At once a singularity and a plurality, Wallan is a community located 60 kilometers from Melbourne, sitting astride the Hume Highway. The specific neighborhood is a new housing development, Aurora Lakes, remote and alone, with all the contradictions such environment comprise. The community is poised in that nether land of incomplete streets and dwellings. It is oddly alone in the landscape: Aurora lakes is a discreet development and does not adjoin any other suburbs and is instead surround largely by open land.
The immediate area is physically dominated by a high acoustic wall designed to abate noise to the Wallan community from the adjacent Hume Highway. It’s scale and bulk dwarf the dwellings within the community, giving a toy or scale model-like quality to the community within. Within the wall, traffic noise is reduced a whoosh; however it is constant aural clue to what lies beyond the wall. Outside the wall, the traffic noise is relentless; this is an110km per hour zone on the main road between our two largest cities; the roar of speeding semi-trailers is continuous.
It’s a quite extraordinary landscape that at once recalls the modernist landscapes of Eggleston but also (and surprisingly) the constructed environments of, say, Gregory Crewdson, given the unreality that the presence and scale of the wall introduces into the tableau. Nevertheless, the environment of Wallan has a singularity all of it’s own born largely of the peculiarities of it’s physical setting and location. It is as if it fell from the sky but it is nevertheless a typical suburban setting. Therein lies the contradiction of the place: it is at once unremarkable and quite remarkable, commonplace and extraordinary.

bg-ctap-mobile bg-ctap-desktop

Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage