This Melbourne exhibition uncovers one of Australia's darkest secrets
Like the desert surrounding it, joint Australian-American military base Pine Gap holds many secrets. As a key contributor to controversial international surveillance program ECHELON, very few have seen the spy facility in its remote location 18kms from Alice Springs - and fewer know the intent it holds.
In this secluded, shrouded corner of the world, Kristian Laemmle-Ruff captured both the literal and metaphorical distances between cultures for his exhibition Mind The Gap. Photographing what few people get to see, Laemmle-Ruff has compiled a world of pictures, text, sound and installation using Pine Gap as a symbol to explore deeper national divides.
Including interviews and images stretching across Japan and Australia, Mind The Gap weaves a complex but vital tapestry about the state of nuclear power, weaponry, surveillance, diplomacy, land, culture and our relationship with both Japan and the USA.
The show explores the human element in the intricacies of overlapping global structures, revealing the displacement many have experienced as a result of mining uranium in this country. Laemmle-Ruff's intent is to discuss the heartache involved in the sourcing of uranium in mines established on spiritually-significant indigenous land, and the thousands of lives destroyed when reactors fueled by that uranium cracked during the tsunami that hit Fukushima on Friday March 11, 2011.
Following successful exhibitions in Alice Springs and Perth last year, this is the first showing in the artist’s home town of Melbourne.
Catch Mind The Gap from Tuesday March 21 - Saturday April 1 at fortyfivedownstairs. Admission is free.