The aim of this project is to create a ‘story space’ that cultivates and challenges enduring dominant myths about the Australian landscape by using perverse and abject audio-visual strategies and ‘postproduction art’ practices. This project draws on Australian writer Ross Gibson’s theories on dominant cinematic Australian landscape myths and an aspect of French psychoanalyst Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection from her book The Powers of Horror (1982) to challenge these myths. The cinematic myths that this project responds to relate to non-indigenous Australians’ largely unconsummated desire to understand and unite with an intolerant and sometimes vengeful landscape. Metaphorically, abjection describes anything that is cast-off or excluded from the dominant social norms, and can include people, objects, spaces, motion and stories. Cast-offs represent the binary opposite of what is accepted by the dominant social norms, such as right and wrong, life and death, or “human and non-human” (Creed 1993, 8). This project sought to challenge and update dominant social norms by creating a physical lived story space based on Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa’s (2006) concept of the lived cinematic image as ‘lived space’. Located in a gallery, the story space I have created consists of audio-visual artworks that present an abject interpretation of trees that inhabit under-represented swamp and native forest landscapes located in Moreton Bay and Byron Bay.
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