Soda_Jerk: 'It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the apocalyptic conservatism and bigotry that's fuelling politics'
- Arusa Qureshi
- 28 February 2019
Siblings Dominique and Dan Angeloro discuss bringing their controversial political revenge fable, TERROR NULLIUS, to the Glasgow Short Film Festival
Since 2002, Australian art collective Soda_Jerk have been sampling, splicing and remixing existing films, with the intention of creating something wholly unique in the process. From well-known scenes to decades-old characters, siblings Dominique and Dan Angeloro take the familiar and amalgamate new ideas to produce unconventional and often politically charged storylines. TERROR NULLIUS, their hour-long experimental film from 2016, was steeped in controversy upon its release when key funders chose to distance themselves from it, citing its 'un-Australian' content. Now based in New York and having taken the film to festivals around the world, the duo are set to bring TERROR NULLIUS to the Glasgow Short Film Festival, where they'll also be presenting an installation of four of their Astro Black Afrofuturist video cycle. We caught up with Dominique and Dan to talk about the film, their creative practice and their work within the context of our current political climate.
How did Soda_Jerk come together and what were your original creative goals in terms of image making and sampling?
We were first switched onto sampling through the experimental hip hop and queer performance scenes that we were part of in the late 90s. It wasn't just that audio sampling was a big part of the way that artists were working, but also that these scenes were intertwined with a pervasive DIY, punk and squat culture. So the idea of seizing privatised resources and politically appropriating them was running parallel to the ways that people were engaging with technology, and even real estate. We understood sampling as part of a broader resistance to cultural privatisation.
You describe TERROR NULLIUS as part political satire, eco-horror and road movie. How influenced are you by history and current politics?
For anyone that cares about social justice and the environment, these can feel like incredibly grim times. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by the apocalyptic conservatism and bigotry that's fueling politics in Australia and abroad. TERROR NULLIUS was our way of dealing with that, of upending our feelings of despair and channeling them into an unapologetic rage and defiance.
Had the idea for the film been brewing for a while?
We'd been developing the idea of an ambitious political revenge film since 2006 when we made a short Australian remix called Picnic at Wolf Creek. But by 2016 we were feeling a growing sense of urgency to respond to the increasingly sinister conservative turn in Australian politics. It's debilitating to encounter these obscene national narratives and feel powerless to effect change. So we wanted to create a vigilante fable of social justice that reversed these dynamics of power and oppression.