Artist and activist Zanny Begg is the recipient of the inaugural $70,000 Artbank + ACMI Commission for her proposed video installation The Beehive about the murder of Sydney activist Juanita Nielsen.
“I am so excited to have been awarded this incredible opportunity from ACMI and Artbank. I hope to work with the legacy of Juanita Nielsen to explore the fate of our inner-city neighbourhoods. The Beehive was chosen as a title to reference Juanita’s distinctive hairdo, but also a poetic disjunction embedded within the ways we think about the city; it is both an industrious, utilitarian, hierarchical hub and a dark sweet cooperative womb,” said Zanny Begg.
Based on the unsolved murder of famous Sydney anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen in 1975, The Beehive examines themes of gentrification, corruption, sex-work, feminism and non-conformist lifestyles. Created using an algorithm, the film will be randomly compiled from a reservoir of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed sequences exploring the implications of this infamous cold case and how they can applied today. Using the tropes of true crime, the work will morph and evolve with each viewing, offering audiences different glimpses and interpretations of the crime.
ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick said: “Zanny Begg is a thoughtful voice the forefront of a generation of filmmakers examining radical, queer and unruly bodies. Her proposed work The Beehive is not only topical but a sorely needed examination of the consequences of gentrification and the role cities play in our lives. We’re thrilled, together with Artbank, to award Begg the Artbank + ACMI Commission, providing her with the support to pursue and extend her practice. Begg’s probing cinematic artworks defy categorisation, and it’s exactly these types of works that the Artbank + ACMI Commission was designed for.”
“Zanny is at the vanguard of artists working at the intersection of visual arts and filmmaking in Australia and her outstanding application, The Beehive, shows just why she continues to dominate in this arena. Examining themes of gentrification, corruption and forensic architecture, The Beehive will be shot in Kings Cross and prove a timely examination of urban politics past and present. Artbank, together with ACMI, is proud to announce Zanny as the first recipient of the Artbank + ACMI Commission, an initiative to support Australian creatives, and we look forward to connecting the outcomes of this project to the broader public through our art leasing program,” said Director of Artbank, Tony Stephens.
Established in partnership with Artbank, the federal government’s flagship support program for Australian contemporary artists, the Artbank + ACMI Commission is a three year commissioning program that will enable Australian artists and filmmakers to create new works that are conceived at the intersection of art and cinema.
This partnership further expands ACMI's vibrant commissioning program, which through a series of vital collaborations – with Artbank, Ian Potter Foundation, City of Melbourne and the Mordant Family – will directly fund Australian artists with $650,000 worth of financial support to create new work over the next three years and then exhibit it to thousands of people at ACMI and beyond.
The Beehive will be exhibited at ACMI in 2018. For more information, visit acmi.net.au/commissions