Immersive, dark and sometimes hopeful, Fremantle Arts Centre will be transformed into a dystopic doomsday den for the exhibition Preppers, opening Friday 15 November.
With global protests, diplomatic unrest and natural disasters reported daily, it seems now more than ever that the plight of humanity is at the forefront of many people’s minds.
Doomsday prepping is a global subculture of people preparing for the collapse of society. The phenomenon is a manifestation of widespread cultural anxieties which permeate modern society. Preppers hoard food and weapons, develop extreme survival skills, and practise violent tactical responses to attack and threat.
Artists Tiyan Baker (NSW), Guy Louden (WA), Loren Kronemyer (USA/TAS), Dan McCabe (WA) and Thomas Yeomans (UK) explore the distinct aesthetic, language and apocalyptic fantasies of the preppers community through a series of sculptures, installations, videos and hanging works in this exhibition.
Mutually fascinated by the prepper lifestyle, the artists have each invested significant time and resources into developing niche survivalist skills. They have built traps, fashioned weapons, created fortified structures and explored the dualistic role the internet plays in distributing the preppers’ manifesto and symbolising its antithesis by connecting people around the world.
Preppers co-curator Loren Kronemyer said, “We are excited to share this show at Fremantle Arts Centre, which brings together a group of diverse artists reckoning with what the themes of prepping, survivalism, and doomsday mean relative to each of our unique perspectives.”
“This show has developed over several years and it’s interesting that these themes seem exponentially more urgent now than when we began,” she said. “This exhibition aims to dissect the narrative of prepping, of who and what gets to survive and what that might look like.”
Fremantle Arts Centre curator Dr Ric Spencer said Preppers is being shown at a particularly timely moment. “The sentiment and uncertainty which has led some to embrace the preppers lifestyle has moved from the fringes and is now more and more pervasive in mainstream consciousness,” he said. “This exhibition will provoke audiences to imagine their own vision of what the future might look like, and examine the power structures of survival.”
The exhibition is the fourth and ultimate instalment of the Preppers project, which has been exhibited in different experimental presentations in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth since 2017.
Dan McCabe is a visual artist based in Fremantle and raised in Brisbane. Since graduating from Queensland Collage of Art with Honours in 2012 he has exhibited in solo and group projects across Brisbane, Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. McCabe has been the recipient of international residencies in Finland and India. Recent projects include a large body of work in spaced 3: north by south east at AGWA in 2018 and a solo exhibition Post Leisure with Moore Contemporary in 2019. McCabe’s practice often considers the complexities of global urbanism and its impact on the natural environment. In his work, concept drives materials and method — he has produced sculptural installations, video, photography and wall based compositions.
Loren Kronemyer is an artist living and working in remote lutruwita (Tasmania), Australia. Her works span interactive and live performance, experimental media art, and large-scale worldbuilding projects aimed at exploring ecological futures and survival skills. As part of duo Pony Express, she is co-creator of projects like Ecosexual Bathhouse, a touring queer sex club for the entire ecosystem. She collaborates frequently with laboratories, including most recently as the first resident at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, and received the first Masters of Biological Arts Degree from SymbioticA Lab at the University of Western Australia. She is a mentor at the Icelandic Academy of Art for their Masters of Performing Arts program, and a PhD candidate at the University Of Tasmania
Guy Louden is a Perth artist and curator. Louden was director of Moana Project Space, a leading artist-run gallery in Perth, and cofounder of Success, a large-scale art space in Fremantle. He has curated exhibitions for the Perth International Art Festival, Moana, and Success. Since 2017, he has also exhibited his own artwork, notably at Bus Projects (Melbourne), Firstdraft (Sydney), Cool Change Contemporary (Perth), and FAC (Fremantle). Louden holds an MA in Art History from the University of Manchester (2013), a Master of Art Curating from the University of Sydney (2018), and a BA from the University of Western Australia (2011).
Tiyan Baker is a Malaysian-Australian artist who practices across video, sound and installation. Baker’s practice engages with communities where contemporary crises around neoliberalism, neo-colonialism, and environmental degradation are staged. Her work draws on field research and documentary techniques. Baker graduated with an Award of Distinction in Fine Arts/Arts from UNSW (2012). She is a recipient of the 2019 Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship, was a finalist in the 65th Blake Prize (2018) and the winner of the Macquarie Digital Portraiture Award (2014). Originally from Darwin, NT, Baker currently lives and works in Sydney.
Thomas Yeomans is a London-based artist making video, digital, and sculptural work. Yeomans received an MA from the Royal College of Art and a BA from Slade School of Art. He has exhibited in solo exhibitions in London and Manchester as well as group shows widely and prominently. His work adopts the methods of new media and often deals in futuristic and apocalyptic themes. Preppers is his first exhibition in Australia.