Today, urban nesters are preparing for the worst. For a weekend away they pack their Defender with the best field equipment – a hand stitched swag; an axe made by a 16th century old forge, and custom leather boots, all built to last a lifetime. On their way out of the city, they’ll divert from the GPS directions to swing past the supermarket and buy their supplies.

Out in the bush, they might momentarily use the axe, after which the blade will be checked for nicks, and if needed, the head wiped with oil to prevent rusting. The carefully constructed alternate reality exists only for a weekend, where they play-act their return back to basics.

For this kind of kit, the story of its manufacture, its conspicuous placement in the lounge-room; and its survivalist aesthetics, count more than its use value.

Designers and makers also play-act. When survivalist lifestyle is in fashion, hand-crafted objects from bespoke materials fly off the shelves. Makers have to believe their own story to sell their craft.


Field Kit was part of Every Second Feels Like a Century, at Westspace Gallery, curated by Hannah Presley and Debbie Pryor.

Every Second Feels Like a Century is the exploration of an Apocalypse in our modern world, a world where now more than ever, we know that utopia is born from dystopia. We are collectively aware of the two extremes and the atrocities involved as many of us live between these dichotomies; fearful at once of both privilege and poverty. We relive our past in our attempts to move forward through struggles for equality of gender and race and the fight for environmental and political rights. We live in suspended time. Objects illustrate our journey, our history, our transience, our permanence, our story.

ApocalypticA drive towards survival – political, personal, environmental, emotional. Remnants of ideas, tools and thoughts scattered throughout cultures and time illustrate a universal desire, a race against destruction.

The Apocalypse is not new, Aboriginal people have faced the end of the world over and over again grasping for air against the waves of colonisation. Languages have been hidden away, some lost, some found, memories of the past living on through the devastation. We collectively keep the stories, the connection to our Country remains, seedlings for future generations. Our ways of doing and being altered and adapted into the future, bringing with us what is important, we fight for these things that matter, carrying them is not a burden, we will always hold our weapons of survival.

Survivalism is an attempt to predict an unforeseeable future to determine in advance which tools, machines, and codes of conduct will most efficiently accommodate basic human needs after the breakdown of civilisation.