Performers stay afloat in rising seas

By Evie Drinnan

OHM Festival performers Nova Ruth and Grey Filastine have made some gobsmacking changes to their lives, all in the name of climate action.

12 years ago, the Indonesian duo bought an old fishing ship, which happened to be the first peacetime vessel built out of the German u-boat shipyard in 1947, a beautiful fact given its current use.

They employed 10 people over two weeks to paint it, spent months making it seaworthy, and installed solar panels.

They then gave up land life, opting to live on the ship:

“It’s a tiny world we have to maintain, a concept which should be applied on land,” said Filastine.

Named Arka, Latin for container and self-defence, as in Noah’s Ark, and Kinari, a mythical Hindu half-human, half-bird musician, and the guardian of the tree of life, the ship is their home, transport and stage.

Nova, Filastine and their small crew travel the world on the Arka Kinari, performing free shows inspiring people to take any action they can in the face of climate change.

“The Arka Kinari is our solution to match our method with our message,” Nova said.

“Our performances are powered by the sun and will continue as long as there’s wind to fuel our sails.”

The duo performed on March 16 and 23 outside the Brisbane Powerhouse to an attentive and supportive crowd.

Incorporating different musical styles and projecting matching visuals onto the ship’s sails, the performance delicately balanced feelings of despair, panic and doom with feelings of hope, motivation and gratitude.

“It is too hard and painful to just hear the facts. Art makes it gentler,” Nova said.

The crowd murmured in agreement when Nova shared mid-performance that her grandmother used to say: “the Earth has already forgotten the seasons”.

“If we are smart enough to ruin the world, we are smart enough to fix it,” Nova said.

It is an extreme life dictated by the seasons and nature’s moods.

“The sea is indifferent to our survival. It is neither our friend nor our foe,” Filastine said.

“It feels like living with your mother,” Nova said.

Whilst they have battled through their fair share of storms, they have had unforgettably beautiful moments too, such as being escorted by hundreds of whales, or following dolphins illuminated by bioluminescence on the way up to Brisbane from their Hobart and Sydney shows.

“I can’t imagine it any other way now. You have more time to do other things, like thinking,” Nova said.

As night falls, Arka Kinari is Filastine and Nova’s stage as they perform their collision of psychedelic beats, Javanese post-folk and analog synths.





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