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*The symposium is currently booked out. If you have a ticket and are now unable to attend please email us so that we can release your ticket to someone on our waitlist.*

The Hacking the Anthropocene IV: Do-It-Together Symposium will take place in Narrm (Melbourne) on Monday 8th July in the Rosina Auditorium at the Abbotsford Convent, next to Birrarung (the Yarra River).

There will be three sessions in which each Hacker presents their hack to the entire community, who gets to “hack back” at the end of that session; plus one session composed of multiple walkshops.

Architect Laura Bulmer will be providing a sensory hack of the Rosina Auditorium. Please note the Auditorium is heated, however, as this event involves some optional outdoor activities, we will be “weathering” with whatever mid-Winter provides (Neimanis and Loewen Walker, 2014; Neimanis and Hamilton, 2018). We recommend bringing warm clothes and a raincoat.

This is a full day event, running 9am – 5pm. Please arrive by 8:45am for registration. Vegan morning tea and lunch will be provided by Lentil As Anything, including gluten free options (if you have more specific requirements, please contact us). The Abbotsford Convent is fully accessible by ramps and has gender-neutral and accessible toilets. If you need an Auslan interpreter or there is anything else we can do to ensure this event is fully inclusive of everyone’s abilities and needs, please let us know.

We are grateful to the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, the Centre of Visual Art, and the Macgeorge Bequest for sponsoring this exciting schedule of events.

Symposium Program

9:00 – 9:15Welcome to Country
Offered by Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Elder Uncle Dave Wandin
9:15 – 9:30Welcome
9:30 – 9:45An icebreaker for planet coolers
9:45 – 10:15Hackers:

“Falling out together”
Jennifer Hamilton, University of New England,
and Astrida Neimanis, University of Sydney

“Speculative field guides for composing collective imaginaries”
Susie Pratt, University of Technology Sydney

“Is meditation a luxury? Collective listening, selective hearing and un-mapping time as tools for change”
Archie Barry, interdisciplinary visual artist
10:15 –
Hacking back (‘discussion’)
10:45 –
Morning tea
11:10 –

“Rupturing the colonial anthropocene: Views from the Americas”
Macarena Gomez-Barris, Pratt Institute

“We are the generation!”
Jeanine Leane, University of Melbourne  

“My journey in becoming an activist in Australia through the guidance and lessons from the Pacific”
Jacynta Fuamata Pacific Climate Warriors
11:40 – 12:10Hacking back (‘discussion’)
12:10 – 1:10Lunch
1:10 – 2:50Walkshops (Read walkshop descriptions here)

“Love in a time of parasites: fungi, worms, us, and mites”
Alexis Harley, La Trobe University

“(Un)making iuk: creekulum propositions on Wurundjeri Country”
Sarita Galvez, Monash University and Angela Foley, Merri Creek
Management Committee

“Un-earthing. Wild concrete on living soil”
Aviva Reed, interdisciplinary visual ecologist

“Knitters for Critters: The Socio-Politics of Making Pouches”
Stephanie Lavau, University of Melbourne

“bttming the Anthropocene”
Richard Orjis, Bttm Methodology

Dights Falls Cultural Talk”
Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Elder Uncle Dave Wandin
Wurundjeri Tribe Council
2:50 – 3:20Afternoon tea – warm beverages provided but no food
3:20 – 3:50Hackers:

“I am not your Aborigine; an amble through the myth of post-colonialism on the planet ‘environMENTAL’”
Zena Cumpston, University of Melbourne

“Pharmakon of Plasticity, micro-territorial parasitism and the queer Body Corporate.”
Debris Facility, artist

“Strategies of Wildness – Why We Must Unbuild the World!”
Jack Halberstam, Columbia University
3:50 – 4:20Hacking back (‘discussion’)
4:20 – 5:00Networking ‘Net-fun-ing’/ Making new collectives

Hackers and their hacks:

Jack Halberstam: “Strategies of Wildness – Why We Must Unbuild the World!”

