Literally meaning ‘no place’, the idea of Utopia has enthralled humans throughout history.
By interrogating our relationship with place and land Karolina Partyka’s work Foreign Lands looks at utopias, frontiers, and what it means to be ‘native’. Belonging and foreignness are explored through technological and science fiction tropes, transposing the lived experience of migrants, refugees and ‘others’ into the currently developing narrative of humanity’s next frontier and imagined utopia – Mars.
Mars, myth, and science fiction act as allegorical mirrors of Earth-bound migrations, colonialism, and the generational impacts thereof, as well as examining the implications of placing a human presence on Mars, and how it may evolve our understanding of our humanity.
As an Australian-born child of Polish refugees, Partyka’s work draws upon the experience of navigating between cultures whilst carrying inherited traumas, many of which directly resulted from the failures and distortions of attempted Utopian ideologies (Nazism and Socialism).
Faced with the traditional construct of white gallery walls, Partyka decided instead to treat the gallery space itself as a frontier for exploration, strategically placing and lighting works to form a cohesive sense of place. Interactive and immersive installations set the foundation for the alternative reality constructed by Partyka, with photographic and video work providing narrative framework, and lighting inspired by vintage science fiction completing the transformation of the space.
Apr 24-May 12. Kudos Gallery, 6 Napier St, Paddington. Info: www.arc.unsw.edu.au