Terra Nullius

Terra Nullius means: nobody’s land. Latin expression converted into a legal formula by the Europeans during the period of colonizing expansion to claim the land “discovered” as their own. Under this premise, the original inhabitants were deprived of their territory so it could be distributed among the colonizers without any restriction.

Since 2016, Esparza has been interested in various aspects of the desert landscape: its aesthetic representation, its commercial, political, and cultural uses and its appropriations. For him, it seems relevant to comment on the dynamics of human interaction with the environment in the context of the anthropocene; where is necessary to adjust to new climatological modalities resulting from the aggressive and irreversible interventions on the planet.

His work is developed in the context of the Mexican desert, where he centers his interest in photographing spaces that are on the border between the modern binomial of civilization and nature. Spaces with human incidence on them, but that seem to be negotiating all the time their permanence into the environment.

Fallen elevated water tank

To choose the subjects of his photographs, he studies the territory using Google Maps and Google Earth to identify spaces that appear in abandonment or decline. Once he had spotted various places on a specific area, he draws a route and addresses to them. During this process, he usually finds many manifestations of anthropogenic impact on the land that are not visible from the satellite view, but that also contribute to progressively modify the earth.

His photographs record the immoderate use of the environment in spaces that were once “conquered” by humans, but now are uninhabited due to the overexploitation of their resources through overgrazing, depletion of aquifers or land cleansing in not regulated zones. As a result, these areas remain in a kind of limbo, where neither humans can use them nor the Ecosystem can be completely restored.

About the author

Alfredo Esparza was born in Torreón, México, in 1980. He has a Master degree in Humanistic Studies by the UV of ITESM (México, 2008). He graduated from the Contemporary Photography Seminary of Centro de la Imagen (México) in 2012. He has exhibited individually and collectively in México, Spain, USA, Iceland and Italy. He currently lives and works in Iceland.

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