Jack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Jack is a writer, educator and public intellectual with international renown. His work considers wild, queer, decolonial possibilities for protest culture, anarchy and performance. In 2018, Places Journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is currently working on a book titled Wild thing: Queer theory after nature which explores queer anarchy, performance and protest culture as well as the intersections between animality, the human and the environment.

Archie Barry: “Is meditation a luxury? Collective listening, selective hearing and un-mapping time as tools for change”

Archie Barry is an artist living in Naarm (Melbourne) who is interested in the mutability of language and confidentiality as a practice of building confidence. They have performed at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art Tasmania, State Library of Victoria, Neon Parc and Artspace Sydney amongst other spaces. Their written work has been published in Art and Australia and Archer magazines, their most recent writing is a guideline resource for institutions, galleries and curators working with trans, non-binary and gender diverse artists co-authored with Spence Messih.

Astrida Neimanis & Jennifer Mae Hamilton of Composting Feminisms: “Falling out together”

Astrida Neimanis is a feminist writer, researcher, and teacher. Her work focuses on water, weather, and other environmental bodies. Her books include Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017) and the co-edited collection Thinking with Water (2013). She is currently a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies and a Key Researcher with the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney on Gadigal land, but was grown up by the waters of Niigani-gichigami (Lake Ontario) on Turtle Island (Canada).

Jennifer Mae Hamilton is an interdisciplinary feminist environmental humanities researcher and teacher, with formal training and employment in the discipline of English Literary Studies. Her writing explores relations between weather, land, labour and shelter. She currently works as lecturer at the University of New England on unceded Anaiwan country, and is Vice President of the Association for the Study of Literature Environment and Culture (ANZ). Her first book is This Contentious Storm: An Ecocritical and Performance History of King Lear (London: Bloomsbury, 2017).

Susie Pratt: “Speculative field guides for composing collective imaginaries”

As a researcher, educator, artist and techno-scientific muser Dr Susanne Pratt explores how creative practice can foster social and environmental responsibility, with an emphasis on care, futures and environmental health. She is currently based in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, University of Technology Sydney (UTS), where she co-founded the xFutures Lab.

Zena Cumpston: “I am not your Aborigine; an amble through the myth of post-colonialism on the planet ‘environMENTAL'”

Zena Cumpston is a Barkindji woman who works as a researcher in various streams of Koorie History. Currently employed as a research fellow at University of Melbourne for the Clean Air Urban Landscapes Hub, Zena’s work focuses on Indigenous perspectives of biodiversity in urban areas. Her most recent undertaking was as a lead researcher on The Living Pavilion, a place-making project utilising 40,000 plants endemic to the Kulin Nation to highlight and celebrate Indigenous knowledge systems, histories and living culture. Zena is passionate about all aspects of representation in relation to First Peoples, especially within institutional contexts. She is particularly focused on the reinvigoration of native species as an act of reparation for both First Peoples and Country. 

Jacynta Fuamatu from Pacific Climate Warriors: “My journey in becoming an activist in Australia through the guidance and lessons from the Pacific.”

An Australian born Samoan woman who is the Melbourne Coordinator for 350 Australia, co-creator of Off2war, and an Elders member of the Pacific Climate Warriors. Amplifying the stories from frontline communities impacted by climate change by working closely with community leaders and groups across Victoria, Jacynta hopes to inspire young leaders to discover their craft and use it to fulfill our shared responsibility to our people, land and ocean.

Macarena Gómez-Barris: “Rupturing the colonial anthropocene: Views from the Americas”

Macarena Gómez-Barris is author of Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (UC Press 2010), The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives (Duke University Press 2017), and Beyond the Pink Tide: Artistic and Political Undercurrents in the Americas (UC Press 2018). She is co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards A Sociology of a Trace (University of Minnesota Press 2010) and co-editor with Licia Fiol-Matta of Las Américas Quarterly, a special issue of American Quarterly (Fall 2014). Her new book project is At the Sea’s Edge: On Coloniality and the Oceanic. Her essays have appeared in Antipode, Social Text, GLQ, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies as well as numerous other venues and art catalogues. She has been a Visiting Professor at New York University and a Fulbright Scholar and Visiting Professor at FLACSO-Quito. She publishes on decolonial praxis, space and memory, and submerged perspectives. She is founder and Director of the Global South Center, a transdisciplinary space for experimental research, artistic, and activist praxis, and Chairperson of the Department of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute.

