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Kristian Haggblom

“Photographically I investigate locations where society physically and psychologically projects its ideas and the relationship between nature and culture is thrown into question. Living between Japan and Australia since 1999 has enabled me to photograph sites of varying cultural and geographic interest that visually present theories relating to the production of space. I invite the viewer to contemplate physical and mental cultural constructs that layer our environment: twenty-four-metre concrete tetrapods line the Japanese coast in an effort to subside destruction caused by tsunami, a rent-a-camper winds through a moon-like landscape on Tasmania's West Coast and a border guard stands watch on the invisible dividing line between North and South Korea.

Within my ongoing body of work the Aokigahara Jukai (The Blue Sea of Foliage) series could be considered a concentrated exploration of a culturally weighted landscape. At the foot of Mt. Fuji lies a labyrinth forest, renowned not only for its beauty, but suicide. Its bed of volcanic rock renders compasses unusable. Wannabe suiciders, mushroom pickers, day-trippers and police alike trail string behind them to enable them to return to their point of entry. Decomposing amongst the forest bed is the cultural artefacts one collects for their final hours – a literal death kit. My photographs of this space of cessation document this phenomenon and attempt to uncover if the forest itself has a numinous existence.”

(Kristian Haggblom 2006)