Robert Nugent’s ‘Roadside Picnic’. 

From this Friday, Prototype, the experimental film and video art e-newsletter curated by writer and critic Lauren Carroll Harris, will deliver a series of projects in response to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Supported by Arcadia Films​, the ​Institute of Modern Art​ and FBi Radio​, the ‘Prototype Care Package’ aims to keep both audiences connected with art and artists in paid work during this time.

It will include a new commission from Robert Nugent, and premiere new projects from both Australian and international artists, in addition to re-edited versions of existing works.

Each project will be screened online for one week until it is replaced by the next. Following this, the whole season will be collected and archived on the Prototype website as soon as the project has wrapped.

“Audiences need ways to see new art, safely, at home, now,” ​said Carroll Harris.​“Prototype Care Package is all about works that are made for the digital realm, made for small screens and responsive to the present moment. We’re already seeing artists changing the way they work and thinking through states of emergency, and this program reflects that. It includes artists making some of the first works I’ve seen that directly respond to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Carroll Harris devised Prototype last year to shake up how experimental screen art is commissioned and distributed. That is, to take it outside of traditional spaces like galleries and film festivals, and put it where most people consume video content – on their phones. The first season featured 12 different artists and filmmakers, including Alena Lodkina (Strange Colours).

The Prototype Care Package program includes:

  • Australian theatre and filmmaker ​Sarah Hadley​ (​Last Night)​ premiering ​Noli me tangere​ (Latin for ‘touch me not’)​, a new video essay cut from queer and classic cinema responding to lockdown themes of distance, order, disgust and touch.
  • Australian artist-filmmaker ​Robert Nugent​ with ​Roadside Picnic​,​ an original commission for Prototype imagining the discovery of the strange architectural forms called “outback roadside picnic stands” after some unnamed disaster renders the projects of colonialism and capitalism redundant in Oceania.
  • UK-based Soda_Jerk collaborator​ Sam Smith​ premiering ​Lithic Coda​,​ which summons the mystical powers of geology and mineral extraction on the Swedish island of Gotland.
  • Netherlands-based artist ​Pilar Mata Dupont​ with the online premiere of her 2015 work Mountain​, an imagined conversation between Sigmund Freud and a fictitious tyrant set in the chilly Bavarian mountains where Nazi rulers once holidayed.
  • Australian documentary artist ​Esther Carlin​ premiering a new cut of ​The Time of Cevennes​, ​a journey to a remote southern French village in search of the legacy of enigmatic sage and anti-psychiatry theorist Fernand Deligny.
  • Chilean experimental filmmaker​ Malena Szlam​ will present a new, as-yet-untitled short form video of landscape and light.
  • Australian-Balinese artist ​Leyla Stevens​ will premiere a new video essay on the pigeon racers of Jogjakarta and pigeons as an old method of communication.
  • Australian-Malaysian/Bidayah artist​ Tiyan Baker​ will present a new untitled work made in the language of her mother’s Indigenous community in occupied jungle Bidayah territory. This piece was made as part of Tiyan’s Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship.
  • Australian mining researcher ​Amelia Hine​ premiering ​Insect Futures,​ a collaged animation work that sits between sci-fi and post-anthropocene ASMR.
  • Documentary artist ​Sari Braithwaite​ will premiere a new untitled work about the importation of Western pop art to a mainly disinterested Chinese village.
  • A new work by Australian experimental filmmaker ​Allison Chhorn​ in response to Albert Camus’ classic medical apocalypse text ​The Plague​ and the new imaginative possibilities of the present. This work comes directly from the online iteration of the ​Visions du Réel documentary festival in Switzerland​.

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