Stanley / Barker, 2023. First edition. Flexibound, embossed leather cover, 296 pp., b/w illustrated, 251 x 314 mm. Photographs by Trent Parke.
Trent Parke’s landmark publication Monument is a portal through which we bear witness to the disintegration of the universe over 294 expertly printed pages.
The monolithic publication is bound in leather bearing totemic coordinates to the planet Earth, blind stamped end sheets, black sprayed edges, and a loose steel plaque, that once removed, leaves the volume without language.
When Trent Parke moved to Sydney from a small Australian country town, his first impression was of the sheer volume of people. He would grab his camera and go out exploring at every opportunity, fascinated by the endless processions.
At rush hour, he watched as the city workers moved in a great mass, all walking the great conveyer belt of life. In a trance-like state, treading the same path day after day, week after week, year after year… clocking on, clocking off, all under the spell of the city. Parke would stand on the edge of the wave, on the outside of a new world, looking in. As if watching a newly discovered species.
“At night I would watch the eclipse of moths, millions of them constantly circling the lights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. At the same time, on my balcony, a miniature performance played out around the light above my head. The moths inevitably and without resistance were drawn to their ultimate demise. Spiralling out of control, like small spaceships caught in a tractor beam. Lured and blinded by the bright white light, they were taken out by hundreds of birds swooping in to snatch them from the air… spiders sat waiting on their webs. Built with precise coordinates across the face of the lights, they captured the hapless tiny creatures that slipped through. If any miraculously managed to survive that onslaught, they continued on, driven towards the flame, intoxicated by those burning hot light globes. Then suddenly an electrical charge in the still air. A small puff of smoke. Gone. Instant disintegration of a life form. Another blip in the universe. Another small spacecraft colliding with the blazing sun.” - Trent Parke