“Magic Kingdom” is a conceptual documentary series, that looks to examine and deconstruct the North American myth of power and greatness. Not using the word myth to mean something simply untrue, but in a more profound sense. A myth is an image, in terms of which we make sense of something. This particular image was so strong, that it enabled a single country to become known as a whole continent.
As a South American kid from the 90’s, I spent the early stages of my life in a head-over-heels love affair with US culture, absorbing huge amounts of their lifestyle and traditions through the daily consumption of television. I, like most, was deeply infatuated with every single thing that came out of the U.S. entertainment machine and never questioned the source.
As i grew older, i became more aware of the other side of the story. The complicated attitudes and policies, both political and economical, that the US as a nation had towards the rest of the world but above all how these were communicated to the globe. It’s interesting to look back on it now, and understand how inadvertently, we were mentally conditioned to believe that the U.S. played the role of the “good guy”, the “hero” of the story, in the most famous of all fantasies, the “American dream”. And it was actually this term, that first made me notice there was something quite problematic about the way this country referred to itself.
At some point i began to realize, “America” was a word associated, not with the continent, which my country and so many others were also a part of, but with this dreamland territory, this magical land full of promise and opportunity.
Still today, this problem persists. When someone speaks of America, they never picture a landmass made up by a group of different countries, but have only one in their mind. Even more concerning, they don’t hold just any picture of this land in their heads, but a mixture of many iconic sceneries, mixed up, and promoted by pop culture references, that make up what constitutes, the myth of the United States. From the mighty "American" west, to the opulence of the "American" city.
My intention with the project is to reevaluate what this place -which i once held so dear and seemed so idyllic- really looks like when inspected through the sobriety of years of disillusion. By focusing on the minutiae of mundane happenings within an unnamed, unidentified suburban U.S. landscape as a scenic backdrop, i explore the place from which this tale originated.
Rather than create a straightforward critique of the many complicated ways in which the United States creates, exports and perpetuates its popular prominence, I chose a smaller scale of examination, finding what’s behind the great wizard’s curtain, to rediscover a land, no better and no worse, than any other.