For a short(ish) period of time during 2004, there was a small caravan parked in Westbourne Grove.
Westbourne Grove is an inner suburban street in Melbourne, Victoria. It runs east/west, inclining from the low lying flats of the Merri Creek at it's western end, and terminating on the top of what is reputed to be Melbourne's highest geographical point; Rucker's Hill, Northcote.
The majority of available parking in the area is 'on-street'. The caravan itself was not much longer than a car and had been parallel parked facing west. Although it sat beneath the crest of the hill, it was perched on the edge of a quickening decline, where the land falls away to provide unobstructed views of the city to the southwest and across not quite 180 degrees towards the northern suburbs below.
Coincidently, the caravan had been located immediately adjacent to a circular manhole cover. Because the caravan had been parked on the street for some time, the manhole was no longer subjected to the wear and tear of passing or parking traffic. Consequently, a thick crop of grass had grown on top of the cover, and in strict accordance with the circular shape.
This juxtaposition was extraordinary. The grass looked like a geometric slice of the great outdoors, laid out like a welcome mat on the bitumen. Combined with a million dollar vantage point, the formal order neatly approximated the kind of demarcated space that is encountered at holiday destinations every summer. In a playful, albeit incongruous reversal, it also evoked any number of portable/fold-out/stow-away features that would conventionally encumber a caravan or camping holiday...the 'creature comforts', so to speak.
By extension it also expressed something of the curious negotiation between a perhaps primal response to the call of the wild, and the decision to respond to such a call on the condition that it coincides with an ad break at the cricket. I imagined a bleary eyed inhabitant barefoot in the morning, taking a few deep breaths and wiggling their toes in the grass, or retreating in the evening to their home (not so far) away from home, for a barbie and a beer, to watch the sunset over beautiful Brunswick.
Unfortunately, while I debated how and when I was going to capture all of this, the caravan moved on. The unrealised piece was intended to be the photographic documentation of the observed relationships. There would have been no intervention with either site or elements. The work was to be titled, Recreation Reserve.
1.Go to Mississippi.
2.Photograph every crossroads you come to.
3.Make large format prints.
4.Look for devil in the detail.
Simon Horsburgh 2005