In a continuum from early voyages of "discovery," Pacific landscapes continue to be created through the visual representations and geographical imaginings that inform foreign desires. Just as early exploration narratives and paintings fashioned the Pacific as an exotic Eden peopled with alluring women, contemporary media manufactures Pacific landscapes as sites of desire. Beginning with the filming of the Survivor reality television series, this article explores how the visual representations and narrative tropes attached to Efate Island in Vanuatu were instrumental in the commodification of customary land as real estate, subsequently sold to expatriates for tourism resorts and residential housing. Television, tourism, and real estate images are not benign. In these images the landscape is rendered terra nullius—absent of local inhabitants and ripe for possession—enabling the neocolonial possession of Pacific landscapes by foreigners and the dispossession of local Indigenous inhabitants.


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pp. 413-435
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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