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The Beehive

Zanny Begg has been announced as the inaugural recipient of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and Artbank new film work commission for 2018 for her proposal The Beehive. She is collecting stories about Juanita Nielsen, Kings Cross and development and the city, if you have any information to share please contact zanny.b[at]gmail.com.

Project brief:

Juanita Nielsen, Sydney anti-development campaigner, vanished on the 4th of July 1975, her body never found, her murderers never charged. The Beehive will be a non-linear video installation randomly compiled from a reservoir of material exploring the implications of this unsolved case. The installation will engage with a violent historical incident, but aims to work this moment across time to look at gentrification, affordability and urban diversity today. The film will use the tropes of a “whodunit” to search for radical, bohemian, queer and unruly bodies, “buried” alongside that of Juanita. While The Beehive will tell a story of Sydney the dynamics at play in Kings Cross form a crucial part of Australian culture and will serve as a timely intervention into broader discussions over the “right to the city” at a national and international level. The issues faced in Kings Cross are similar to those in the St Kilda, the Reeperbahn (Hamburg), The Valley (Brisbane) or any red-light district in any major city in the world.

The Beehive, the title of the project, is a reference to the famous hairdo worn by Juanita Nielsen but also an archetypal metaphor used to describe human cities. In classical times the beehive was seen as a hierarchical and densely industrious hub; in pre-Christian symbolism, the beehive was a dark cooperative womb guided by powerful queen. This clash between utilitarian modernist and feminine anarchic interpretations of our cities will provide a poetic tension that will flow through the project.