Odette England’s latest body of work is a series of photographs, printed from distressed negatives of her family’s dairy stud farm in Australia (sold under threat of bankruptcy). The original negatives were shot by the artist in 2005, as documentation of the locations in which she was photographed as a child. In 2010-2011, under the direction of England, her parents walked the land with the negatives taped to the soles of their shoes, causing them to become abraded and imprinted with local dirt and debris.
“This series is a movement of reclamation and transcription. Since I cannot work the land with my hands, I work it through the lens, and allow it to work the lens too, in a sense, through the tread of my parents. The dominant motive for this work is my longing for an idealized vision of home, for the sake of which I remove my parents’ agency, much as I feel my own agency removed. The resulting images mythologize my holy land, an inheritance I ache for. My parents are semi-supervised ghosts; I ask them when and where to haunt. Their repetitive, ritualistic motion helps me remember, depict, and fantasize”.—Odette England.