Karrabing Film Collective. Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams. 2016. Courtesy of the Karrabing Film Collective.
The first solo museum exhibition in the United States of the Karrabing Film Collective, an indigenous media group based in Australia’s Northern Territories that uses filmmaking and installation as a form of grassroots resistance and self-organization. The exhibition will feature the collective’s entire filmic output to date, which comprises nine short single and multi-channel films that will run concurrently, along with sculptural works. The collective includes approximately 30 members—predominantly living in the Belyuen community—who together create films using an “improvisational realism” that opens a space beyond binaries of the fictional and the documentary, the past and the present. Meaning “low tide” in the Emmiyengal language, karrabing refers to a form of collectivity outside of government imposed strictures of clanship or land ownership. Shot on handheld cameras and phones, most of Karrabing’s films dramatize and satirize the daily scenarios and obstacles that collective members face in their various interactions with corporate and state entities. Composing webs of non-linear narratives that touch on cultural memory, place, and ancestry by freely jumping in time and place, Karrabing exposes and intervenes into the longstanding facets of colonial violence that impact members directly, such as environmental devastation, land restrictions, and economic exploitation.