Scratchings (about me)

This is the networked home of Susan Ballard. I’m an art writer, and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Arts and Media, and Head of Postgraduate Studies in the School of the Arts, English and Media at the University of Wollongong, Australia. If you ask, I will say I am from New Zealand.

By its very nature, an online home is a continual work of re-developement. Emerging out of the collective myre of time-starvation and desires for documentation this house sparrow is no different to any other. At one level it is  an archive for the interesting and the familiar, for what I have done and what I might do, it is also a mneumonic, a reminder that I must get back to that. So here it is: a simultaneous clearing house, potential repository and emergent archive.

As evidenced here, my research sits somewhere in the expanded field of art history and media. Some people call what I do: geoaesthetics. My writing covers divergent clusters of thought that include the role of creative practice and media in thinking about earth systems, animals, rocks, trees, nature, ecology and the constellations of the art gallery. I focus much of this around a discussion of the artwork as machine: a sympathetic non-human object born from Deleuze’s machinic assemblage and Guattari’s ecosophy.  As a curator and art writer I find myself thinking about art’s contribution to and critique of utopia, the ongoing construction of the antipodes as an elsewhere space, catastrophe and disaster, futures, speculation and the experience of the encounter with art. Everything I do is tainted with the sober reality of living amidst the human-induced climate change we now label the Anthropocene.


I’m the co-convenor of the Centre for Critical Creative Practice (C3P) – [so new we don’t have a website yet] that grew out of the lovely MECO – (the Material Ecologies Research Network) a research network for critical and creative practices at UOW.

I’m also an editor of the rather wonderful Fibreculture Journal part of Open Humanities Press.

Due to excessively boring amounts of comment spam, I’ve disabled comments on this blog. Nonetheless if you are human or even an interesting kind of bot, I’d love to hear from you.

contact me here:
sballard ( at )


An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768
An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1768


PS: Anyone looking for the old house sparrow, please be patient. After a nasty encounter with virtual death she is undergoing a lengthy period of revival.

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