Bonita Ely: Future Tense
This survey exhibition brings together two major works by Australian artist Bonita Ely, documenting darkly humorous dystopian futures wrought by environmental degradation and genetic engineering. We Live to be Surprised 1989–2019 is Ely’s latest iteration of ‘snabbits’ – half snail/half rabbits. Engineered as a food source for an over-populated planet by a futuristic agribusiness regime, these initially benign creatures have evolved into a feral monoculture, peeking out from the rubble of redundant technologies.
Shown in Australia for the first time since its debut at documenta14 in 2017, Plastikus Progressus 2017-19 parodies natural history dioramas. Set in 2054, it details the extraordinary taxonomies of creatures genetically engineered to consume plastic and, in the process, clean up our mess in the streets, oceans and rivers. The installation includes a new section examining the plastic pollution of the Brisbane River.