Drawing Rights (film) 2018

Drawing Rights, 2018 is the first conceptual film work by Australian-born, Berlin-based artist/writer Rachel O’Reilly. Collaborating with Pa.LaC.E (Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds) who produced the CG visuals, the film uses original graphics generated from 3d risograph drawings, corporate plans, and activist drone footage of fracking wells, to narrate the racism of Australian property laws that precede the ease of ‘unconventional extraction’ in the settler colony. The ‘Torrens Title’ property registration system invented for the colonisation of Australia was the first fully fungible capitalist model of landed property in the world. Invented by Robert Richard Torrens in 1858, a shipping officer with no legal training whatsoever, it based land on the model of autonomous, shipped property. It also removed the common law requirement to survey past histories of ownership at land sales. This meant it was impossible for Aboriginal people to contest the legality of colonisation. Today, the settler’s rights to private property are being toxified by fracking wells, while this most ‘efficient’ registry system has spread rapidly across the British Empire, and is now the dominant land management system globally, used by the IMF since the mid-2000s. The film draws on recent research on Torrens Title (Brenna Bhandar, Sarah Keenan and Renisa Mawani), white possession (Aileen Moreton-Robinson, Goenpul) and ongoing dialogues of The Gas Imaginary project with Gooreng Gooreng elders (esp. Juliri Ingra and Jackie Johnson), environmental and aboriginal activists and historians (esp. Roxley Foley, Gumbaynggirr).



RACHEL O’REILLY with PALACE (Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds) 

Drawing Rights 2018 

Editing: Sebastian Bodirsky 

Sound: Tyler Friedman

Advisory: Juliri Ingra (Gooreng Gooreng), Roxley Foley (Gumbaynggirr)

HD Video, colour, stereo, 17.09mins.

Commissioned by Frontier Imaginaries and the Van Abbemuseum.


Rachel O’Reilly is a Berlin-based artist, writer and curator with a Master in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam. She teaches the Seminar ‘At the Limits of the Writerly’ at the Dutch Art Institute’s ‘How to Do Things with Theory’ program. In residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie she developed The Gas Imaginary (2013 – ) using poetry, drawing, film and public lectures to address the install of unconventional gas (fracking) investments in settler colonial space. Rachel was a curator of film, video and new media at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, including the Fifth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art. Curated exhibitions include The Leisure Class (w/ Kathryn Weir), GoMA/Australian Cinematheque, Brisbane; Videoground (Bangkok Experimental Film Festival, Gene Siskel Film Studies Centre, USA), 2008; and (in collaboration) Some Profound Misunderstanding at the Heart of What Is, Hedah Contemporary Art Space, part of Moving Images of Speculation Inlab, Jan van Eyck, 2013-14. More recently she was the Curatorial Advisor to the exhibition and text series Ex-Embassy, Berlin incepted by Sonja Hornung, and co-curator of the Contour Biennale program Planetary Records: Performing Justice between Art and Law with Natasha Ginwala. Her artistic work and research has been presented at the David Roberts Art Foundation, the Museum of Yugoslav History, Tate Liverpool, Qalandiya International, the Van Abbemuseum, and E-flux NY, and is included in the touring/commissioning agency, Frontier Imaginaries.  Drawing Rights 2018 is her first experimental film.

PaLaCe – Benjamin Reynolds and Valle Medina

Palace is a collaborative practice that speculates and reacts to spaces of culture, space and economy. Benjamin Reynolds received a diploma with honours from the Architectural Association (AA) in London. He is currently a diploma tutor at the AA. Valle Medina is an architect and a recent graduate (summa cum laude) from the Applied Virtuality Theory Lab, Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ). They are currently visiting professors at ATTP in TU Vienna. http://palacepalace.com

Exhibition History (artistic work only) 

(Group show) A Special Arrow was Shot in the Neck, David Roberts Art Foundation, London, June 2014

(Group show) No Longer at Ease, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, May 2016

(Solo show) THE GAS IMAGINARY, Broken norms, unconventional extraction, drawings and other collaborative acts, June 2016

(Group show) Before and After Origins, Qalandiya International, Al Ma’Mal Foundation, Jerusalem October 2016

(Group show) Trademarkings, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NL, April 2018




Performance Lecture – On Neutrality. Between Non-Aligned Movement(s) and Neoliberal Curatorial Economies

With Jelena Vesić and Vladimir Jerić Vlidi, at Florida, Lothringer13 space, Munich on December 3, 2016.


‘We are small and we have politics’

Re-claiming neutrality as a politics of de-colonisation, independence, peace and non-alignment with the powerful world empires, the lecture performance On Neutrality draws upon the active positioning of non-aligned and ‚third world countries‘ gaining independence during the Cold War era. In contrast to the moral minimalist concept of neutrality as it is mobilized in liberal governmentalities, across art and politics, the project considers the rich variegated recent history of situated, politicised forms of neutrality concepts. This politicised history of neutrality concepts will be juxtaposed with the waves of depoliticising neutrality, including curatorial neutralisations of politics, which, aided and abetted by the humanitarian rhetorics of contemporary art, persist in attenuating institutional anxiety and agonistic possibilities of production in contexts of re-colonisation by multinational corporations.

On Neutrality was initially a part of Travelling Communiqué research and exhibition project (Museum of History of Yugoslavia, Belgrade, 2014) and became a Non Aligned Modernity book edition (Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbian/English). The lecture performance was presented at Savvy Contemporary Berlin as part of the exhibition From Bandung to Berlin: If all of the moons aligned.


