[-empyre-] October: This Mess We're In Week 3

Tarsh Bates tarshbates at gmail.com
Mon Oct 15 21:36:16 AEDT 2018

Hi empyrists

Huge apologies ... the hectic-ness of installing 26 artworks for the 
TMWI exhibition kind of exhausted me. Huge thanks to Laura, Sue and Mike 
particularly for helping make it look so awesome and gratefulness to all 
the artists involved. Your work is exquisite and funny and moving.

Week 3 will be almost as crazy for me. I am a co-convenor of the Quite 
Frankly: It's a Monster Conference, which is on this week at the 
University of Western Australia. Keynotes are Fiona Wood, Karen Barad, 
Ambelin Kwaymullina and Kira O'Reilly and we have an awesome lineup of 
140 presenters. It is going to be epic. I am very excited!

So, we have five -empyre- guests this week, all of whom are artists in 
TMWI and some of whom will be at Quite Frankly. They work in very 
diverse media and conceptual spaces and I expect they will prompt some 
interesting discussions. I am very pleased to introduce Abhishek Hazra, 
Kathy High, Sue Hauri-Downing, Svenja Kratz and WhiteFeather Hunter.

*Abhishek* uses video, performance and text with an ironic fascination 
for theoretical debates around knowledge production and historiography. 
His recent series of lecture performances explore questions around 
affect, precarity and provincial cosmopolitanism. Abhishek has exhibited 
widely, including Kochi Muziris Biennale, Experiment Marathon Reykjavik 
and MAXXI Museum, Rome. He has been an artist-in-residence in various 
residences including Gasworks, London and SymbioticA, Perth. Abhishek 
has also been the recipient of multiple awards including the Sanskriti 
Award for Visual Art.

*Kathy* is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of 
technology, science, speculative fiction and art. She produces videos 
and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of 
medicine/bio-science, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She hosts 
bio/ecology+art workshops and is creating an urban nature centre in 
North Troy (NATURE Lab) with media organization The Sanctuary for 
Independent Media. High is Professor of Video and New Media in the 
Department of Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She 
teaches documentary and experimental digital video production, history 
and theory, as well as biological arts.

*Sue* is an Australian/Swiss artist interested in biocultural diversity, 
biopolitics, solastalgia and the intricacy of interspecies 
relationships. She is currently exploring relationships between honey 
bees, humans and ecologies, focusing on the poetics and aesthetics of 
human/bee/plant interactions and communications, and is particularly 
interested in how artistic practices might allow humans to 
experience/understand interspecies time. Previous work has included 
explorations of the personal and cultural implications of the global 
cultivation of native and foreign plant species, including aesthetics, 
ties to "home", food security, traditional food availability, and 
materials as artefacts. When possible, she repurposes donated or surplus 
materials. She draws on the support, services and resources of volunteer 
organisations or government funded individuals/groups to network, share 
information, reduce costs, and to add passionate and concerned voices to 
the issues being explored. Production of her works often involve groups 
of people who share concerns and who might act as consultants, 
designers, participants, technical specialists or evaluators. Sometimes 
her artistic role may be simply as a facilitator.

*Svenja *is a contemporary Australian new media artist interested in the 
intersections between science and art.  From 2008 – 2012, she produced 
three major bodies of work that mapped her engagement with contemporary 
biotechnologies including primary culture of human and fetal calf cells, 
tissue and genetic engineering, including /The Absence of Alice/, /The 
Immortalisation of Kira and Rama /and /The Human Skin 
Experience/Equivalent Project/. In 2013, she received the QLD Premier’s 
New Media Scholarship and undertook a 5-month residency at Leiden 
University and the Art and Genomics Centre in The Netherlands.  In 2015, 
she was artist in residence at the University of Queensland in a 
collaborative project across Architecture, Music, Interaction Design and 
Neuroscience.  She holds a PhD in Biotechnology and Contemporary Art 
from QUT and has exhibited at a range of national and international 
venues, including The Science Gallery in Dublin in 2010, The Sydney 
Powerhouse Museum in 2013 and Experimenta Recharge, 6th International 
Biennial of Media Art touring Australia from 2015 – 2016. Svenja is 
currently based in Hobart, Tasmania and works as a Lecturer in 
Interdisciplinary Creative Practice at the Creative Exchange Institute 
(CxI) and Tasmanian College of the Arts (TCotA) at the University of 

*WhiteFeather* is a multiple award-winning Canadian artist-researcher 
and scholar, as well as educator, arts administrator, curator and writer 
based in Quebec. She holds an MFA in Fibres and Material Practices from 
Concordia University and presents her work internationally, most 
recently at Ars Electronica (Linz), Berlin (DE), Helsinki (FI) and 
various North American cities, with forthcoming presentations in Namur 
(BE). WhiteFeather positions her BioArt practice within the context of 
craft and feminist witchcraft, via material investigations of the 
aesthetic and technological potential of bodily and vital materials. She 
hacks/builds electronics, uses web-based platforms to generate new 
mythologies, works in narrative video, and performance as embodied 
research. WhiteFeather is Principal Investigator and Technician for the 
Speculative Life BioLab within the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture 
and Technology at Concordia University and artist-in-residence at 
Sporobole centre en art actuel in collaboration with Dr Denis Groleau, 
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Microorganisms and Industrial Processes 
at Université de Sherbrooke.



Co-Convenor Quite Frankly: Its a Monster Conference 18-19 October 2018

Curator This Mess We're In 13 October - 2 November 2018 Unhallowed Arts 
Festival 2018

Postdoctoral Research Associate • SymbioticA • School of Human Sciences 
• The University of Western Australia • M309, 35 Stirling Hwy Crawley WA 
6009 Australia • T +61 8 6488 5583 • M +61 (0) 432 324 708 • E 
natarsha.bates at research.uwa.edu.au

I acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which I live: The 
Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. I acknowledge their ancestors and 
pay my respects to their elders; past, present and future.

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