In this exhibition, Zahalka digitally disrupts, hand-colours, and evolves archival photographs of historic Australian habitat displays so they become bearers of contemporary meanings and inferences… Based on current science and the damaging carbon footprint left by tourism, industry, and population growth, the digital interventions within these re-imagined displays are pointers to the ongoing negative impact humans have had on the natural world and the need to take action.
Digitally inserted traces of reality into idealised, optimistic imagery, where fixed narratives are subverted, reflecting on the changing relationship that exists between people and the natural world.
Habitat displays and dioramas have been part of natural history museums since at least the late nineteenth century. Intended to educate museum visitors about native flora and fauna, these displays present pristine environments, frozen in time, devoid of man-made issues. By digitally inserting traces of reality into this idealised, optimistic imagery, Zahalka subverts these fixed narratives and reflects on the changing relationship that exists between people and the natural world. Working with conservationists, curators and photographers in the field of birds, bats, marsupials, mammals and amphibians, Zahalka has identified original habitat locations and incorporated new data to set out alternative and contemporary ways to view these landscapes.
This exhibition is part of CLIMARTE’s ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE 2019 – a socially-engaged festival of climate change related arts and ideas featuring curated exhibitions and theatre works alongside a series of keynote lectures, events and public forums featuring local and international guests.