Date of Award

2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours

School

School of Communications & Media Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Communications, Health and Science

First Advisor

Dr Rod Giblett

Abstract

Artificial wetlands are becoming an ever more visible feature of the landscape of Perth and the Swan Coastal Plain. They are appearing in the centre of new suburbs and also in the remediation of stormwater systems. Crucially wetlands have been a denigrated and abused part of the landscape. Imported landscape aesthetics have seen the function of wetlands as being an impediment to progress and the development of land. For indigenous Aboriginal peoples of the land, Nyoongar peoples, wetlandspaces (Giblett, I996a) are crucial to their inclusive understanding of 'country'. Intertwined with notions of spirituality, stewardship, and food source among others. With Mabo and Wik Native Title claims offering the possibility of multiple titles, 'country' can offer an holistic approach to an understanding of landscape management. Intrinsic to the creation of wetlandspaces are twin notions of surveillance and simulation. By noting the surveillant technologies of observation and disciplinarity (Foucault, 1977), wetlandspaces are increasingly becoming surveilled spaces, removing the opportunity for vagrancy (Wood, 2001). This then is transferred onto residents who observe and are observed these spaces in suburbs. Simulation offers the opportunity to fashion an approximation of wetland biomes and ecosystems. Rather than witness the creation of wetlandspaces that respond to and are moulded by climate and locality, simulated wetlandspaces/natural spaces are actively mobilised in the re-creation of English villagibility. Ruther than celebrate pre-contact landscape/country, artificial wetlands privilege the work of profit seeking capital as evidenced by the land development industry and government planning departments. The surveillance of otherness and simulation of hyperreality, as evidenced in the placement and function of water features within enclave estates, and on the edges of industrial land, create synergies of denial, fear and indifference, by refusing to acknowledge the challenging notion of Aboriginal country

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