The Gas Imaginary, in Frontier Imaginaries, The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (AU)

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 Ease at 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 by Megan 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.

Further information on the exhibitions: Frontier Imaginaries

Gas Imaginary at Encountering Australia: European Australian Studies Conference, Prato 2014

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.

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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.

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