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




Contour Biennale/DAI Roaming Academy #12: ‘Planetary Records: Performing Justice Between Art and Law’

On March 11 & 12 in Mechelen, Belgium, I will be co-curating the public program of this event in collaboration with the biennale’s exhibition curator, Natasha Ginwala. Here is the Intro to the Opening Weekend:

As a system of rules constructed and enforced through institutions to regulate behaviour, negotiating legacy relations between particularity and general application, while being maintained through textual and oral interpretation, law is a space of great—if denied—aesthetic deliberation. Justice, quite differently, might be figured as an intractable entanglement of relations, intentions, affectabilities and adjustments between ever-moving, never-global, densely articulated bodies.

The law’s modernization in the colonial epoch consolidated limits for possible relations between justice and law, in its ontological set-up of male persons with base units and rights of property in contractual relation. Engendered and ethnocidally arranged through this fractal abstraction, juridical modernism foreclosed the order of land-based life and literacies. Its decrees of ‘right’ expansion continue to be built upon and innovated, while it secures and distinguishes only particular subjects, objects, and things, into investment-worthy relations.

When artists engage procedures of witnessing, testimonial production and the performativity of the trial, allegories of justice and modes of theatricality surface to haunt the past and present. These spectral zones must constantly be inspected and contested, just as ghosts must be evoked in order to deal with their unfinished legacy. Film and performance are vehicles among many that carve out alter-civilizational images and conceive legibility for eroding matters of injustice. Working from Mechelen, this co-curated programme invites artists, theorists and filmmakers to explicitly unpack the technicity and asymmetrical power of European legal infrastructure. Over two days the program examines artists’ role in challenging normative legal foundations while transforming our understanding of response-ability to double-meanings of law/lore, and tracing the inevitably formal dimensions of present day struggles.

How do ongoing planetary rebellions determined through existing value forms and categorizations, including the racial categorization of “no body / no thing” aim at legal rupture when placed before the courts, without falling into mimetic disfigurements within this very same insufficient order? What does it mean to take an eye or ear to scenes of struggle that reverberate well beyond as well as inside legal institutional terrains? How can artists’ own literacy in post-media conditions—very much at play inside the contemporary law court—make sense of possible realisms against and beyond juridical modernism’s reproduction of capitalism and its increasingly death-driven function?

The artists of Contour Biennale 8, Polyphonic Worlds: Justice as Medium, are connected through their attention to aesthetic contestations of the juridical beyond its present coding, their productive dealings with a planetary regime of impermissible evidence, and their ritualistic as well as counter-analytical engagements with an expanding, expropriated archive. The “record” here is often not data that can be positively marked up or collected in advance, but instead, what is lived while being judged to be outside of proper adjudication. To cultivate flexible imagination around these juridical-aesthetic impasses is to work through the persistent constraining of just realisms, where survival is constantly at stake. Here, justice itself becomes the medium through which we cannot avoid moving through, within and around.

For the full program, click here: Contour 8 Public Program

[Image of the artist Rana Hamadeh performing  ‘Can You Make a Pet of Him Like a Bird or Put Him on a Leash For Your Girls?’]

Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst, ADBK, Nürnberg

Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst lectures, Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg

Die Konsequenz(en) der Kunst, or The Consequence(s) of Art, is a series of four lectures and conversations curated by faculty members Prof. Kerstin Stakemeier and Prof. Lars Blunck and hosted at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg.

On three thematic panels artists, theoreticians, researchers and producers present their takes on the possible consequence(s) of art, followed by a joint discussion with the panel and audience.

I take part in the Demonstrations of Consequence(s) talk alongside cultural theorist Paul Feigelfeld (Lüneburg/Berlin) and artist Susanne Winterling (Offenbach/Berlin). on October 27th 2016 at 19:00.

See the full program here: The Consequences of Art program

The philosopher Alenka Zupančič recently proposed the concept of consequence as a measure of our actions. Instead of hoping for the social normalization of our acts, those should rather be directed by the consequence(s) they entail. With Zupančič we can also ask for the consequence(s) of art, its having consequences as much as its being consequential. And it is therefore that the notion of consequence seems geeignet, to foster a discussion in which the arts are not primarily understood from their products and distribution but rather as a composition of actions – of consequential actions, of actions with consequences.

Demonstrations of Consequence(s) – 27.10.16, 19:00
The consequence(s) of the political in its institutionalized and nationalized form are very openly perceivable where states are reigning over their citizens, or – today hardly less virulent – over their non-citizens. But how can the consequences of a political form be demonstrated which engages with life beyond or even consciously averted to such official administrations? Demonstrations of Consequence(s) brings together three panelists who, in their respective fields of work, have proposed and tried out moments of political consequence: in writing, in teaching, in theory, in art …they are testing out the specific capacities of their respective media for critical consequence(s).

Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg
Bingstraße 60
90480 Nürnberg

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

The Gas Imaginary, solo exhibition at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum

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.”

For further information: The Gas Imaginary, Gladstone