Progress in Action

Recreating the past for a better future.

Investigators

Beyond the politics or history for me it always comes back to the core materials that are formed or sculpted by an ideological determination, like copper being used for capitalist extraction or the coconuts being used as the agency for an eco-revolution.

Nicholas Mangan

Progress in Action reflects upon the 1989 civil war on the Pacific Island of Bougainville; a war ignited over disputed land use, ownership and compensation claims. The work references the BRA’s resourceful use of coconuts through a refinery and modified generator during the food and energy blockade. The power generated by coconut oil is used to show footage of the Panguna mine and events leading up to the Bougainville crisis. Whilst the past struggle is portrayed, links to our current energy consumption and humanity’s resourcefulness are apparent.

Footage credits:

  • My Brother Wartovo, 41 mins (1973). Director: John Richardson. Courtesy of Shell Corporation. Accessed through National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Film Australia Collection Library, Commonwealth Film Unit © National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  • My Valley Is Changing, 26 mins (1970). Courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Film Australia Collection Library, Commonwealth Film Unit © National Film and Sound Archive of Australia
  • Bougainville Island (1965). Courtesy of National Film and Sound Archive of Australia’s Film Australia Collection Library, Commonwealth Film Unit © National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. Filmed during a bureau of mineral resources expedition in 1965
  • The Coconut Revolution (2000, 50 mins). Documentary. Director: Dom Rotheroe. Stampede Films, GB
  • Footage also sourced from ABC News, Foreign Correspondent, and Lateline segments. © Australian Broadcasting Commission library sales.