Penelope Cain

I have an ongoing broad interest in the urban condition: the spaces, places and narratives of the built urban landscape. *The city* is my observation point and laboratory.

Within this I am drawn to the porosities and slippages, glitches and gaps in the narratives and spaces of the urban and city. Im deeply drawn to the threshold between the real and rational city and the propositional, the hypothetical, the not quite possible.

I am increasingly interested in the politics of urban space, and in looking at the nodes of economic and spatial power that occur in the city and urban environment. I am interested how this relates through the lens of Australia’s urban history, and also in the potential for resistance.

In my current line of enquiry I have been taking as my starting point the depiction of Australian landscape in the late Colonial period, through the eyes of white Europeans, using landscape paintings and prints from the time as a pivot point to dissect and collate thoughts on power, economics, money and land ownership in contemporary urban Australia.

This current work attempts to touch on thoughts around the western art history of the romantic sublime, the potential for anti-sublime, the politics of urban space through the frame of Australia’s history of European colonisation and Empire. It also attempts to open conversation around the performability of commerce, and (usually gendered) power within the city.



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