Environment in Practice: Artmaking through Crisis  

'Terror Australis' (2009) by Dean Sewell
Wednesday 28 March 2018

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Level 6 Seminar Room
Charles Perkins Centre
University of Sydney


Environmental crisis is the prevailing condition of the present, but making art about it is notoriously hard. For starters, it often defies representation: many of the most significant changes wrought by, for instance, climate change – ocean acidification, say – do not lend themselves readily to visualization or narration. And for that matter, mainstream approaches to narrative and aesthetics may simply not do: to think, for example, with the massive scale of geological change, or the minute one of chemical composition, might require entirely new subjects, stories, and forms. Part of what’s at stake, surely, is that mainstream – dominant cultural traditions may need rejigging, or discarding, to make the requisite innovation possible. And there’s a serious risk, furthermore, of appearing to instrumentalise art, to reduce it to a means to an end.

This symposium invites artists and critics to reflect on these and other challenges, and to describe the strategies – and struggles – they evoke. Practitioners and scholars in various media, and from diverse traditions, will talk across boundaries to address common issues, and to inspire novel methods. On the field of making, theory and action intersect. Environment in Practice attends to those intersections, and their consequences for the futures of art, and of earth.


Dean Sewell, Documentary Photographer, Oculi
David Ritter, Greenpeace Australia Pacific
David Burrows. Artist
Philip Samartzis, Sound Artist
Ceridwen Dovey, Writer
Judith Beveridge, Poet
Genevieve Campbell, Musician
Michelle St Anne, Animateur, The Living Room Theatre


Ann Elias, Killian Quigley, Michelle St Anne

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