18 September 2020–19 December 202018 Sep 2020–19 Dec 2020
Premiering in Australia at the IMA is INFRACTIONS, a feature length video installation in dialogue with frontline Indigenous cultural workers’ struggles against threats to more than 50% of the Northern Territory from shale gas fracking. As Australia becomes the leading exporter of planet-warming fossil fuels globally, and Asia and the EU plan to increase fracked gas imports, pressure on this region has intensified, threatening hard-won Aboriginal land rights and homelands.
Plans to ‘Develop the North’ of Australia have been resurrected at different moments since the nineteenth century, but abandoned just as quickly for being built on fantasies that related little to the actual behaviour of monsoonal-desert water systems. With the lifting of a state moratorium in 2018, British, US, and homegrown mining companies seek to roll out toxic drilling rigs over vast underground flows, which are key connecting sites of culture, law and food for First Nations.
Refuting capitalist and colonial models of land and water in the driest continent on earth, INFRACTIONS features musician/community leader Dimakarri ‘Ray’ Dixon (Mudburra); two-time Telstra Award finalist Jack Green, also winner of the the 2015 Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award (Garawa, Gudanji); musician/community leader Gadrian Hoosan (Garrwa, Yanyuwa); ranger Robert O’Keefe (Wambaya), educators Juliri Ingra and Neola Savage (Gooreng Gooreng); Ntaria community worker and law student Que Kenny (Western Arrarnta); musician Cassie Williams (Western Arrarnta); the Sandridge Band from Borroloola; and Professor Irene Watson (Tanganekald, Meintangk Bunganditj) contributor to the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 1990-1994.
As the camera connects incommensurable legal geographies, extractive industry and labour history to ongoing Indigenous-led resistance and movement, defenders of culture and water from Ntaria (Hermannsburg), Marlinja (Newcastle Waters), Borroloola in Gulf Country, and Yallarm (Gladstone, Queensland) warn of stories of manufactured consent, and Indigenous legal theorist Irene Watson explains the limits of the Western international legal system for planetary survival and justice.
Panel Discussion: Art in an Age of Gas Destruction
Thursday 15 October, 6.30–8pm
Institute of Modern Art
This panel discussion takes off from the work of INFRACTIONS, specifically its use of the moving image to address the colonial infrastructure and cultural dimension of fossil gas expansions. The conversation looks to discuss the relationship between ‘the situation’ of gas-fired futures, matters of cultural responsibility, survival, and refusal. Join Vernon Ah Kee, Phillip Marrii Winzer, and Que Kenny with INFRACTIONS director Rachel O’Reilly to discuss the work of doing things otherwise. Hosted by Warraba Weatherall.
Panel Discussion: Arts of the Frontline [ONLINE]
INFRACTIONS features First Nations campaigners fighting threats to 51% of the Northern Territory from shale gas fracking, where 90% of the population relies on groundwater. Since the unconventional gas industry’s birth in Queensland, Australia is now the leading exporter of this fossil fuel globally, while since the filming of INFRACTIONS the Federal Government has since doubled down on planet-warming gas projects as the solution to pandemic ‘recovery’. This panel updates on the current state of play for gas frontiers in the contemporary moment.
Dan Robins has been an organizer against unconventional gas across Australia for more than a decade, currently working with the NT Protect Country Alliance. Before that Robins was the Sydney Coordinator with Lock The Gate Alliance working on the Our Land Our Water Our Future Campaign to stop invasive coal and gas projects across NSW. Robins has also assisted with anti fracking campaigns in QLD’s Scenic Rim area and in WA. In 2015 Robins presented at the International Anti Fracking Conference in Paris during the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference.
Neola Savage and Juliri Ingra and their 5 siblings are descendants of Dot and Hector Johnson who were active in the struggle for rights for Aboriginal and South Sea Islander peoples rights in Gladstone. The Johnsons were part of the first generation of Aboriginal teachers’ aids in Central Queensland, training in Melbourne at Deakin and Brisbane in mid-life. Juliri Ingra is an artist (die work and fibres) while Neola Savage continues Indigenous education and liaison work in Woorabinda.
INFRACTIONS is the final work of The Gas Imaginary (2013–2019), a project by Gladstone-born artist, writer and curator Rachel O’Reilly that has used poetry, drawing, moving images and lecture formats to explain the legal, aesthetic and technical conceits of ‘unconventional’ gas, in ongoing dialogue with Gooreng Gooreng elders and women environmental activists. Commissioned by KW Berlin Production Series, dedicated to artists’ moving image (supported by the Julia Stoschek Collection and OUTSET Germany_Switzerland), INFRACTIONS premiered at Babylon Kino Berlin and ICA London (discursive partner), featuring public programs with Que Kenny (Western Arrarnta), and returns to Australia in 2020-21.
Director/Research/Camera/Sound: Rachel O’Reilly
Producer: Mason Leaver-Yap
Editor/Visual Research: Sebastian Bodirsky
Camera: Tibor Hegedis, Colleen Raven (Nharla Photography)
Sound mastering: Jochen Jezussek
Map visuals: Valle Medina, Benjamin Reynolds (Pa.LaC.E)
Subtitles: Katharina Habibi
Additional support: Australia Council for the Arts
INFRACTIONS public programs are supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland
Thanks: ‘Stories from the Frontline: Artists on Climate and Cultural Change’, Katherine Regional Arts Centre 2018, Watch This Space (Mparntwe), Gastivists (Berlin), Prof. Irene Watson, Lindsay and Richard Johnson, Lauren Mellor, Alex Read, Billee McGinley, Sarah Keenan, Diana McArty, Kirsty Howey, David Nixon, Caro McDonald, Jo Holden/Evans, Lisa Stefanoff, Lloyd Beck, Marion Caris, Alex Kelly, Carmen Saledo, Bong Ramilo, Cheryl Watson, Mimi Catterns, Jo Holden, Beth Sometimes, Phil and Rick, Sonja Hornung, Manuela Kolke, Lindy Nolan, Carol Matthews, Karen Auty, Joe Collins, Zowie Douglas Kinghorn, Sumu Sivanesan, Nathan Gray, Jacklyn O’Reilly, Lawrence O’Reilly, Jonathan Oxlade, Anike Joyce Sadiq, Katja George, Regina Sarreiter, the Phd roundtable of the Centre for Research Architecture Goldsmiths, the Extracted Bodies | Corporeal Grounds group of women artists in Berlin.
- Watch This Space
Alice Springs05 Nov–07 Nov 2020Darwin Community Arts
Darwin18 Nov–22 Nov 2020UNSW Galleries
Sydney16 Jan–17 Apr 202113 Feb–10 Apr 202115 Mar–23 Mar 2021
Cultural Work Across Fracking Frontlines
Panel Discussion: Art in an Age of Gas Destruction
Panel Discussion: Arts of the Frontline