Monday, September 1, 2008

Fire of the Island

theweathergroup_U presents a final screening/event on the last day of the Biennale.

Isabell Coe at Cockatoo Island, 2000

"Fire of the Island" follows Isabell Coe, Robert Corowa and co. as they establish the Sacred Fire and move the Aboriginal Tent Embassy to Cockatoo Island after the Sydney Olympics, 2000.

Robert Corowa and film maker G K Young will present the documentary. Percussionist extraordinaire, Louis Burdett will perform a live score.

Sunday, September 7, 2008
Cockatoo Island, Sydney

Ferry timetable:


Contaminated waste in Sydney Harbour – high levels of toxic pollution!

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy has a mandate, as custodians of the land and the people, to care for Cockatoo Island.

Over a century of industrial and maritime activity has seriously contaminated the Island. It contains eight known underground storage tanks, two cyanide waste tanks and numerous pits and sumps. Ground water on the Island has cadmium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc.

The Aboriginal Tent Embassy went there in November 2000 to heal the Island.

A film by G.K. Young

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

FW: 'Yothu Yindi' by Barrupu Yunapingu

-original message-
Subject: 'Yothu Yindi' by Barrupu Yunapingu
Date: 25/08/2008 9:37 PM

FW: 'Madarrpa' Djambawa Marawili

-original message-
Subject: 'Madarrpa' Djambawa Marawili
Date: 25/08/2008 9:49 PM

'Mawindi' by Galarrawuy Yunupingu

-original message-
Subject: 'Mawindi' by Galarrawuy Yunupingu
Date: 25/08/2008 9:53 PM

Monday, August 25, 2008

Australia's Atomic Confessions

Lambs on the alter of British science

Australian Atomic Confessions is a story about the people of the
land and the servicemen who served their country.
50 years after 12 atomic bomb tests, our nuclear history continues�

Australian Atomic Confessions
Uranium mines, nuclear reactors and a nuclear waste dump�
How far does it go?

Australian Atomic Confessions, a 50 min. documentary

Kathy Aigner & G.K. Young Music by Bart Willoughby, Frank Yamma and Louis Burdett

Live Mobile Stream...

'Mawindi' by Galarrawuy Yunupingu

'Madarrpa' Djambawa Marawili

'Yothu Yindi' by Barrupu Yunapingu

'Mokuy' by Napuwarri Marawili.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blue Mud Bay Ceremony

The High Court has confirmed one of the most significant cases under the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, giving traditional owners exclusive rights over tidal waters along Aboriginal land.

The decision on the rights at Blue Mud Bay means traditional owners will be able to determine when and where commercial and recreational fishing is carried out along 80 per cent of the Territory's coastline, as well as in tidal rivers.

The Crocodile


Gulkula is where the ancestor Ganbulabula brought the yidaki
(didjeridu) into being among the Gumatj people. The festival is
designed to encourage the practice, preservation and maintenance of
traditional dance (bunggul), song (manikay), art and ceremony on
Yolngu lands in Northeast Arnhem Land.

FW: Gunbalanya kids rehearse for stone country festival

-original message-
Subject: Gunbalanya kids rehearse for stone country festival
Date: 08/23/2008 10:16 AM

Gunbalanya kids rehearse for stone country festival

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dave in Ramo Video

night birds again

working on digital media at garma festival

Jeffrey Lee talks at Koongarra, May 2008

Jeffrey Lee is the last of the Djok clan and the senior custodian of the Koongarra uranium deposit, talks about mining inside Kakadu National Park, NT.

