"Landscapes are not backdrops for historical action: they are themselves active."
Yuli Serfaty (1992, Israel) is a London based new-media artist contextualising landscape to politics through digital and physical worlding. She uses fictional, experienced and documented elements to narrate semi-realistic, research-based worlds, in which landscape and subject boundaries are merged, reversed, or otherwise interwoven. Her work is inherently immersive, and often includes sonic, digital, and physical elements. Her world-actors specifically comprise of field recordings, synthesised sounds, video, photography, writing, CGI, game engines and found objects. She often refers to this entanglement of media as the entanglement of living beings in any other ecosystem.
Storytelling is paramount in Serfaty’s work. From ancient mythology to contemporary politics, stories shape how we see our worlds; by telling Other stories, Serfaty suggests both criticism of real landscapes and an imagining of Other hierarchies. She speculates stories told by landscapes themselves, where the ‘Man’, in its Western sense, is nothing but an onlooker. Serfaty’s practice is concerned with making space for alternative power structures, in which the marginalised, the unimportant and the overlooked take central stage.
Exposing the power dynamics between landscape and politics, by telling a landscape that is intrinsically political, is the core motivation of Serfaty’s practice. In light of her own colonial Israeli heritage and as an immigrant living in the UK, her approach to making integrates local and global-imperial perspectives. She often chooses specific sites for her work and discusses site specific stories while referring to wider global issues, a recent example being Israeli political systems affecting the Negev desert.