I'm reading
Some thoughts on activism
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Some thoughts on activism
Pass it on
Pass it on
I'm reading
Some thoughts on activism
Pass it on
Pass it on
Articles
19 February 2020

Some thoughts on activism

Anton Rivette is a documentary filmmaker who spent time on Camp Binbee, the home of the Adani blockaders, filming musician-activists at work. He shares his experiences and the film project below.

Written by Anton Rivette

Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.

In 2012 at 26 years old, after some significant shifts in my internal and external worlds, I decided to act on an impulse I had felt since high school. I had felt that writing was my passion and yet I had rarely focused my time on it. So after ending a romantic relationship and quitting my job before 10:30 in the morning, I decided it was now or never, the time had come to focus my life through writing.

I opened my computer and tried to write but the words didnt come. I needed help, so I went onto Amazon and bought The Elements of Style, William Strunk and E. B. Whites seminal text on language and grammar. Whilst I thought this would give me the tools I needed to be a writer, this text changed my life in a much deeper way.

In part two of this book, titled Elementary Principles of Composition,” I was reintroduced to the concept of active voice. I read that the active voice is usually more direct and vigorous than the passive,” that it was the key to good writing, even though sometimes its through passivity that writing style is formed.

As words started to find their way from my internal world onto the page, I began to notice how passive my language was, how often I used words that were unnecessary or got in the way of my activity. I was trying to write, instead of writing. I wanted to be creative, instead of creating. There was always a step between the thinking and the doing. Some may call it passivity, others might say anxiety or fear. For me I was evolving from the person I was to the person I was becoming. I was becoming the most active form of Anton, no longer afraid of sharing who I felt truly to be.

This process was gradual and required a lot of work, a lot of pain and constant learning. And slowly the words flowed. I realised that I wasnt just a writer, I was a storyteller, and stories are told in many ways. So I bought a camera and started creating films.

At the end of September, I received a phone call from the singer Lisa Mitchell. She was heading to Camp Binbee, the home of the Adani blockaders on Birri country in far north Queensland”. Lisa and I had briefly met a couple of times, and when she spoke with a mutual friend about the trip, she said she wanted a filmmaker to accompany her. He mentioned my name.

In October we made our way to Binbee, along with Daniel and Missy from the band, Ginger and the Ghost. Over the next few days, I watched and then filmed these musicians become more involved in Camp Binbee and the activist values of the community that had fostered it. I kept hearing this word activism and the memory of Strunk and White emerged.

Activism. Being active. Directly connecting with our communities. Solving problems, creating solutions. For me, activism has been a long process of acknowledging who I truly am, and aligning my external life to this internal self. It was writing. It was buying a camera. It was going to Binbee. It was and is living a life according to my values.

I made this film because it felt important, because I acknowledge and value the land we live on. I value its voice, how it speaks an old language that I feel everyday I walk upon it. I am grateful for this land. I am grateful for those that have always looked after it. And I hope that this film speaks to that, offering a deep acknowledgement of the beauty, the generosity and the fragility of the spirit of the country we call Australia.”

Anton Rivette

Anton Rivette is a Melbourne based writer.

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