Soda_Jerk is an arts collective from Sydney, Australia (but now based in New York).  They formed in 2002 and create films and art that look at the “intersection of documentary and speculative fiction.”  TERROR NULLIUS is the latest project from the collective and is the opening film of Glasgow Short Film Festival 2019.

Soda_Jerk are in Glasgow to introduce the film and describe it as a “Love letter to Australian Cinema.”  The film itself is a mashup of different Australian films (and a few from other nations), edited together to create a narrative around immigration, identity, feminism and queerness. Scenes from The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Romper Stomper, Mad Max: Fury Road and Crocodile Dundee are mashed together along with music and sound effects taken from other films. International laws around satire and parody allow the collective to steal and edit as they choose and the effect is at times comedic and other times shocking and stirring.

The open and barren landscape of Australia links many of the films together. The orange and yellow colours and the intimidating empty space has acted as a backdrop for many highlights from Australian cinema. The commonality of this landscape allows Soda_Jerk to cut from one film to another and give the illusion that the sequences are happening at the same time and within the same space. TERROR NULLIUS does not go against the grain of many of the films that it references, instead, it embraces and expands on many of the themes. The queer nature of the horror film The Babadook is pushed further with the introduction of gay imagery and the music of Kylie Minogue. TERROR NULLIUS is at its best when commenting on the colonisation of the continent and the taking of aboriginal land and culture. Here we see how the technique of mashing up different films and audio can create stirring images and deep emotions.

As well as screening TERROR NULLIUS Soda_Jerk are presenting their multi-channel installation Astro Black in the Intermedia Gallery of the CCA. Both projects express the depth and diversity of the art that the collective make.