I will exhibit my collaborative exhibition The Gas Imaginary at GRAGM from July 2 – August 13, 2016 with an official launch on June 25, 2016 at 6pm.
This short video discusses the research and concepting behind this longer duree artistic work on unconventional gas extraction. The specific work in this showing, ‘THE GAS IMAGINARY, Broken norms, unconventional extraction, drawings and other collaborative acts’ 2016 was produced in collaboration with PALACE Architects (Valle Medina and Benjamin Reynolds) and artist Rodrigo Hernandez. Film material produced by Louise O’Reilly.
“Despite traversing World Heritage Protected and UNESCO-listed terrain, the LNG developments and dredging of the Gladstone Harbour 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.
The artist would especially like to thank and pay respects to Gooreng Gooreng Elders Jackie and Lindsay Johnson and Juliri Ingra for their time, generosity and commitment to culture, and Cheryl Watson of the Gladstone Conservation Council during the research phase.”
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.
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.