The Black GST

by undergrowth

The Black GST This short documentary about contemporary and historical indigenous issues is narrated by two of the leaders of the Black GST movement, Robbie and Marg Thorpe. It explores the three main issues of unfinished business leftover from Australia's reconciliation movement. G- Genocide S - Sovereignty T- Treaty

For more information visit the websites:
Black GST
Stolenwealth Games


by heidi douglas

Australia 2000, Year of Reconciliation: five hundred thousand people walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to support reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. In Central Australia Indigenous elder Kevin Buzzacott begins a 3060 kilometre walk carrying a sacred fire from Lake Eyre to Sydney. He leaves behind the original sacred fire at the Arabunna Going Home Peace Camp on the shores of Lake Eyre. Without his protection however those left to tend to the fire are soon the target of attempts by WMC Uranium mine to evict the camp. Walking the land he passes through Adnyamathanha country similarly threatened by mining interest. This is a journey into active reconciliation and genocide of people deeply connected to the protection of the land.


Oceania Indymedia News Real
On January 2002, while the Aboriginial Tent Embassy celebrated its 30th anniverary, Aboriginal Elders led an action to reclaim the sacred totems of the Kangaroo and Emu from the Australian Coat of Arms. Ceremonies were then held to celebrate its return to Aboriginal peoples, and the coat of arms placed on public display in front of the ceremonial fire.


by Tara Jones

Documentary about the radioactive waste dump proposed for the Northern Territory, Australia. Traditional Owners and community members who live at the proposed sites explain their concerns. Dr Helen Caldicott explains the reality of living near a nuclear waste dump. An inspiring story of indigenous insight and resistance.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Yirrkala School Graduation

Bunggul Performance

en route 2 ramo

FW: leaving maningrida

-original message-
Subject: leaving maningrida
Date: 08/18/2008 9:54 PM

Email test from phone.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Commonwealth Nuclear waste facility - Mitch, Barbara Shaw and Diane Stokes talk.

Last month the Federal Minister for Energy and Resources, Martin Ferguson announced that he would fast track the decision to build a Commonwealth nuclear waste facility in the outback Northern Territory.

Three of the proposed sites, Hart’s Range, Mount Everard, and Fisher’s Ridge are located at defense base sites. The fourth, Muckaty Station was nominated by the Northern Land Council. The station is managed by a land trust comprised of a group of traditional owners. One of this group, the Ngapa family, have nominally agreed to the facility, but many others have not.

Mitch (Harts Range), Barbara Shaw (Alice Springs) and Diane Stokes(Muckaty Station) visited theweathergroup_U site on Cockatoo Island, 4 July 2008. They discussed their concerns about the dump, uranium mining and its effects on their traditional countries. You can listen to them speak here.

Many thanks to Nat Wasley and Paddy Gibson.

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Nowhere here in the middle" – Tara Jones, 2007

Anticipating the announcement of the site for the proposed Commonwealth nuclear waste facility in the Northern Territory later this month, theweathergroup_U invite you to a special documentary screening at Cockatoo Island.

Sunday July 20, 2pm
Cockatoo Island

"Nowhere here in the middle."
2007, 33 mins
Produced and Directed by Tara Jones.

If the government wanted to build a radioactive waste dump in your backyard...
and changed the law to to make it happen...
and told you it's perfectly safe..
what would you do?

The proposed radioactive waste dump is an integral component of the federal government's plan to expand Australia's Nuclear Industry.

An inspiring story of indigenous insight and resistance, 'Nowhere here in the Middle' travels to the Northern Territory to meet the people who live at the proposed sites, shedding light on the dark implications of the government's plans.

What the government calls "the middle of nowhere", these people call home.

"It's supreme scientific arrogance to say that we'll find a way to store radioactive waste safely for 1/4 million years, let alone 1/2 million years." Dr Helen Caldicott

Followed by a Q & A with Nat Wasley from Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Alice Springs

