The tricky art of shaping landscape
The overgrowth of imported cactus in the Australian bush is presented as a poignant example of Australia’s not yet perfected Kulturboden.
While his family car is seen driving through extensive cactus fields, Ross tells the story of the Mexican shipmaster who brought the cactus to Australia. This accident of plant breeding is compared to Germany’s cultivated landscape, as the cactus fields are said to be “as large as Saxony”. The implication is that in contrast to Germany, Australia’s white settlers are far from having satisfyingly shaped their vast landscapes according to their character.
The Henderson brothers, who use imported cochineals against the cacti, seem to restore the balance. But the chapter on this visit in Ross’s book Der unvollendete Kontinent (1930) considers the obvious question left unasked here: what will the imported cochineals eat once they have done their job in curbing cactus growth?
Colin Ross. Australien - Indien - Neuguinea - Neuseeland [archive title]
[Excerpt from] Colin Ross. Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! Das Doppelgesicht des Ostens. Germany: Ufa/Ullstein; 1930.
reel 1: 35mm | b&w | sound | 409m | 24 fps | 15’
Master: 0001-01-0926_Australien_ROSS_Colin_XY_Omnimago_2016_PR422HQ_2048x1768_PCM_24fps.mov; 0:06:24,15-0:07:44,18