Born Los Angeles 1988

Lives and works in Middleton, Tasmania

Loren Kronemyer is an artist living and working in remote lutruwita / Tasmania. Her works span objects, interactive and live performance, experimental media art, and large-scale worldbuilding projects aimed at exploring ecological futures and survival skills.

She works solo, and in collaboration as Pony Express. Her approach of deep and immersive research has led her to foster collaborations with a number of niche societies, labs, and specialists. These include Australia's last broom factory, from whom she learned to make millet brooms for the project Millennial Reaper; and the World Archery federation, from whom she earned a coaching qualification for her project After Erika Eiffel, and the scientists at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, with whom she developed her show Receiver. She received the first Masters of Biological Arts Degree from SymbioticA Lab at the University of Western Australia, and is a PhD Candidate at the University of Tasmania.

The Knife
By Liang Luscombe

With an artistic practice that circles around the complex conceptual underpinnings of tools within survivalist subcultures, Loren Kronemyer often cameos in the role of toolmaker. For her project Autonomous Armory, she zeros in on a particular style of tool, a ‘weapon of stealth’, which captures the imagination of online survivalist communities and action-film obsessives alike, some examples being:

Cold Steel Perfect Balance Sporting Throwing Knife

Fantasy Master Black Dragon 3 Piece Throwing Knife

Fury3 Piece Night Thrower Throwing Knives

Aeroblades 3 Piece Jack Ripper Throwing Knives

Screaming Arrow Throwing Knives

The names given to the throwing knives found online are florid and extravagant in their description. 'Fury3 Piece Night Thrower Throwing Knife' is based on the video game Fury3, a story of inter-planetary war, while 'Aeroblades 3 Piece Jack Ripper Throwing Knife' is named after the misogynist London serial killer of the late nineteenth century. The names of the tools reflect the profound fantasy connections the would-be wielders of the knives have with them, to the extent that it becomes difficult to detach the object’s utility from its macho daydream.

Also entangled in the orbit of the throwing knife is the figure of the ecologically driven DIY survivalist – the popular image of the white-bearded man living in a bunker comes to mind – immersed in pre-emptive self-reliance training, building and stockpiling, and driven by apprehension of the upcoming environmental catastrophe, from which the state will not protect him.

In designing and creating her own set of throwing knives, learnt from online survivalists’ forums and open-source websites, Kronemyer employs a practical communism, whereby tools can be created without relying on free-market commodification. But then a question presents itself: who or what is the target of her self-designed weapons? What are the implications of taking up and repurposing tools and props imbued with a combat survivalist fantasy?

The full version of this essay by Liang Luscombe is published in Free/State.