Condello had been sleeping only a few hours at a time for the past couple of months and was changing locations almost daily, never giving the assassins on his trail a chance to lock on to his routine. In the underworld it’s called sleeping in the trees, the target keeping an eye on the below. The idea is catch the would-be killers in the act of stalking you, to creep up on them as they sneak up on you.
Adam Shand, Big Shots.
Sleeping in the Trees catalogues the execution sites, getaway routes, surveillance areas and zones of Melbourne's Gangland War. The sites themselves reveal nothing of the acts enacted at - or within - them; each structure, street or landscape remains indifferent, unable to suggest or divulge any account of the site's violence. While these sites provide a kind of banal suburban phenomenology, there is a witnessing, a latency of the the crimes that is never fully sublimated.
Middle-class suburbia - affluent suburbs such as Aberfeldie, Armadale, Chadstone, Brighton East, South Yarra and Templestowe, sites which are not stereotypically ascribed to gangland killings - represents the work's core; unmoored from events, they appear to consolidate - deceptively - the truism of safe as houses.
The images within the series do not merely ‘document’ (documentation is only a partial pretext) each of the 25 sites of the victims of the period. The images were taken within the same nocturnal space as the events, typically at the same time as the murders themselves: 21 of the 27 victims were shot at night. Equally, night is as much the pretext of the project as its context.