Published research on RELIEF 3D aerial photographs by Simon Mould

An article I wrote about my RELIEF project and how art informs my research practice in physical geography has now been published Open Access (free download) in the Journal of Maps. In the article, I reflect on the process of witnessing environmental change and the importance of emotional engagement in science.

You can read the article here and the abstract is below:

Relationships between humans and environments are deeply challenged by recognition of the Anthropocene, which implicates humans as major drivers of planetary-scale environmental changes. Responding to these challenges requires technical expertise, but also creativity in dealing with complex social, cultural and political relationships of place. This paper introduces Relief as an art project that repurposes historical aerial photographs for the creation of affective, low-tech 3D experiences of landscapes and their histories. The creation of these works, and the experience of viewing them, offer a process for witnessing change in the Anthropocene. Content and aesthetics bring viewers into different ways of seeing landscapes, with implications for outreach and communication, as well as approaches to situating science and scientist in relation to society, politics and place. This art project leads into discussion of human agents and non-human agents as co-producers of landscapes, and the opportunities for art and science to respond to environmental concerns.

We should be embedding Indigenous language in everyday life by Simon Mould

Kia ora koutou katoa.

I've spent the past few weeks in New Zealand, attending a conference on river science and working with likeminded colleagues at Auckland University.

It's my first time on the North Island, and the first thing that stood out to me is how deeply embedded Maori language is in the everyday life of New Zealanders.

The ubiquity of Maori terms and phrases in scientific presentations, on street signs and in everyday conversations was a surprise to me. Even toilet doors invite 'Tane' before 'Men'.

At first, it felt a little isolating – I don't know any of these words. But it had a powerful effect: it made me look up these words and try to understand the conventions and protocols that were being followed.

Widespread use of Maori language made me think about what we're doing back home in Australia, and how invisible Indigenous languages are to non-Indigenous Australians like myself. Sure, many place names are Aboriginal, but many of them have been naturalised into – and corrupted by – the English language to the point that most people do not recognise them as belonging to Indigenous languages.

Wouldn't it be great to see more local Indigenous language in our everyday lives? Of course, the diversity of Indigenous languages in Australia would make this more challenging than in New Zealand. But on the other hand, what an exciting opportunity this would be to give a unique sense of place to different locations in Australia through connection with language.

The place to start is with schooling, and it's great to see that some schools are teaching local Indigenous language. But this needs reinforcement in broader communities, and public/private signage is a very effective way of doing this.

Making language visible invites connection and questioning with culture, and that can only be a good thing.


Dated: RELIEF zine and Terra Firma Diary 2018 launch by Simon Mould


The RELIEF zine will be exhibited along with the Terra Firma 2018 Diary at Rewind Photo Lab November 16-30th. Opening night is Thursday November 16th, 6.30-8.30 PM – RSVP here.

Large format prints from the RELIEF series will also be exhibited, including 3D images not previously shown.

Excerpt from the show:

The materials we keep and preserve say a lot about the people we are. Even as more and more information is stored digitally, there is something uniquely intriguing about hard copy records. the roughness of paper on skin, the weight of a volume in your hands, the familiar and musty smell of old pages and ink. Dated explores the passing of time as recorded in collections of paper-based artefacts, through two projects, by Sophie Willison and Simon Mould. The Terra Firma 2018 Diary (Sophie Willison) is an investigation of different people's collections of books and magazines accumulated over time, from messy piles to neatly categorised shelves, and allows you to record your thoughts, events and deadlines in the long-held tradition of diary-keeping. RELIEF (Simon Mould) is a 3D time capsule for landscapes that no longer exist, recorded in military aerial survey photographs but changed forever by collisions between people and environments. Both projects celebrate the power of the hard copy record to make more tangible the passing of time.

I watched a rabbit die by Simon Mould

Myxomatosis is a pretty shocking disease. Last month I watched over a couple of days as a wild rabbit near my house slowly succumbed. On the first day, it started with abnormal behaviour - standing out in the open in the full sun of the day. Then, acute conjunctivitis and blindness. When I approached, the animal would startle, but didn't know where it should escape to. Two days later, it was dead. The next day it was gone.