Rural Utopias

Table of Contents

When I came to Kepa Kurl / Esperance, people gave me things. Flowers arrived at my residency flat. Containers of soup, lentil dhal, and vegan bolognaise filled my freezer. Kind people would check in on me, to make sure I wasn’t lonely. I was struck by the generosity of locals, and witnessed people in the com­munity sharing and giving their time, resour­ces, know­led­ge, skills and wealth with others. I was struck by the strength of the community’s gift and ‘diverse economies’ and the deg­ree to which giv­ing, sharing, and mutual exchange is recog­nis­ed as central to building and sustaining a rural community.

  • A fluoroscent yellow post-it note attached to a wall with a wooden clip and tape. On the note is a cycle diagram moving from seed → sapling → tree → fruit alongside the words: time, culture → support, energy, inclusive → art → purpose → zero waste, sharing → giving+recieving, engagement.
    Shared Futures Salon, Esperance, 2022. Photo courtesy of the artist.
  • Ana in conversation with another person in a glass room. Text applied on to the glass reads 'Shared Futures Salon'.
    Ana Tiquia, Shared Futures Salon, 2022. Photo by Katie Witt.

Seeder Futures is a digital artwork informed by this giving, sharing and community-building. I doc­u­mented ways in which Esperance locals share and give in their community. To engage the State Collection, I invited AGWA to share high-resolution public domain artwork with the people of Espe­rance, in return.

Seeder Futures establishes a peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing protocol between the Kepa Kurl / Espe­rance community and The Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA). The artwork is a shared, sync­hronised folder, collectively hosted by Esperance community members and a PC at AGWA. This shared folder includes images of the collection alongside interviews with community members.

  • A group of roughly ten people, all except one, seated around a table.
    Seeding Afternoon Workshop, Esperance, 2023. Photo by Katie Witt.
  • Four people seen seated, in conversation. The person in the center is taking notes. In the background are various drawings, writing, and a schedule stuck to the wall.
    Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing workshop, The Cannery Arts Centre, Esperance, 2023. Photo by Dan Paris.

On P2P file sharing programs the term ‘seeders’ describes those who store files locally, and make them available for down­load and sharing by others. Seeders are also agricultural machinery, used to distribute and sow seeds at scale across large paddocks including Esperance’s broad acre farms.

Seeder Futures is an artwork where all viewers become hosts. Its conditions of viewing are inform­ed by principles of reciprocity; those who receive the ‘gift’ of access become seeders — enabling greater access for others.

Top-down view of a field being traversed by a red and green seeder machine
Ana Tiquia, Seeder Futures, 2023, video still.

Digitisation of state collections promises to increase access, particularly for rural populations who might never visit a state gallery. But several collections have practices, policies, and web infrastructures that restrict this. In researching this work, I discovered that access to high resolution files of public domain work is restricted by many Australian state galleries, and that copyright is often asserted over artwork in the public domain through its digitisation and photography. I wanted to explore what a collection truly owned by the people of West Australia might look like. Seeder Futures enacts an alternative way AGWA’s state collection could be stored, distributed and made accessible to a rural community.

Ana Tiquia, Seeder Futures, 2023, shared folder; P2P file synchronisation, application built on BitTorrent protocol, high-resolution .jpg files of public domain, artwork from AGWA’s collection; digital, videos with sound. The Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2023. Photo by Dan McCabe (@artdoc_au).

Artist: Ana Tiquia

Ana Tiquia is an artist and futurist who lives and works in Naarm/Melbourne. Integrating participatory art and performance, design, and futures practice, Ana creates public interventions: works that invite dialogue with ‘the future’. She is interested in how practices and infrastruc­tures make worlds, and aims to expand possibility in the present by generating diverse future imaginaries. Ana’s work intervenes in workplace, institutional, and everyday practices. Through these in­ter­ventions Ana aims to seed diverse futures of data and technology; work and labour, and energy, material, and multispecies relations. Ana’s most recent work has been commissioned by MOD (Museum of Discovery, Adelaide), ANAT SPECTRA22, SPACED and The Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA). Ana holds a BA in Fine Arts, a Master of Strategic Foresight, and was 2022 Berry Family Fellow at State Library Victoria.

Community Host Partner: Cannery Arts Centre

The Cannery Arts Centre was originally built in 1949 to be used as a Fish Cannery. After serving as a car yard, a dance hall and a youth centre it was renovated in 1984 to its present state. It is now a vibrant community arts centre delivering workshops, exhibitions and events to the Espe­rance community and visitors to the region.


Seeder Futures, 2023

  • Lead Artist

    Ana Tiquia

  • Rural Utopias Producer

    Katie Witt

  • Director of Photography

    Dan Paris

  • Technical Lead (AV installation)

    Evan Davies

  • Featuring

    Aunty Annie Dabb, Christiane Smith, Jennene Riggs, Karli Florisson, Kat Walkerden, Katie White, Kyron Smithson, Megan McDowall, Sam Starcevich

  • Community Curators (Seeders)

    Allyson Tas, Brittany Norton, Brooke Elson, Jamie Coyle, Jen Ford, Katie Witt, Katie White, Krystal Obschonka, Marcia Leonard, Tammy Andrews, Sarsby Martin, Cannery Arts Centre

Thank you to AGWA curators and collections staff: Miranda Johnson and Zali Morgan for their participation and contribution to our Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Exchange Weekend; Timmah Ball for facilitating access to the AGWA public domain collection, Emma Bitmead for discussions around digital access, and Clothilde Bullen, Melissa Harpley, and Robert Cook for conversations on ‘good futures’ for collection and institution.

We are grateful to have made and filmed this work on unceded Wudjari Nyungar Boodja, and the unceded lands of the Ngadju, Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung, and Dja Dja Wurrung people. Always was, always will be.