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The e-gipsi

For decades Yolngu of north-east Arnhem Land have proven their commitment to the the sustainability of life in homelands. Yolngu living on their own country are healthier, happier, have high levels of school attendance and are earning real income from a variety of activities. Although Yolngu living in homelands own significantly more personal computers than Yolngu residents living in towns, homeland residents often have poor internet access. The INC (Inter Networking Communities) research project at CDU (Charles Darwin University)together with homeland residents identified some major reasons for the poor and often non-functional internet connections, included unstable. unreliable and intermittent power supply, as well as a lack of societal commitment to supplying infrastructure to outlying communities.
The 'e-gipsi' (extra-geo internet provider with solar infrastructure) is a tool which is being developed as a way to suggest ways around these issues. By making a mobile all weather version of a solar powered satellite wireless internet provider, we would not only have an object that would be able to test various components for their robustness and durability in harsh climatic conditions, but then test them in different locations and be of use in promoting the issues we had encountered in remote areas at events such as the Garma festival and the Sydney biennale.
theweathergroup_U is a collective interested in pursuing experimental methods of audiovisual media production, environmental mapping and monitoring technologies, and processes of community-based interaction and knowledge exchange. As artists and media workers, they are primarily concerned with cross-cultural digital storytelling methods.
Using the interlocking themes of weather, ecology, climate, geography, communications and collaboration, they seek to explore different ways of seeing, listening and documenting the
interactions with natural systems that punctuate our daily existence.
At the biennale of Sydney 2008, theweathergroup_U is collaborating with CDU through one of their members, artist and researcher Bryce Anbins-King, to display a version of the e-gipsi which is designed to provide internet access to a local area network anywhere in Australia, and to use this connection to provide live on-line content to the exhibit.
While this this version of the e-gipsi has it's practical limitations, it is a functional object which is designed to exemplify some of the issues involved with the use of digital technologies in the processes of community information exchange.
In order to operate on Cockatoo island for three months over winter, a wind turbine was introduced to supplement the power production of the solar panels, and We are currently experimenting with the use of remote access software over satellite connection with the hope of providing access to computers being operated at events in Arnhem land to visitors to theweathergroup_U exhibition space on the island.
e-gipsi extra-geo internet provider with solar inrastructure

Friday, June 27, 2008

Exploring the Elements and Identity - Katherine Indigenous Youth - Firestick Theatre - 26/6/08

Exploring the Elements and Identity
Katherine Indigenous Youth
Firestick Theatre

Posted by 
Will Tinapple

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Theweathergroup formed for this and future projects to further develop themes arising in previous works by Susan Norrie and David Mackenzie (Twilight 2005, Havoc, 2007) on the way diverse human cultures understand and respond to changes in their natural environment. The central idea that brought us together is the weather: as something we communicate about everyday, as an object of traditional and scientific knowledge practices, as our sensual experience of the natural sublime. Weather was something which was once seen as regular and beyond our control, a point hammered home by rare Acts of God. Now, because of our burning technology, the weather is becoming chaotic. This requires us to monitor and co-operatively control our effects upon it. Linked to this interest were images of lightning, of the Promethean forces of nuclear industry re-awakened by climate change, and a concern that, even in the context of ‘Sorry Day’, a lot of Aborigines see the continuing NT Emergency Intervention as a dissolution of hard won and limited indigenous sovereignty.

As Carolyn Keller has observed, talking about the weather used to be innocent. It was the kind of conversation that you could have with a stranger on a bus, in order keep to small talk and avoid the taboo subjects of politics and religion. “It looks like rain”, “it’s a hot one today”, “funny weather we’re having.” Now, when all are familiar with the revolutionary transformation of the earth’s climate by our industrial economy, talk about weather has lost its innocence. “The foreboding feeling of irretrievable and unforeseeable damage reverberates in the brief silences, as we nod and shake our heads, break eye contact, change the topic.” Indigenous people have long observed the interactions between plants, animals and weather cycles and their meteorological knowledge. For pre-industrial peoples, talk about the weather was a question of survival and prosperity. As it has now become also for us in the era of climate change, Westerners are realizing the accuracy and value of ancient weather knowledge, grounded in long botanical experience, for this new turn in the history of weather prediction.

