heading for trouble: nonhuman futures

My feature essay for ARTLINK was published today – and in the print edition Hayden Fowler’s Together Again (2017) has the cover. My article is available free online here:

https://www.artlink.com.au/articles/4656/heading-for-trouble-nonE28091human-futures-in-recent-ar/

I wanted to use the article to talk about a selection of works that have interested me in the way they do not oppose human and animal but consider species-being together (they ‘make kin’ as Haraway would say.) I talk about Hayden’s Together Again, and begin with Anne Noble’s stunning Dead Bee Portraits (2015).  I also wanted to work through the challenges posed by Bruno Latour in this context. In the article I write:

Émilie Hache and Bruno Latour suggest that any response to these questions is dependant on our hesitation at the borders of definitions of nature. We are, they suggest, sensitised beings that exist along twin axes of morality and moralism. To address the challenge of thinking with nature, animals, rocks and the planet they argue that we suspend distinctions between human and nonhuman, and consider the etymology of response: “I become responsible by responding, in word or deed, to the call of some one or something.” These philosophical approaches share something: they suggest that fictions (or the stories we tell) offer new responses in our relationships with others. Such fictions are speculative worldmaking devices that remake our relationships with other animals, species, and the planet.

Hache, Emilie, and Bruno Latour. “Morality or Moralism? An Exercise in Senitization.” Common Knowledge 16, no. 2 (2010): 311-30.

The longer version of the article looked at the difficult challenges of care and mourning – I was thinking about the boundaries of responsibility. What we do and how we act determines the world we live in. How we feel is found in the stories we tell, in the images we confront, and in the relationships we form across all kinds of bodies. In this context I talked about Robert Zhao Renhui’s Memorial to the Last Cat on Christmas Island (2016). It was also great to be able to include Michele Beevors’ series of knitted bodies. And I could continue digging into the deep ecologies of Fernando Do Campo’s Kookaburra’s for a long time. There was a limit on the images that could be printed, so I’m adding a few extra here.

Michele Beevors Last Plague Pelophylax.ki.esculentus (frog, cactus, life raft) (2014-2015) wool, aluminum, rope polyurethane, rubber and wood.

 

Michele Beevors, Run from Fear Morelia spilota spilota (snake and truck tires) (2014-2015)
wool, aluminum, rope polyurethane, rubber and wood. 

 

Fernanado Do Campo The Colours of Federation (WHOSLAUGHINGJACKASS)(2017)
acrylic paint on wall, acrylic paint on poplar plywood, vitrines with archival material, Artspace Sydney 2017-2018.

 

Fernanado Do Campo The Colours of Federation (WHOSLAUGHINGJACKASS)(2017)
acrylic paint on wall, acrylic paint on poplar plywood, vitrines with archival material, Artspace Sydney 2017-2018.