Picnic at Ngannelong
Picnic at Ngannelong is a series of images made in response to the overarching Eurocentric colonial narratives present throughout landscape photography.
Duncan researched and photographed sites within Victoria that once held historical significance for First Nations Australians, but have since been whitewashed by easy-to-digest colonial narratives.
By visiting and spending time in these places, Duncan began to realise that many of these landscapes were far more complex and stirring than prescribed colonial histories made them out to be. Photographing these sites with a new perspective of their history has strengthened Duncan's resolve to explore new ways of representing the landscape in a way that makes visible the layering of histories within the landscape.
Duncan's process involves photographing the landscapes on film and then physically manipulating the photographic negatives. By layering the photographs with physical intrusions, this project challenges repetitive imaging practices that enact and embed colonial mythology and visuality within landscape photography.
The interventions Duncan makes to the photographic negatives can be seen as additives and/or erasures. This layering of processes speaks to the relationship between past and present histories and stories. It provides a shift from representational photography to a phenomenological, inward looking approach to art making. It also offers a non-linear and non-didactic way of dealing with the complexities of Australian history and experience. The photographs begin to act more like symbolic representations of Australia as a place, rather than a nation; a place that exists as a result of both our imagination and our physical presence.
Alice Duncan is an artist and photographer residing in Naarm/Birraranga (Melbourne). Her practice exposes the multifaceted, ever-changing and (most importantly) constructed nature of our personal and cultural identities. Duncan is particularly interested in exploring the role image-making plays in contributing to notions of national identity.