Zanny Begg awarded inaugural $70,000 Artbank + ACMI Commission

The Artbank + ACMI Commission supports artists and filmmakers working at the nexus of film and art. The joint initiative is designed to engage with cinema, experimental film, artists’ film and the avant-garde to create ambitious, experimental works which can find a home on the cinema screen or in the gallery space. Each year one, for three years, an artist or filmmaker will be awarded $70,000 and an ACMI X industry membership.

Zanny Begg with her video work The Bullwhip Effect (2017), currently exhibited in the NSW Visual Arts Fellowship Exhibition at Artbank in Sydney. Photograph: Adam Amin. @ Murray Harris Photography. Courtesy Create NSW

Artbank together with Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) announced on Wednesday 1 November artist and activist Zanny Begg as the recipient of the inaugural Artbank + ACMI Commission for her proposed work The Beehive, based on the unsolved murder of famous Sydney anti-development campaigner Juanita Nielsen in 1975. The Beehive examines themes of gentrification, corruption, sex-work, feminism and non-conformist lifestyles. Created using an algorithm, the film will be randomly compiled from a reservoir of scripted fictions, documentary interviews and choreographed sequences exploring the implications of this infamous cold case and how they can applied today. Using the tropes of true crime, the work will morph and evolve with each viewing, offering audiences different glimpses and interpretations of the crime.

‘I am so excited to have been awarded this incredible opportunity from ACMI and Artbank. I hope to work with the legacy of Juanita Nielsen to explore the fate of our inner-city neighbourhoods. The Beehive was chosen as a title to reference Juanita’s distinctive hairdo, but also a poetic disjunction embedded within the ways we think about the city; it is both an industrious, utilitarian, hierarchical hub and a dark sweet cooperative womb,’ said Zanny Begg.

The Beehive will be exhibited at ACMI in 2018.