Arid Edge

The Chilean journey came about as a result of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary project.

Shortly after the Kermadec expedition, Pew Trust initiated a similar sanctuary concept around the island of Rapanui, and so in support of this, the Kermadec exhibition was invited to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in Santiago. I travelled there for an artist presentation and performance in the museum, following which I travelled north to Atacama desert to shoot video in a desert context.

Atacama is significant for several reasons. Next to the Dry Valleys of Antarctica the Atacama is considered to be among the driest locations on the planet, making it perfect for astronomy. It was also the place where large numbers of the disappeared generation—an estimated 30,000 people who were killed by the junta that ruled Chile between 1976 and 1983—were dispatched, and to which families still travel searching for the bones of loved ones. A location hauntingly bleak, silent and beautiful, plus haunted by the recent political past.

On a preliminary trip out into the desert I encountered the astonishing landscape of Valle de la Lune and decided to return to the region by bicycle to explore the cliffs and valleys in search of a remote gully where few had visited. I found such a place and shot a considerable amount of video there, traveling to and from it daily some 30 kilometers by bicycle.


En route, at around sunset the desert vista is amazing and it spontaneously occurred to me to record part of the transit on one of my cameras. Arid Edge is the result, pretty much as it was shot with camera kinetics from a bicycle perspective. Later I added a minimal sound track focusing on wheel contact with the various ground surfaces.

Phil Dadson



To learn about the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary project that preceded Phil Dadson's trip to Chile, go here .