Tim Flannery has warned that Australia faces "the most dangerous situation arising from climate change facing any country in the world right now." The weather is the medium that links the worlds’ peoples to their unprecedented alteration of the biosphere. It is also the medium of unjust outcomes. Those of us in ‘consumer society’ contribute most to the problem. Those who contribute least, indigenes living on their own country in their own way, are most exposed to flooding, storms, sea rise, and disturbing changes in the ecosystems they have always understood and lived with. They are also least able to access the goods and services that the well-off will use to insulate themselves from extreme weather events. As colonized people, they are often excluded from decision making that directly effects their ability to maintain cultural survival. Local struggles over land are increasingly linked to international power politics, shaped by global corporations and market forces, and framed by scientific discussions of environmental change. The work documents Jefferey Lee’s struggle to assert his traditional ownership, under huge pressure to allow uranium mining on the Koongarra lease in Kakadu National Park, an area known for generations of local Aborigines as ‘sickness country’.

In April 2008, United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples was hosted in Darwin by the Northern Australia Indigenous Land and Sea Management Association. The topic of the international conference was ‘Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change’. The WeatherGroup attended and filmed the public discussions, where we heard the testimony, reflections and debate of delegates from places like the Phillipines, Samoa, Alaska. We heard stories of pressure on forest livelihoods, of rising oceans and biopiracy, of ice melting so rapidly that it stretched the ability of traditional knowledge to read the once icebound coastal environment. We later took candid interviews with the conference attendees, interviews that often belied the diplomatic goodwill of UN decorum, and that led to new possibilities in the work.

Here we encountered Dean Yibarbuk, a traditional owner of Arnhem Land escarpment country and began exploring the Western Arnhem Land Fire Abatement project (WALFA). Dean is part of Wardekken Land Management Ltd., one of 6 organizations of traditional owners employed as rangers on their own land from Bulman to Maningrida. Funded for 17 years in a deal with US energy giant Conoco Philips to ‘offset’ CO2 from their huge new gas-fired power plant in Darwin, the project is re-igniting the traditional practices of controlled burning, although adding in helicopters, landrovers and state-of-the-art satellite mapping systems. In abeyance in remote Arnhem land as people have become confined to missions and towns, cultural burning practices are being revived. As they reduce the intensity and spread of the dry season bushfires, they also reduce the amount of CO2 released to the atmosphere. It also enables autonomy and the reconstitution of culture ‘on country’, supporting the aims of the ‘outstation movement’ among those Arnhem land people who wished to leave the missons and return to living on country. The status of a full time wage enables an escape from dependence on changing welfare regimes – of which the intensive income management of the NT Emergency Intervention Act (2007), for which the Racial Discrimination Act (1975) was partially suspended, is only the most recent and the most all encompassing.

People like Violet Lawson, Dean Yibarbuk and his Wardekken Rangers exemplify the way the knowledge embedded in indigenous law and practices of land use is entering an exchange with Western ecology and climatology, and this is a two way street. In a 2003 response to the extended drought, the Bureau of Meteorology began a project to document and interact with traditional weathermen to increase the accuracy of their understanding of Australia’s seven seasons and long range weather cycles by linking it to biodiversity. They also represent, in the midst of great change, the coming together of a world community, constantly communicating about the Weather.

On communication, there are more than 50 remote outstation communities in Arnhem land where there are fewer than 50 people, where there is no stable power supply, phonelines or access to internet. Often this informational remoteness has been seen as an obstacle to community development and participation in broader society. Frustrated with government studies that consume funds and don’t provide access, Bryce designed and built the ‘e-gipsi’ - a mobile, solar powered, satellite phone and internet connection that cost less than $7000 to build from available parts. E-gipsi’s are already in operation in some NT communities, fostering microbusinesses in weaving or translation, enabling communication between communities and the outside world. Strangely enough, Bryce reports that often the first thing Arnhem-landers look up when the internet connected, is the weather predictions of the Bureau of Meteorology….