Sila Cakir

"Imagining Deep-Time"

Section MS7, Sam Nightingale

Keywords: photography, extraction

Place-histories and people-histories are inextricably interwoven, deeply rooted in the rich tapestries of ecological landscapes and the natural world. The framing of my account of landscape and environmental memory has been dominated by thinking through the processes of resource extraction and their ecological and societal impacts. Imagining Deep-time is a project that aims to explore the tensions between ā€˜naturalā€™ landscapes and extraction to facilitate dialogues about the interconnectedness of nature and human activities.

By employing photography as a dynamic, time-based medium, the project investigated limestone quarrying in the Mendip Hills area, using the site as a living laboratory for my study. Layers of stone serve as a record of past events, containing clues about the environmental conditions, climate variations, and even industrial activities that occurred during different periods. The stone dust and sludge collected from my field visit have been used as a pigment in an alternative process to the traditional gum-bichromate printing method for photographic printmaking. The photo series produced exhibits the various marks embedded on the surface of the stone beds from the extraction processes. These images emerge as a vehicle to imagine the traces of the anthropogenic in the deep geological time.

The project navigated multiple temporal dimensions, drawing inspiration from the themes of multiples, repetition, and seriality. The project responds to the vast expanse of deep time, the era of industrialised extraction, and the immediacy of my presence and interactions at the quarry. By actively engaging with the collision of temporalities in the living laboratory, the project captured a nuanced and multifaceted narrative that goes beyond a simple documentation of landscapes. It became an exploration of time, change, and the intricate relationships between human activities and the deep temporal history of the Earth.