Case studies

Refugium – a speculative climate futures film

Centre for Reworlding

REFUGIUM is an award-winning short film of speculative fiction, by Jen Rae and Claire G. Coleman. Centred on First Nations knowledge and protocols, Refugium hacks time and compounding existential crises, delves into moral dilemmas of life and death and hones in on child-centered trauma prevention and intergenerational justice in the coming collapse.

REFUGIUM begins with Claire in 2042, at the age of 68, in an undisclosed bunker attempting to log into the Bilya portal in a futile effort to warn other Reworlders about a raid. Claire is the sentinel of the Centre for Reworlding, the last person standing per se. Everyone has dispersed and she is alone. She begins a nihilistic spiral half-way believing that all efforts at reworlding were for nothing. “We failed”, she says and attempts to communicate with those in 2021 to save themselves and ditch reworlding. For the sake of future generations, Jen’s great-granddaughter Ellis in 2121 is tasked with intercepting Claire’s transmission and a dialogue ensues. Difficult questions are answered.

REFUGIUM becomes a sort of Zoom call of transtemporal proportions. The audience listener is witness and becomes implicated as a collaborator in the project by their presence and there are protocols to follow.

The film is a beckoning, a call to action and a cry for urgency and togetherness. The film will provoke conversations around readiness, climate resilience and how we can learn and identify what being prepared feels like.

The first video transmission of the film REFUGIUM was part of First Assembly of the Centre for Reworlding, a participatory palaver event at Arts House in 2021.


Winner, Incinerator Art Award for Social Change (2021)

Film duration: 26 minutes

Access: Closed captioned and Auslan interpreted versions of the film available.

Warnings: Contains profanity and discussing the climate emergency, apocalypse, euthanasia, gender violence, suicide and filicide, and might be distressing to some people.

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