Melbourne is in the throes of a real estate and infrastructure boom. However, another type of boom is flourishing largely unnoticed. Atop of rooftops, defunct silos, churches and government offices, telecommunication companies have installed mobile phone base stations—everywhere. Otherwise known as ‘cell sites’, over the last decade they have become central to government and corporate surveillance strategies; but they are also essential to how we come to acquire knowledge, how we navigate through the city, and how we communicate with each other.
Some Cell Sites makes visible how this indispensable infrastructure has altered the urban and rural landscape. Employing humour as a point of departure, some of the images from the series often elude to the dystopian motifs of urban decay and alien invasions: many photographs in the series document how some base stations blend in with their surroundings to such a degree the effect is either humorous or deeply unsettling.
The artist book Davison has produced features 35 cell sites from the hundreds that he photographed across Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The book includes an essay which examines contemporary digital culture and its effect on society. Also included are several entries from Davison’s notebooks that reflect on his experience photographing cell sites across the country.
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- : Michael Lindsey Davison