The Gas Imaginary in The Jerusalem Show VIII ‘Before and After Origins’

For the eighth edition of The Jerusalem Show, curated by Vivian Ziherl, Al Ma’mal Foundation presents ‘Before and After Origins’ as part of Qalandiya International 2016 – This Sea Is Mine.

See the full program: Before and After Origins Program

My series on unconventional gas extraction, The Gas Imaginary, is presented in collaboration with Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds from PA/LA/CE Architects and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.

The Gas Imaginary is an artistic research project incorporating poetry, photomedia
documentation, archi-poetic diagrams and essayistic labours exploring the aesthetic languages, mechanical ideology, speculative economics, and technocultural patterning surrounding the large-scale install of ‘unconventional’ gas extraction. Through this technology and industry, indebted state and national governments cause disenfranchised rural but increasingly urban populations to speculate on their own health and futures: through compensatory leasing arrangements, temporary industry employment and privatized infrastructure delivery and sponsorship aimed at the social licensing of investment in environmental injustice and dispossessions from common bioheritage.

I will also participate in a panel discussion, ‘Poetics and Power, In Translation’ on Wednesday 19 October at 18:00 at Garage Coffee Shop & BAR, Al Rajaa Street, Ramallah, Palestine.

This discussion event features poetry reading, a lecture and a public editing workshop that seeks to grasp the power of language in the governance of land, property and peoples. The event departs from the many contributions to Jerusalem Show VIII that prominently feature language. These include the prison writings of Syrian/Golan poet Yasser Khanger, drawings by Rachel O’Reilly that diagram the social economies of mineral extraction politics in Australia, and a legal contract devised by Ramallah-based artist Yazan Khalili. The event will take place in Arabic and English, with translation foregrounded as a crucial issue in itself, and is in collaboration with the Educational Bookshop (Jerusalem) and Garage Cafe.

For more information: Poetics and Power – In Translation

Brittle Land, an artist book on Alexandra Navratil.

Alexandra Navratil’s Brittle Land artist book

I edited, and contributed a poem to Alexandra Navratil’s artist book Brittle Land, launched at Dan Gunn gallery, Berlin in June 2016.

This book is comprised of stills from Alexandra Navratil’s works ‘Silbersee’ (2015) and ‘Resurrections’ (2014), along with essays by Paul Feigelfeld and Keston Sutherland, plus a poem by editor Rachel O’Reilly.

Taking the former Agfa-ORWO photographic film factory in Wolfen, Germany, as a point of departure, it divulges the interdependent histories of photographic emulsion, gelatin, labour, exploitation, exhaustion, chemical contamination, and slow violence. For Navratil, film reflects the ongoing technological development from the late 19th century until now, a product inextricably linked to the plastics industry that developed simultaneously with it, and to today’s widespread digitisation.

Design by Roger Willems and published by Roma Publications and Dan Gunn, Berlin.

For further information on the publication: Brittle Land
For further information on the artist: Alexandra Navratil

Publisher: Roma Publications
ISBN: 9789491843594
Idea Books Order Code: 16200

The Arts of Logistics conference

The Arts of Logistics conference, Queen Mary University of London

I will be a co-presenter at The Arts of Logistics conference at the Queen Mary University of London. The conference takes place on June 3 & 4, 2016, with keynotes from Deborah Cowen & Alberto Toscano.

I co-present the panel “Art and Logistical Disruption” with Danny Butt from the Research Unit in Public Cultures, University of Melbourne, from 2pm – 3.30pm on the second day of the conference, June 4, and our guests are Leah Lovett and Michael Wilson.

“The Arts of Logistics” brings together scholars, activists, and artists from across the humanities and social sciences to interrogate how social movements and the arts respond to a world remade by logistics. Long an important topic for economists, management theorists, and sociologists, logistics is only recently emerging as an object of substantive study by artists and researchers in the humanities. Thus, this conference seeks to further define scholarly, political, and artistic conversations on the nexus of political economy, anti-capitalist struggle, and art.

Art and Logistical Disruption – Indentured aesthetic economy on the professional frontier

Australia can be seen as a settler colonial nation that has effectively neoliberalised its cultural infrastructure over the last three decades, constructing a speculative futurity for an institutionally unbound professionalism that subtracts a historical ‘labour’ consciousness from dominant forms of production. The effect of this “turn” in the visual arts of the settler colony, partially due to its coincidence with a relatively healthy public arts funding until very recently, is a transition that brings institutionalised “professional” art work and workers into line with a global paradigm of deskilling and proletarianisation.

In this space, the coincidence of curatorial and artistic professionalism with the neoliberal State form risks working away at a frontier of a frontier – a frontier of labour, value and place – whereby the reimposition of speculative limits for capital, or the demand for foundation, results in what Angela Mitropolous describes as “calls for genealogical order” that could be observed both in calls for and against the widely debated boycott of the 2014 Sydney Biennale.

As nominally “public” institutional art of the biennial becomes increasingly bound up in contractual play in the post-welfare settler colonial state, fine art’s residual discourses of modernist autonomy appear not simply paradoxical, but indicative of a “machinery of fealty” that circulates the performative defense of aesthetic autonomy precisely to suppress the material-symbolic dynamics of its contractual base. Exploring Mitropolous’ elaboration of the contractual and the subject-form, and responding to recent re-examinations of aesthetic and political autonomy by UK and European theorists and historians in the wake of major arts cuts and populist takeovers of re-nationalized funding programs of export-oriented utility, this paper pays special attention to the spatial and contractual fix of neoliberal disposition in the ‘contemporary’ to ask questions about affective composure, forms of negation, divestment and reinvestment as alternate forms of professional response-ability.

More information on the conference here: Arts of Logistics conference