mark dorf: environmental occupations mark dorf: environmental occupations
dec 27, 2010

mark dorf: environmental occupations

‘the dream’ (detail)

our current landscape is permeated with man made monoliths, sitting on the horizon, skewing the clean line that was once established. our built environment is an ever-expanding footprint, encroaching on our natural landscape without control. creation can be considered one of the most powerful abilities a human possesses, whether it be through the hand of an artist, the architect or businessman. a particular amount of power and control is given to the creator. however, the outcome is not always positive and can lead to adverse and unseen effects, which cannot always be understood or are ignored until the potential damage has been done.

‘the dream’

in his recent series of images entitled ‘environmental occupations’, photographer mark dorf explores humanity’s role of creation and its relationship with its environment. within each image, large, concrete forms, drawing on the minimalist sculptural forms – reminiscent of donald judd and richard sera – downplay any sort of expression, instead referencing nothing but geometry and the materials from which they are made. their massive and imposing presence contrast the natural and calm landscapes in which they are positioned, rendering them out of context and providing a skewed image from what is inherently reality. when viewing the work, one may question ‘where did these forms originate?‘, ‘was there a creator?‘, ‘are they sculpture?‘, ‘are they architecture?‘…


the forms seem to mimic functional urban horizons, useless and looming within the landscape, radiating a quiet devastation. though the cubes look as if they are man made, their size and lack of evidence of construction, leave the viewer with a disconnect between their particular creator, making the objects appear much like the mass produced objects found in our current urban environments. the figures within speak to the various roles found during the process of creation, ranging from the originator to the mindless and passive impotence found in those who surround the constructions themselves.



‘the boys’

‘the architect’

‘false passage’


  • The design process is not a mindless impotent is a well thought process involving many variances as is true in every art form and most importantly in the practice of architecture. In the building industry in which the architect is the prime mover hand in hand with the owner the design process’ paramount objective is to prvide a safe environment for the functionality of the structure. It is hardly an off the shelf standard and certainly not put together out of context with the environment where the design is set. The concrete cubes in the photos shown may look out of context but they are not unlike the granite outcropping you see in the middle of very dissimilar mountain like environment, out of context yet it fits. Why? Because our minds are conditioned to accepting nature as nature. Anything non-organic is out of context. This is why the design process is not an impotent process. The architect goes through all the variances to achieve a design that fits contextually and in the end provide a safe environment for the design function.

    Nelson architect says:

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