ClimActs is a non-profit, voluntary-run performance collective with the express purpose of holding powerful polluters and their enablers (such as politicians, media, financiers) responsible for the climate and biodiversity crisis to account. We believe that strategic, performative direct action can communicate important and sensitive information in non-threatening and yet enormously effective ways. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ as the saying goes. And given that we’ve been ‘performing’ since early 2013, we have a lot of pictures!
Each act has been carefully created to address an aspect of the climate debate. As the founding act – inspired by Allana Beltran’s haunting Weld Angel – the Climate Guardians represent selfless and fearless care and guardianship. The global media coverage the Climate Guardians received during the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations that led to The Paris Agreement, and prior to that during the G20 in Brisbane (November, 2014), appears to have inspired many other artist activists to embrace creative tactics while taking peaceful direct action.
ClimActs‘ satirical acts include the Coal Diggers (aka BUMS – Billionaires United Mining Services joint venture with the COALition), and their cyber-psycho-analysing Hackers Guild which epitomise the recklessness and insatiable greed of the fossil fuel industry and their political and financial backers. The Medieval Astronomers from the Flat Earth Institute of the Universitarse of Climatastropharse (est 1033AD) are wilfully, blindly ignorant serial deniers, and the players from the substrata-obsessed Frackers Guild are as ridiculously desperate and shortsighted as they are subhuman.
Regardless of the guises in which ClimActs appears, they play a role of peaceful social disruption; manifesting at major rallies, backdropping or intercepting political events, and bringing a theatrical and uplifting presence to public demonstrations, non-violent blockades and occupations against major polluters and their political and financial backers. All of our work demands ecological and equitable responses, as outlined in our climate and extinction emergency policies.
ClimActs has also performed as guest artists at Australian and international festivals including staging the opening performance art piece for the Lorne Sculpture Biennale 2014, two performances for the City of Ballarat’s Interventions (2014), four performances for the City of Ballarat’s Winter Laneway Festival (2015), at ArtCOP21(Paris, 2015) for which we received a Community Environment Award from Environment Victoria, at the Sydney Lord Mayor’s special Preview Opening of Janet Laurence’s H2O Water Bar (Paddington Reservoir, Sydney, 2016), the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival (UK, 2016), the Australian Performing Arts Centres Associations (APACA) Conference/PAX (2016), the Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA) in Ballarat (2018), and at the launch of Janet Laurence: After Nature at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (2019).
Our founding act, the Climate Guardians, was inspired by Allana Beltran’s haunting Weld Angel sculptural performance art action in Tasmania’s Weld Valley (2007); a stunning ten hour, ten metre high occupation action which woke the world up to the ongoing destruction of Australia’s natural forests.
In addition to curating and performing with us, Allana helped design and hand make the Climate Guardians’ first two sets of giant fabric wings for a commission to open the Lorne Sculpture Biennale in 2014. Based on Allana’s work, our friends Janice and Tracey hand made others to make up a set of seven. This is why each set of wings is a unique artwork in itself. Our choice to work with seven angels (at the most) reflects the number of the world’s continents.
For also helping to inspire our creative tactics, we gratefully acknowledge the brilliant work of the John Howard Ladies Auxiliary Fan Club (aka The JoHos, co-created by Zelda Grimshaw and ClimActs’ co-founder Liz Conor), The Yes Men, and the founders of Victoria’s Quit Coal Collective.
ClimActs acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land on which we regularly meet, and pays respects to the five tribes of the Kulin Nation. We pay respects to the Elders of the community – recognising their continuing connection to land, waters and culture – and extend our recognition to their descendants.