Photo: Fergus Floyd

Animate/Inanimate Symposium

Sunday 1 September 2013

A day of lively discussions about the meanings, histories and vulnerabilities of the natural and animal worlds through the eyes of artists, cultural theorists and environmental scientists, this symposium coincides with the exhibition Animate/Inanimate at the TarraWarra Museum of Art.

Brolga Room at Healesville Sanctuary, Badger Creek Road, Healesville

$40 Adults; $30 Students
Lunch and refreshments provided by Sanctuary Harvest

Barbara Creed, Professor Screen Studies, University of Melbourne
Prue Gibson, writer and lecturer
Glen Holland, Director, Healesville Sanctuary
Janet Laurence, artist
Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art
Deborah Bird Rose, Professor, Environmental Sciences
Louise Weaver, artist

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Detailed program

11.00am – Registration & Coffee on arrival

11.30am – Welcome & introduction: Victoria Lynn, Director, TarraWarra Museum of Art

12.00noon – Keynote presentation: Professor Barbara Creed
Barbara Creed is Professor of Screen Cultures at the University of Melbourne and director of the ‘Human Rights and Animal Ethics’ research network.

In Search of Sensation in the Nineteenth Century Zoological Park
Professor Creed explores the uncanny tension between animate/inanimate and human/animal in relation to the entrapment of animals in zoos and travelling menageries of the nineteenth century. She will also explore the aesthetics of shock in relation to the human/animal border as well as the role of this aesthetic in art.

1.00pm – Lunch (provided)

1.30pm – Panel discussion: Prue Gibson, art writer & lecturer; Janet Laurence, artist exhibiting in Animate/Inanimate; Louise Weaver, artist exhibiting in Animate/Inanimate; Glen Holland, Director, Healesville Sanctuary
Prue Gibson

The Disappearing Act
Bones and skulls, taxidermy animals and images of lost ecologies represent the process of disappearance. Is this fear of death? Of another dimension? Of non-life? Artists who memorialise, interact with and re-create (or re-enact) the vitality of animal/human lives are participating in this performative thematic of ‘disappearance.’

Janet Laurence
Janet Laurence lives and works in Sydney. Recent solo exhibitions include The Ferment, The Fine Art Society Contemporary, London, 2013; After Eden, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, Sydney (2012); What can a garden be?, BREENSPACE, Sydney (2010). For the exhibition Animate/Inanimate Laurence presents the workFugitive 2013 which explores the plight of animals, and the degradation of our environment. Drawing on the collections of the Melbourne Museum, and incorporating film footage of animals living at Healesville Sanctuary Laurence’s installation is contained within zones that are marked out by suspended translucent veils and considers our experiential and cultural relationship with the natural world.

Louise Weaver, artist
Louise Weaver lives and works in Melbourne. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including in 2012 Volume One: MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Contemporary Australia: Women, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Sculpture is Everything, Contemporary works from the Collection, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Play, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. She has exhibited with Darren Knight Gallery in Sydney since 1997.
The work in the exhibition comprises five different sculptural elements accompanied by the sound of bird songs that the artist recorded in the Central District, Victoria. The large screen, Bird Hide, invokes the temporary structures created for viewing birds, whileHiding in plain sight (witch grass nest) is inspired by the nests woven by male weaver birds. Weaver has created three new sculptures that transport us to a realm of watching and listening in nature.

Glen Holland, Director, Healesville Sanctuary
Glen Holland will discuss the Sanctuary’s Endangered Species research program.

3.30pm – Break

3.45pm – Keynote presentation: Professor Deborah Bird Rose
Deborah Bird Rose is a Professor in the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion at Macquarie University, Sydney. Professor Rose writes across several disciplines, including anthropology, history, philosophy, cultural studies and religious studies, and has worked with Aboriginal people in their claims to land and in other decolonising contexts. She has written numerous books and essays including Wild Dog Dreaming.

Animism, Art, and the Breath of Life
Art’s special magic is to knock us out of familiar enclosures. ‘We tell ourselves stories in order to live’, Joan Didion famously tells us. In this time of mass extinctions, art has the power to open new stories, breathing life into new meanings of our place in the life of planet earth.

4.45pm – Drinks

5.00pm – Concludes

The Story Visit
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