A promotional video for the Australian electronic pop group The Avalanches, Soda_Jerk’s masterful mash-up recreates the late-20th century American movie landscape as a pop-reference wonderland, where Michael Jackson and Cheech and Chong busk in the subway, a paint-huffing Laura Dern shares sidewalk with a philosophical Beavis and Butthead, and the local supermarket becomes the site of a riot. What results far exceeds the genre of the music video and becomes a codex of the hidden patterns and rhythms that lie buried deep in our collective pop-consciousness.
Subtitled ”A Political Revenge Fable in Three Acts,” TERROR NULLIUS is a dazzling, kinetic, mishmashed beast of a film. One part revisionist documentary, one part LSD-infused YouTube compilation video, Soda_Jerk’s controversial film shatters old narratives, taking you on a rollercoaster ride into the dark heart of Australia. Simultaneously arthouse and grindhouse, this experimental sample-based film works entirely within and against the official archive to achieve a queering and othering of Australian cinema. The perils of hypermasculinity are overshadowed only by the enduring horror of Australia’s colonising myth of terra nullius. The Ian Potter Cultural Trust, which provided financial support for the film, chose to distance itself from the film’s promotion and marketing, deeming TERROR NULLIUS too controversial for their conservative tastes. This controversy should be seen as a badge of honor for such a satirical, confronting, and political work of art that pushes viewers to re-think Australia’s history and future. Soda_Jerk, formed in Sydney in 2002, is a two-person art collective who work at the intersection of documentary and speculative fiction. They are fundamentally interested in the politics of images: how they circulate, whom they benefit, and how they can be undone. Their sample-based practice takes the form of films, video installations, cut-up texts, and lecture performances. Based in New York since 2012, they have exhibited in museums, galleries, cinemas, and torrent sites.
Lolly has always searched for the parents that abandoned her and her sister DeDe, believing that finding
them will right all wrongs. Her quest leads her into an adult world, which it seems, is no place for a child.
The answers Lolly seeks are secreted in the unspoken past.