Orientation is a body of work made in response to the February 22nd 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Conceived as an artist book-cum-walking guide, the photographs were made during countless walks around the perimeter of the central city Red Zone cordons.
With no initial set intention for the outcome of the work, Tim J. Veling simply aimed his lens at buildings trapped within the Red Zone that he used to use to way-find on a daily basis. In the months following the disaster, as information about the extent of damage within city was drip-fed to the public, it quickly because obvious the vast majority of these buildings would be demolished by the time people were let back in.
As photographs amounted, Veling began selecting individual images that seemed on some level to convey the disorienting experiences he was having during his walks. Eschewing the monumental signs of trauma for a deceptively objective viewpoint, the resultant body of work asks the viewer to consider the potential implications of small details found within each frame. Veling pairs this micro with macro detail in the form of location information sourced from Google Maps. The resultant artist book is less a depiction of experience during a concentrated period of time and more a surrogate for experience itself, as brought forth in the way the reader is forced to interact with content.
Veling is currently working on a follow up to this body of work. Drawing on previously unused photographs taken during the time, plus new images taken from approximately the same vantage points nearly ten years on, this new body of work has no set date for completion.
Tim J. Veling
Tim J. Veling is a photographer and senior lecturer in photography at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts, New Zealand. He is the director and primary administrator of the Place in Time archive.
Tim gained his MFA from the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts in 2006, for which the project Reb Bus Diary formed his research thesis. Red Bus Diary was later published by Place in Time in conjunction with the University of Canterbury and Hazard Press, and exhibited as part of Platform Arts Festival, Christchurch, 2006.
Since then, Tim has undertaken a number of long-term projects that unpick aspects of the psychological, cultural and socio-political landscape. Broadly, his work is an ongoing investigation into concepts of home, belonging, place and time made visible through a subtle blending of the genres of fine art and documentary photography. His main modes of output are exhibitions and artist books.
Tim is currently engaged in a series of long-term projects relating to the aftermath of Christchurch’s devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. He has exhibited and worked nationally and internationally and his prints are held in private and public collections.