Jeanine Leane: ‘We are the generation!’

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her first volume of poetry, Dark Secrets After Dreaming: A.D. 1887-1961 (2010, Presspress) won the Scanlon Prize for Indigenous Poetry, 2010 and her first novel, Purple Threads (UQP)won the David Unaipon Award for an unpublished Indigenous writer in 2010 and was shortlisted for the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing, 2012. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, writing otherness and creative non-fiction.

In 2017, Jeanine was the recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonucal Poetry Prize and the University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize. She teaches Creative Writing and Aboriginal Literature at the University of Melbourne. The manuscript for her second volume of poetry, Walk Back Over was highly commended in the Black&Write Indigenous Writing Fellowships, State Library of Queensland, 2016 and was released in 2018 by Cordite Press.

Debris Facility: ‘Pharmakon of Plasticity, micro-territorial parasitism and the queer Body Corporate.’

We’ve been looking into plastics, it’s material proliferation through non-decomposition and the ways that interrupts bodies and re/production. Using the Pharmakon as a lens to evaluate plastic, and the social plasticity which is evoked through it, we’ll look through our own practice, and map it onto Heather Davis’s work on the queer futurity of plastic, especially as it maps onto environmental hormonal shifts.

Symposium hackers (Walkshoppers):

Aviva Reed: ‘Un-earthing. Wild concrete on living soil

An ethereal moment of material molecular immersion into the living grounds we walk upon. Through this process we will unearth our obligations and responsibilities to care for the soil that cares for us, the paths that support us and the grounds that reside within us. This walkshop engages critically and sensually with what is beneath our feet, honouring both the ingredients that make up the concrete pathways that hold us and the soil beneath and around the river’s edge that supports life. We name and acknowledge the sand, lime, silt and clay and through an immersive process will explore the deep time (past and future) stories held within these edge and overlayed landscapes. Asking what is our responsibility to honour the concrete for both its utilitarian and multispecied complexity and our obligation to unearth the negations of this concrete for the soil beneath. Through this we will unravel the materiality that binds all things through the matter cycles of soil and the sedimentation of our imaginations.

Aviva Reed is a trans disciplinary ecologist. Her practice enmeshes the ecological sciences with philosophical thought and social theories. She is particularly interested in decolonising the sciences with a focus on evolution and the ecological imagination. Her work embodies time and scale using storytelling, visualisations and soundscapes to explore embodied ways of being. Aviva has published numerous books including an ongoing series on microbes with Small Friends Books (CSIRO Publishing), Eon The story of the Fossils (Oekologie Studio) and recently, a chapter in Art, Ecojustice and Education (Routledge Publishing) exploring the symbiosis of art and science as a way to build ecological ontologies.

Richard Orjis: ‘bttming the Anthropocene’

This walk-shop / sit-in as an uncertain manifesto, a list of fluid provocations, and ethical explorations, a soft testing of collaborative queer practice. Bttm methodology is an ever-expanding approach to art making, pedagogy and kinship where reverse discourses assume counter and passive positions that prioritise openness, slowness and listening. bttm methodology is affectively driven, motivated by pleasure and curiosity. Set against a background of queer ecological thought, bttm methodology welcomes the abject, the overlooked, the rejected, the polluted and the subterranean. Bttming is a methodology for exploring power dynamics, kinship, relationality and passivity as an active resistance to capitalist, colonial and patriarchal reproductive impulses. The upcoming workshop concentrates on the notions of ‘passively active’. How can passive, promiscuous, temporary and transient modes lead to meaningful alliances and intimacies between nonhuman and human entities? How can we privilege ‘arse end of the world’, or southern antipodean orientations? and how might this dismantle dominant epistemologies of the north (rational, Eurocentric, Judeo-Christian)? And how can methods of passive resistance operate in response to colonial, capitalist and patriarchal hegemony? Is there power in opting out, removing oneself and preferring not to? How might we understand power relationships in more ambiguous way, is there power in passive positions? How might we engage with power that can serve emancipatory movements? How might we think about ethical modes of relationality that allow for vulnerabilities and intimacies not built on the desire for dominance and control? What does this do to cultural imaginaries and practices. The workshop will invite participants to engage with these ideas through sitting, thinking, making and talking or not sitting, not thinking, not making or not talking.

