Dark Pacific Sun

The Pacific is at once a site of edenic fantasy, a vast sea containing remote paradisical islands but also where the ocean laps the shores of Asia-Pacific territories of established and emerging global superpowers; it is a site of historic, current and potential future conflict over untapped resources and competition for global dominance, a location for both geo-political and ecological struggle and the current rhetorical and geographical focus of a global shift in power.

 In Dark Pacific Sun we aim to articulate the ominous contradictions of the Pacific, a place where the dialectic of beauty and fear is made manifest and whose identity has always been caught between liberation and exploitation – a place that embodies the contradictions of a globalization where the touristic freedom to travel is counterbalanced by the restraints imposed on political and financial refugees who travel in the shadows of the construction of new global social, cultural and political identities.

The Pacific has always drawn colonial speculators and maritime adventurers into its vast oceanic territory. It’s remoteness to Europe and its unique flora and fauna has made it the site of projected fantasy – the Tahiti of Gauguin for example or of Mutiny on the Bounty. It has also been the repository of experiments in dystopia, exemplified by the US, British and French Central Pacific atomic testing from the 1940’s onwards. Anthropologists, ethnographers, oceanographers and biologists have come to the Pacific to observe and collect data and to fill the worlds museums with disembodied artifacts that accentuate remoteness and otherness.

To emphasize the dialectic between beauty and fear and the vastness of the Pacific, where day and night occur simultaneously at different geographic points, we use the metaphoric device of the negative, or inversion. In this work what is light becomes dark and what is dark becomes light. In the simple act of reversing the photographic positive - of plants, landscapes, people, ocean and ultimately the Pacific sun itself - we create a Dark Pacific Sun that becomes an allegory for this region, where the hotness of the sun's white light becomes pitch black and where day and night, through the materiality of the photographic process become reversed.

Chandra+Stewart, 2014