Bev Smiles plays the Meryl Streep character in the Kaufman and Jonze film Adaptation. Bev recently won her case against the NSW Police and the Wilpinjong Coal Mine that tested the new state anti-protest legislation. Unlike Streep, Bev is not led from a detached existential crisis, but from her first hand experience of fracking, logging, mining and damming as business-as-usual in our national parks. Bev as activist-on-the-run hides out in Cage’s role in the national park from the orchid thief and authorities, retracing the survival history of Australian bush heroes. Gallery installation elements include manuka plant seedlings from a 600km botanist-directed journey that produces mainland Australia’s best Manuka honey. Articulate project space, Sydney 2018
A multi-screen train-carriage installation and performance that mashes up Fahrenheit 451 with the Irish Potato Genocide, to add an economic crisis to the social and political vacuum Bradbury created. Coalmining-impacted community members performed as books and excerpts from Truffaut’s filmic version were projected through windows and doors. Cementa_15, contemporary arts festival, Kandos – 2015. Articles in Minnesota Press publication ‘An Ecotopian Lexicon’ 2019, and journals Southerly and Artlink 2016.
3. The hitchhiker’s guide to the Symbiocene
This work explores Glenn Albrecht’s unpublished psychoterratic typology that covers responses to global warming and development, and provides a new conceptual foundation for thinking about relationships. Screening: New York Film Anthologies and the Experimental Film, Audio & Performance Festival Florianópolis Brazil – 2017, and Studio Ra Rome and Articulate project space Sydney – 2016.
A funerary performance with members of the Pacific Island Mount Druitt Action Network held on the Indigenous owned Tribal Warrior. Interior housed screens showed member interviews about the tide risings intercut with animation sequences of the boat performance’s melting ice forms. Farm Cove, Sydney. Funded by the City of Sydney. Screenings: ANU Fine Art Gallery Canberra (Highly Commended Phoenix Spiritual Prize), Galleria Metropolitana Santiago Chile, Loose Projects Sydney and Shoreditch Gallery, London – 2006.
5. Burnt Stars
Focussing on the life and legacy of Hannah Arendt, this work shows the importance she placed on the role of ethics, shared action and remembrance as part of community citizenship. Hamburg activist Annalena Kirchler counters the other positions presented in Joseph Beuys’ fictional Tartar rescue, which is extended to include a crash-landing onto Martin Heidegger’s hut. Kirchler also plays Arendt, mapping her personal experiences in the Gurs prison camp against her theorisation on the importance of poetic thinking for revolutionary action and how remembrance is lost through the dead tradition (German DAAD scholarship). Statt Berlin 2013, Articulate Project Space, Sydney 2015.
SCREEN 1. Joseph Beuys crash lands on Heidegger’s hut to set the story in motion. He describes his journey of redemption. (Projected onto hessian on floor)
SCREEN 2. Hannah Arendt’s project on remembrance is described through her writing on how poetic thinking can provide the tools for revolutionary thinking and how the dead tradition is a form of forgetfulness. (Projected onto monitor under stairs)
SCREEN 3. On the outside wall of Heidegger’s hut is a copy of Arendt’s Heidegger the fox, which describes the trap Heidegger set for others that resulted in his own entrapment. Inside the hut Heidegger indulges in his linguistic tricks to try to explain away his Nazism in his essay The Question Concerning Technology . (Projected on back wall)
SCREEN 4. On the ferris wheel Hamburg resident Annalena Kirchler finds her will to act when she confronts Harry Lime from the Third Man / Martin Shrekli (American entrepreneur and pharmaceutical executive whose price-gouging activities in 2015 update Lime’s behaviour of selling diluted penicillin to children dying from meningitis). She creates an anti-gentrification project to stimulate interest in the threatened neighbouring Schiller-Oper. (Projected onto felt column wall on platform)
6. Placing stones as they are found This work explores mining and globalism from the contradictory careful singular action of attempting to “undo” the trajectory of a few small decorative Chinese stones by following advice from the Chinese people encountered. Funded by the Australia-China Council residency program, and supported by NAVA and the NSW MInistry for the Arts 2005. Screenings: Loose Projects Sydney – 2006