bttm methodology is a queering artist collective founded in the academic ether by val smith and Richard Orjis, who are presently undertaking postgraduate research in the field of queer ecologies and contemporary art practice at the Auckland University of Technology. Bttm Methodology emerged out of a drifting conversation about glow worms, mushrooms and queer ecologies, tree hugging/humping, resting, composting and excretion, toilets and cruising. It is an approach to art making, pedagogy and kinship driven by the tenets of connectivity, pleasure and sub-version.

Alexis Harley: ‘Love in a time of parasites: fungi, worms, us, and mites’

Alexis Harley eats non-indigenous mushrooms scrounged from radiata pine plantations, grows Pleurotus ostreatus in buckets, and tends a collection of household yeasts. She is the author of Autobiologies: Charles Darwin and the Natural History of the Self, associate editor of Life Writing, and current president of the Association for the Study of Literature, Environment and Culture – ANZ. She lectures in English at La Trobe University and works at the intersection of literary and scientific discourses from the late eighteenth century on, with a particular interest in how cultures of aesthetics and emotions have shaped how people ‘know’ ‘nature’.

Sarita Galvez: ‘(Un)making iuk: creekulum propositions on Wurundjeri Country.’ 

Sarita Galvez is an educator, physiotherapist and PhD candidate in Education at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia. She is interested in exploring embodied learning from a post-anthropocentric perspective. Her research is focused in decolonising research methodologies using textile experimentations that have emerged from the intersection between Andean epistemologies and feminist philosophies. She is one half of experimental band Las Chinas and founder member of Latin American feminist collective Abya Yala.

Angela Foley

Angela V. Foley’s background in theatre arts and Geography (UNSW) led to community-based environmental advocacy and educative roles, currently at RMIT University and Merri Creek Management Committee. Her practice and doctoral focus (School of Education, Western Sydney University, Australia), explores the art of place-making on Wurundjeri Country today with arts-related practices to work the mouthful: ‘ethico-onto-epistemologically’ (Barad 2003) 

Since 2012, her etchings have been made and shown at Australian Print Workshop in Fitzroy and presented in her research findings.

Angela likes to work with children everywhere, cycle, kayak, walk coasts, forests, deserts and make things.

Stephanie Lavau: “Knitters for Critters: The Socio-Politics of Making Pouches”

The increasing severity and frequency of hot days; the continued threat of ‘ecological imperialism’ in the form of introduced predators and diseases; the risk of becoming road-kill in seeking food, shelter and water in urban areas: these are but some of the dangers resulting in the rescue of hundreds of thousands of Australian animals each year.  Behind the often bloody frontline of wildlife rescue is a growing crowd of crafters; knitting, sewing and crocheting pouches to comfort rescued marsupials, many of them orphans.  In this workshop, we experiment with “making as method” (Mann 2017), knitting pouches for orphan marsupials to explore and embody questions of knitting as craftivist, colonial, domestic and gendered practice.  Needles and wool provided (you can BYO 4mm needles and 8 ply 100% wool).  No knitting experience required. 

Stephanie Lavau is a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Environmental Practice in the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences at The University of Melbourne.  Her cultural environmental research focuses on environment management and governance, particularly in relation to urban water management and biodiversity conservation.   

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