[ISEA94] Paper: Cecillia Cmielewski – Narrative and Intervention


Within the parameters of conventional narrative displays, several interventions have occured in Australia which point to the possibilities of technological innovation being used in order to re-tell history. The three examples which will be discussed have an almost “underground” sensibility, although they cover several, very different sites within Australia.

The videos Dora’s Revenge and The Three Pigs both directed by Australian film and video artist, Tony Kastanos with a group of then year old children, and a compilation of video produced by Aboriginal children of the Central Australian community of Ernabella, are presented to illustrate their spontaneous wish to intervene in dominant narratives and provide alternative versions of accepted myth. They both use humour to challenge the orthodox reproduction of values. There is a certain sense of empowerment in the examples provided, which although not technologically ‘driven’, use technology as an integral aspect of the pieces. The cartoon length becomes the domain of the child instead of the other way round. Aboriginal children look at and play around with their own images rather than, yet again, becoming the subjects of the unrelenting gaze of the anthropologist, the filmmaker and such like. A different site at which technology and art will be active is at a large public site – a museum in Sydney Australia. In this space the audience will be presented with a personal opportunity to consider history through an interaction with the voices and visions of those previously muted by the victors of history.
The site is cognisant of and responds to the potential presented in the dialogue between art and technology. The sophistication of technology, in this case, allows an unusual interaction
between the viewer and the viewed. Sound is used to evoke the lost subject, not so much as giving it a place in the script, nor necessarily documentation, but to evoke a sense of the existence of those tramelled, extinguished and forgotten by history. These devices consciously provide the opportunity to step around the conventional, in this case the colonial texts of the nineteenth century museum.

  • Cecelia Cmielewski is the Multicultural Project Officer at the Media Resource Centre, Adelaide, South Australia where she is involved in increasing participation of people from diverse cultural backgrounds in moving image culture. She is a designer who is involved in cross-art form practice.