6 – 29 NOV 2014

Project Description

Swan Song #6 by Camille Serisier.


06 November — 29 November 2014

“‘The Wonderful Land of Oz’ comprises a suite of tableau vivants and a short film, which articulate a critical reading of the Australian landscape as it is presented in tourism destination shots. Adopting a storybook aesthetic, pristine vistas and idyllic locations are reimagined with reference to political, social and environmental issues in an attempt to hint at a level of contrivance and obfuscation. Absurd wonderlands of pastel colour and humorous subjects sit in uneasy tension with an historical record of violence and subjugation. I draw these images into a single narrative in a filmic homage to Georges Méliès masterpiece ‘Le Voyage dans la lune’. Deploying the techniques of scenic painting and the language of pantomime, I parody this lunar adventure, with ‘The Wonderful Land of Oz’ as the backdrop.

These fantastical depictions of the Australian landscape, in which fiction and reality contend, are intimately related to my meditations on the patriarchal methodology. Here patriarchy is understood as a source of domination, aggression and subjugation through which the historical other is repeatedly demonised using negative associations with nature, which is itself subdued and exploited. These hegemonic narratives are then passed down through subsequent generations, influencing common sense understandings of the natural world.

I learnt about the landscape through a particular European mythology of discovery and pioneering. Thinking self-reflectively about patriarchy and perspective, what emerges is a tentative awareness of my complex subjectivity – at once the unwitting heir of settler colonialism and the butt of a patriarchal heritage that dominates the feminine and nature alike. The storybook medium I deploy is full of oblique references and vague implications that parallel my own naïve encounter with the environment and suggest how the silences of national mythology can also be avenues towards an understanding of the broader historical and environmental context.”  —  Camille Serisier, 2014