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The works in Magic Kingdoms investigate our relationships to cultural iconography, taking apart what has been naturalized to us and re-configuring and transforming materials and meaning. Martin Arnold’s Shadow Cuts and Self Control peel away layer upon layer of classic animation cells, highlighting fragments of actions by familiar cartoon characters, vibrating them between presence and absence. Disneyland Paris becomes a site of friction in Pilvi Takala’s Real Snow White. Dressed as the iconic character, the artist encounters resistance from officials for the confusion her persona is causing fans wanting to meet their favourite Disney maiden. Which representation is real, and who owns the fantasy? Elodie Pong’s After the Empire is a bubbling stew of cultural icons and historical figures; the pot boils over when the likenesses of Karl Marx and Marilyn Monroe discuss the end of history. Persijn Broersen and Margit Lukács’ Mastering Bambi recreates Bambi’s forest paradise, free of all its inhabitants. At first serene, the reinterpreted score begins to hint at the missing characters’ trials and traumas. As if emerging from this vacancy of presence, the pristine, calm water surface in Elin Magnusson’s Follow the Water is quietly ruptured by an overgrown penguin waddling out of its misty setting. Uneasy in its movements, the penguin suit restricts its wearer from a frantic pace; instead the incongruous scene unfolds in its own time. Joshua Thorson’s HORIZON utilizes footage of the now defunct ride of the same name at EPCOT Center as a visual companion to a sci-fi narrative told through voice-over. The transmission comes from a researcher on a deep space colony, far from earth, yet still with its baggage. A break in the supply chain may be the catalyst needed to truly embrace the new.
Shadow Cuts, Martin Arnold, 2010, 5:00
Real Snow White, Pilvi Takala, 2009, 9:14
After the Empire, Elodie Pong, 2008, 13:50
Self Control, Martin Arnold, 2011, 4:00
Mastering Bambi, Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, 2010, 13:06
Follow the Water, Elin Magnusson, 2011, 3:50
HORIZON, Joshua Thorson, 2010, 13:00