The IMA’s current exhibition Frontier Imaginaries: No Longer at Easefeatures two collaborative drawing series’ from my ongoing project The Gas Imaginary (2011-). On May 26, 2016 at 18:00, I will discuss this project in more detail in a free lecture at the IMA.
The first series—The Gas Imaginary (2014)—traces the difference between the modernist imagination of underground mining versus contemporary fracking regimes. The second series—Gladstone, Post-pastoral (2016)— has been commissioned for the Brisbane launch of Frontier Imaginaries. It gives a deep time and horizontal social image to the privatised drama of approvals surrounding the expansion of the port of Gladstone into a gas export hub for Queensland.
Despite traversing World Heritage Protected and UNESCO-listed terrain, the LNG developments and dredging were made possible through legal innovations and special economic zonings. Environmental Impact Assessments of the infrastructure itself have since been proven to have lacked ‘critical information’ on groundwater and well locations, while the process of approval has been subjected to a 2015 Federal Senate Inquiry.
Both series have been produced in collaboration with PALACE architects (Valle Medina and Ben Reynolds) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez.
Born in Gladstone and based in Berlin, Rachel O’Reilly is a poet, critic, independent curator and researcher. Her work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, media and psychoanalysis, aesthetic philosophy and political economy. From 2004-08 she was a curator of film, video and new media at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane. She has a background in comparative literature, and a Master (Cum Laude) in Media and Culture from the University of Amsterdam. Rachel is part of the How to Do Things With Theory program at the Dutch Art Institute. From 2013-14 she was a researcher in residence of the Jan van Eyck Academie, NL. Her critical writing has been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, and Postcolonial Studies and in collaborative criticism e-books by the V2 Institute for Unstable Media, Rotterdam.
The Institute of Modern Art and QUT Art Museum present the launch edition of roaming art platform Frontier Imaginaries across two exhibitions: No Longer at Ease (IMA) and The Life of Lines(QUT Art Museum), and takes place between 14. May and 9. July, 2016.
Frontier Imaginaries is founded by QUT Alumnus Vivian Ziherl through the IMA Curatorial Fellowship.I was commissioned to make a new piece, The Gas Imaginary, for IMA’s No Longer at Ease show in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico).
Across the IMA and QUT Art Museum, local and international artists address the role of the frontier within the global era through works ranging from an oyster shell installation to monumental history paintings and multi-channel video. Linking both galleries together will be a specially commissioned exhibition design by award-winning Brisbane architects Kevin O’Brien and Claire Humphreys. This design will include an ‘assembly point’ conceived to host reading groups, community meetings, workshops, and artist talks.
No Longer at Easeat the IMA presents new commissions by Alice Creischer (Germany); Gordon Hookey (Waanyi/Australia); Rachel O’Reilly (Australia; Germany), in collaboration with PA/LA/CE Architects Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds (Switzerland, United Kingdom), and artist Rodrigo Hernandez (Mexico); alongside works by Juan Davila (Chile/Australia); Demian DinéYahzi’ (Diné/United Sates of America), Bonita Ely (Australia); Tshibumba Kanda Matulu (Zaire/Congo); Ryan Presley (Marri Ngarr/Australia); and Wendelien van Oldenborgh (Netherlands). These are joined by a presentation of Virtual Meanjin by the Virtual Songlines project, and a curated selection of materials from the North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum.
The Life of Lines at QUT Art Museum includes new commissions byMegan Cope (Qandamooka/Australia); Ho Rui An (Singapore); and Tom Nicholson (Australia); as well as works by DAAR (Palestine); the Karrabing Film Collective (Karrabing/Australia); Elizabeth A. Povinelli (United States); and Sawangwongse Yawnghwe (Myanmar/Canada). Also on display is a selection of archival real estate posters from the collection of the John Oxley Library; the film The Changing Face of Australia produced by the Shell Film Unit Australia in 1970; and a selection of photography documenting the installation of the Shell Oil Refinery in Geelong circa 1953-1958 by legendary fashion photographer Helmut Newton.
Abstract: 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.
In this paper I will work through the main organizing indices and analytics of the project, which also structure the narrativity of the animated script (in-progress) that I will screen for the conference alongside installation images. This artistic research draws on the writer’s own genealogical connection to the industrial harbour town of Gladstone, Central Queensland, and to the eco- and labour politics of a city which has an ongoing and prominent, but critically under-documented role in the export of Queensland’s mineral wealth. To performatively ‘exhibit’ this story is to both concretize and allegorize certain ‘executive’ and psychically distanciated urban/e) investments in a very specific extraction practice, amidst boomtown ethoi and technocratically managed non-encounters with the environmental injustices that this corporate technology in-volves.