Acts

Defying the State of Emergency ban on protests in Paris during COP21 (2015), image courtesy of Maggie Miles

ClimActs was created as a non-profit, voluntary-run performance collective with the express purpose of holding powerful polluters and their enablers (such as politicians, media, financiers) 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!

Coal Digger CEO2 Coral Bleach welcomes then Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg at the LNP Kooyong 200 Club’s fundraising breakfast, September 2017

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.

Inspired by the Liberal Party’s negotiations with Cambridge Analytica, Coal Diggers launched their own the Hackers Guild, at Melbourne’s Liberal Party HQ, April 2017

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.

The Coal Diggers host a Laborals #VoteCoal Party on the steps of Parliament early on the Friday before Victorian State election, November 2014

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.

Flat Earth Institute appear as expert witnesses at the Abbott government’s Renewable Energy Inquisition, February 2014

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).

#ArtNotEcocide, read our blog

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.

For helping to inspire ClimActs’ creative tactics, we gratefully acknowledge the brilliant work of Allana Beltran, the John Howard Ladies Auxiliary Fan Club (aka The JoHos, co-created by Liz Conor and Zelda Grimshaw), The Yes Men, and the founders of Victoria’s Quit Coal Collective.

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