Cutting The Wire
Stijn Butaye’s ‘mancave’ at Pond Farm is a treasure trove of relics that includes phosgene gas shells and barbed wire. Barbed wire was one of the most effective low-tech weapons in WWI, used to protect trenches and funnel the enemy into ‘kill zones’. Machine gun nests like those on Bellevue Spur at Passchendaele were often encircled in thick razor wire that advancing troops were forced to cut while under heavy fire. One casualty of the wire was New Zealand’s 2nd Otago Battalion commander Major William Turner during the battle of Passchedaele. The million miles of barbed wire laid out along the front is now a sombre symbol of the inhumanity and tragedy of war.
Tank By Name…
Tanks were new and exciting technology in WWI. An experimental, unreliable model was first used in the Battle of the Somme in September 1916. Designed to break the stalemate of the trenches, they were known as ‘landships’ but to keep the new machines secret, the military called them ‘water-tanks’. The tank nickname stuck. By 1917 the roads around Ypres had been destroyed, and their immense weight of nearly 30 tonnes, combined with days of intense rainfall, meant tanks were quickly bogged down in waterlogged fields. Passchendaele became a tank graveyard, a wasteland of abandoned hulks sinking in the mud. While the British and French built thousands of tanks, the Germans weren’t convinced, they built only 20.
Dean’s Own War
Dean is comfortable on both sides of a camera; he’s also a keen and talented photographer. One of his previous projects was a recreation of the Battle of the Somme for the B3 Biennale in Frankfurt. Utilising friends and a field near Auckland airport, he created some stirring images of young soldiers in tragic landscapes.
See more at https://www.deanogorman.com/biennale