wilderness: Tiboonda. It consists of two shacks, a pipeline, a telegraph line, a railway line, and a small timber platform at the station. When the camera settles and the eerie music stops, the premise is clear: there is no-one else here. We are isolated, alone.

We have found ourselves in the outback. The Back Country. Beyond the Black Stump. The Back o’ Bourke. The Back of Beyond. The Never Never.

Through a particular vision of the land, this vast, vague territory known as the outback is defined by its away-ness. Its many names describe not so much a place but a place-away-from-places. Immediately it conjures up images of isolation, abandonment, and a never-ending red.

Paradise Journal, 2021
English
Softcover,  12 pages
105mm x 150mm

At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi Atsu

The plantain trees    (Musa acuminata)    in our backyard, much like the occupants of the attached house, are not of this land. Its wind-battered broad leaves and sturdy green trunk are the sustaining cultural luggage that we hauled from residence to residence, passed on from family friends, in an attempt to establish a continuity with the intercultural existence inside the house. Every six months or so, my mother calls us to the backyard to gather around and gaze up at the newest bunch nestled amongst its big green. When it’s time, we’ll cut that tree down, and hose the bunch down on the grass, to be separated out into “some to fry, some for the fridge and some to give away”.
The construct of the backyard in Australia is, first and foremost, another device for the imposition of colonial power over the land and the Indigenous Peoples that pre-date that construct. The narratives of inhabitation that emerge from this reality are additive, imposed and complex.

Paradise Journal, 2021
English
Softcover, 24   pages
105mm x 150mm



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At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi AtsuThe Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson   /  At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi AtsuThe Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson   /  At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi AtsuAt the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi AtsuThe Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson   /  At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi AtsuThe Land Out Back - Isaac Harrisson   /  At the Peripheries and in Between the Parallels - Elesi Atsu