"You've got to come back to the real world, the real world how it is lived. Water gives life to every plant and animal, and us. Not money. When you hold money in your hand you're holding a dead environment and a dead land[.]"
– Gadrian Hoosan (Garrwa, Yanyuwa)
In the wake of the Greenslide of the federal election, Documentary Meets returns this month with a timely screening of INFRACTIONS (2019), a film directed by settler artist Rachel O’Reilly in dialogue with Indigenous activists and cultural workers on the frontline of the campaign against the government-sponsored fracking initiatives that are threatening more than 51% of the Northern Territory. What will it now take to arrest this planned carbon bomb and abort the controversial ‘gas-led recovery’?
Initially presented as a feature-length video installation, INFRACTIONS connects this Indigenous-led resistance to mining companies in the NT’s Beetaloo Basin, to US industry origin stories, before returning to Gladstone, where onshore gas fracking was first approved for export in Australia on unceded Gooreng Gooreng country (also O'Reilly's hometown). The final work of O’Reilly’s creative research project The Gas Imaginary (2013-21), the documentary uses an experimental splitscreen form to illustrate how Australia, a frontrunner in the export of fossil fuels, pressures regional communities in reckless pursuit of economic interests, undermines Aboriginal land rights, the cultural significance of key sites, and the ecological well-being of important food bowls and ancient waterways.
INFRACTIONS features musician/community leader Dimakarri ‘Ray’ Dixon (Mudburra); two-time Telstra Award finalist Jack Green, also winner of the the 2015 Peter Rawlinson Conservation Award (Garawa, Gudanji); musician/community leader Gadrian Hoosan (Garrwa, Yanyuwa); ranger Robert O’Keefe (Wambaya), educators Juliri Ingra and Neola Savage (Gooreng Gooreng); Ntaria community worker and law student Que Kenny (Western Arrarnta); musician Cassie Williams (Western Arrarnta); the Sandridge Band from Borroloola; and Professor Irene Watson (Tanganekald, Meintangk Bunganditj) contributor to the draft UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 1990-1994.