This is how Soda_Jerk describe their new film TERROR NULLIUS: “A 360-degree camera pan from Wake in Fright arrives into the dusty horizon of the 1971 film Walkabout, where the children are listening on the radio to news of Whitlam’s 1975 dismissal. The refugees from the movie Lucky Miles ominously wash ashore a beach from Romper Stomper.”

The two-person art collective position TERROR NULLIUS as an unwieldy road movie, using acts of sampling and appropriation to tour through, while also challenging, white Australian cinema and history.

Showing at ACMI, TERROR NULLIUS creates a new narrative space that blends cinematic fiction and historical fact. In essence, Soda_Jerk look critically at the narratives we create.

“As a nation the films we make and stories we tell are never innocent, they are always implicated in certain relations of power and understandings of history,” explain the artists.

“For us, the potential of sampling is that it provides an opportunity to intercept and reconfigure the way that these kinds of cultural mythologies are formulated within the cinematic archive.”

These samples include the apocalyptic desert camps of Mad Max 2, detention centre debates, the Babadook house and Mel Gibson’s expletive-laden telephone rant to his ex-partner. While the humour can be imagined, the duo uses appropriation to question the “white, hyper-masculine, heteronormative ‘heroes’ of Australian cinema and the casual and violent misogyny they have embodied both on and beyond the screen.”

This demand for accountability also addresses Australia’s current and historical racism and nationalism. Soda_Jerk summarises the film like this: “TERROR NULLIUS is a provocation for these politically conservative times. We intend for it to be both dark and hopeful, and funny and necessary.”

Preview Words by Tiarney Miekus