A film by Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler
20 min., 2017
Open Space Gallery, Vienna

The night is always darkest before the dawn

In their fourth collaborative film Zanny Begg (Sydney) and Oliver Ressler (Vienna) focus on Nauru, a tiny remote island in the Pacific with 10,000 inhabitants. The title Anubumin is Nauruan for Night and symbolises a certain darkness that surrounds the Island.

The film combines a poetic narration  with conversations carried out with five whistle-blowers from Australia and Nauru. The narration discusses different voids that have shaped the island’s past and future. The largest void is a physical one, the island is a raised reef consisting of calcite and phosphate on a volcanic base, which has been mined and exported to Australia, to fertilise the former colonisers’ farms. This physical void is complimented by other more subtle ones; when phosphate extraction came to a stop in the 1980s, Nauru was bankrupt and 80 percent of the land area uninhabitable and infertile, in an attempt to generate income Nauru is today involved in the “disappearance of people” – housing one of Australia’s offshore refugee detention centre. In a reaction to the criticisms of the detention centre, access to the island has been severely restricted. Four whistle-blowers, who worked as doctors and nurses in the detention centre, and one who is incarcerated on the island, describe the institutionalised human rights violations in offshore detention. Today a new void threatens the island as rising sea-levels threaten the coastal edge.

Director and producer: Zanny Begg & Oliver Ressler
Camera: William Robertson
Audio recording whistleblowers and sound design: James Brown
Narration text: Matthew Hyland & Oliver Ressler
Narrator: Renée Gadsden
Audio recording narration: Rudi Gottsberger
Whistle-blowers: David & Mark Isaacs, Anonymous, Alanna Maycock and Hasantha Gunasekera


Financial assistance provided by Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien