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Form x Content

Wednesday lunchtimes, 1pm
online and on the Big Screen, Caulfield and Clayton campuses

Session dates:
Wednesday 10, 17, 24 & 31 March 2021
Wednesday 14, 21 & 28 April 2021

Form x Content is a mix of fourteen live and pre-recorded events featuring the voices of renowned First Nations, Australian and international artists, designers, architects, curators and academics. The program is delivered every Wednesday lunchtime during Monash University teaching semesters, both online and broadcast on the big screen on the Campus Green, Caulfield.

Form x Content engages with the ideas, histories, sites and critical questions of our time. Semester 1 focuses on sustainability, collaboration and the ways in which First Nations’ artists centre Country in their practices. Semester 2 explores ideas of disruption and resilience, together with queer perspectives on artistic practice and urban space.

Form x Content is free and accessible to all.

Join us Wednesday lunchtimes at 1pm—online and on the Big Screen, Caulfield and Clayton campuses.

Semester 1: Collaboration, Country, Sustainability

Welcome to Country by N’arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM, Senior Indigenous Research Fellow, MADA

10 March
More than a guulany (tree): Indigenous knowledge systems
Artists Dr Brian Martin and Associate Professor Brook Garru Andrew in conversation

The inaugural Monash Art, Design and Architecture / MUMA Climate Action Event presented by the Wominjeka Djeembana Research Lab.

When we look at the various Aboriginal languages around Australia today there are not many words that translate as ‘land’, whereas we have many words that translate as Country. In Country, the non-human has the same importance as the human. Trees are really important to the relationality that we have with Country, and in southeast Australia much of the cultural heritage, the objects and artefacts that articulate this relationality have been removed and placed in museums, both in Australia and overseas, as part of colonisation. As artists we have both explored the significance of trees in our respective art practices. Through an Australian Research Council project we are taking this research further: connecting with those objects removed from Country and possibilities for repatriation, and talking and listening to Indigenous peoples across southeast Australia who hold knowledge about trees and cultural practice.

17 March
Art, Mine Power and the Cultural Work of Climate Justice
Rachel O’Reilly and Tony Birch, artists, writers and curators/activists 

INFRACTIONS is a feature length film that platforms important First Nation voices between Yallarm (Gladstone, Queensland)—where unconventional gas was first approved in Australia—and current struggles against shale gas fracking that threatens 51 per cent of the Northern Territory. The film is the final work of The Gas Imaginary, 2013–20, a project by Gladstone-born settler artist, writer and curator Rachel O’Reilly that has used poetry, drawing, moving image and lecture formats to explain the legal, aesthetic and technical conceits of ‘unconventional’ gas, in ongoing dialogue with Gooreng Gooreng elders and women environmental activists.

INFRACTIONS was made in the wake of the 2018 NT Scientific Inquiry into hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and before gas figured as a national solution to pandemic economics. Artists and community workers in INFRACTIONS speak up for songlines and refuse ‘northern development’ geographies and Professor Irene Watson, Pro Vice Chancellor Aboriginal Leadership and Strategy at the University of South Australia, explains the continuing entanglement of Terra Nullius logic with today’s intersecting ecosystemic crises.

This conversation with Rachel and writer, scholar and activist Tony Birch considers differential cultural responsibilities on the side of climate justice, and will be hosted by Helen Hughes. INFRACTIONS will also feature in The Tree School, part of MUMA’s Tree Story exhibition, running 11–23 March at MADA Faculty Gallery with Ray Dixon, a Mudburra Traditional Owner from Marlinja community near Elliott, Northern Territory.

24 March
To Think with the Forest
The Forest Curriculum, platform for indisciplinary research and mutual co-learning

Thinking from the terrain of Zomia, the highlands of Southeast Asia, and drawing from the work of James C. Scott, the Forest Curriculum collective proposes an anarchist imagination of our futures. In this talk, co-directors Abhijan Toto and Pujita Guha share their practice of collective study and theorisation, and discuss the need for a located critique of the Anthropocene as a concept, from a located position. They will discuss the need for a new, non-extractive model of knowledge production and circulation, and the necessity to rethink logistics and infrastructures, while also addressing the need to develop located frameworks for thinking through indigeneity, naturecultures and the disciplining of knowledges.

Andy Butler, Program Curator at Westspace, will host a Q&A with Forrest Curriculum at the conclusion of their presentation.

31 March
Collaborations with Nature
José Roca, Artistic Director, Biennale of Sydney

José Roca will discuss the importance of sustainability and collaboration within artistic and curatorial practice. He will introduce his long term project, FLORA ars+natura, which informed his initial provocations for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, scheduled to open in 2022. Within the context of the Biennale, Roca and his curatorium of local curators will expand on themes of extinction and regeneration, with ideas of sustainability and collaboration being integral to the working methods and practices that the Biennale will platform. In addition, Roca will reflect on the temporalities of the biennale timeframe and long-term artistic projects, proposing ways of instigating new and regenerating existing artistic relationships of the Biennale’s past.

Curatorial Practice PhD candidate, Madeleine Collie, will host a Q&A with José at the conclusion of his talk.

14 April
Emily McDaniel, curator, educator and storyteller

Emily McDaniel is a Sydney based curator from the Kalari Clan of the Wiradjuri Nation whose practice focuses on storytelling. With a background in learning and public programming, Emily works across organisations to connect Country, community and change.

Tara McDowell, Director of Monash’s Curatorial Practice PhD Program, will host a Q&A with Emily at the conclusion of her talk.

21 April
Planet City
Ryan Griffen and Liam Young, writer and architect

Indigenous writer, Ryan Griffen, and speculative architect, Liam Young, converse about their work Planet City, which was recently presented at the NGV Triennial. These two practitioners will share insights into their individual practices and discuss the powerful potential of speculative architecture and literature in worldbuilding.

Dr Alex Brown, architect and a senior lecturer within Monash’s Department of Architecture, will convene a Q&A with Ryan and Liam at the conclusion of their conversation.

28 April
Through a lens of visitation
Dale Harding, artist

A descendant of the Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal peoples of central Queensland, Dale Harding’s multilayered practice is poetic and political in its materiality and process, and has a strong focus on community, family and place. Dale will speak to his exhibition, Through a lens of visitation, which explores the artist’s relationship to Carnarvon Gorge, and includes a selection of existing works and a major textile commission with his mother, Kate Harding. Through a lens of visitation is presented at MUMA from 28 April to 26 June and is accompanied by a publication of writings by women scholars that reflect on the history of the Gorge and speculate on its resonances within Australian modernism.

Exhibition curator and MUMA’s Senior Curator, Hannah Mathews, will host a Q&A with Dale at the conclusion of his artist talk.

Form x Content is presented by Monash Art, Design and Architecture.
Programmed by Monash University Museum of Art.

Form x Content