14 October – 31 December 2013
Tea Mäkipää’s Battle of Australia is a celebration of the beauty and charm of the ‘voiceless’ inhabitants of Western Australia’s vast expanses — our native fauna. Traditionally, Indigenous Australians domesticated many of these animals, but since European settlement countless species have become extinct due to land clearance or the introduction of non-native predators. Special programs have been introduced to protect highly endangered species, but scarcity of funding and bush fires render the programs unsustainable in the long term. Mäkipää believes that the re-introduction of domestic ownership of wild animals could revive many of Western Australia’s threatened species. Battle of Australia is a small-scale awareness-raising campaign that aims to foster a more balanced relationship between animals and humans, and highlights the unique biodiversity that still exists, for the moment, in Australia.
Alongside Battle of Australia, Mäkipää developed Business Hotspot and a collaborative project with Monika Thomas titled Not with Us Anymore. Business Hotspot is a temporary public artwork and wi-fi hotspot that was installed at the Cape Le Grand National Park, Esperance, over April–May 2014. The work comprised a fully functional wi-fi hotspot in a pristine and protected natural environment. While accessible to all who frequented the wilderness of the southern coast, the hotspot was intended as a commentary on the lack of value placed on native animals by the financial market, making the animals voiceless stakeholders of their own natural habitats.
Not with Us Anymore is an ongoing artistic collaboration between Mäkipää and Esperance-based artist Thomas that involves creating a series of death notices based on the Austrian/German model of the Todesanzeige.
Mäkipää’s project in Esperance was presented in partnership with DADAA and the Cannery Arts Centre.
Images: Tea Mäkipää, Business Hotspot, 2014, Cape Le Grand National Park, Esperance. Image courtesy and © the artist. Photo: Robert Frith – Acorn Photography; Tea Mäkipää, Battle of Australia, 2014-15, installation view, spaced 2: future recall, Western Australian Museum – Perth. Photo: Robert Frith – Acorn Photography.