Pleasant Island (The Pacific Solution) is a photographic series consisting of 27 images. The project uses found historical photographs of Nauru from public Australian archives such as the National Library of Australia and the Australian War Memorial, recording Australia’s presence in Nauru from the early 20th century.
This project reconfigures historical archive photographs with text and colours using digital layering techniques. The text is drawn from published transcripts made by Nauru refugee detention centre security personnel that document incidents with refugees, and the colour coding refers to hospital emergency codes mentioned in these transcripts. This series uses the photographic installation to draw attention to the historical lines that lead to Australia’s involvement in Nauru, with phosphate mining and the depletion of Nauru’s natural resources followed by the island’s current economic reliance on Australia in exchange for housing refugees.
These photographs show that image making and strategies like collage can draw attention to complex historical narratives with photographic layering, similar to the way that geological forms of rock sedimentation show us different periods of time in vertical layers. The project shows that strategies of repetition, ordering and reclassifying can bring the historical past into the present.