Fouling / Concrescing / Artmaking: Three Habits of an Encrusting Ocean

To celebrate the contribution of Dr Killian Quigley, the Sydney Environment Institute’s first postdoctoral fellow, the Institute recently launched an annual lecture highlighting the breadth of research and impact of postdocs like Dr Quigley.

Fouling / Concrescing / Artmaking: Three Habits of an Encrusting Ocean

The inaugural Postdoctoral Fellowship lecture was given by Dr Killian Quigley, whose talk titled ‘Fouling / Concrescing / Artmaking: Three Habits of an Encrusting Ocean’ unpacked some of the dynamics that take place “where invertebrate organisms and sunken surfaces meet”. This longform article is an edited version of Dr Quigley’s presentation, which was given at the University of Sydney on  Tuesday 1 December 2020.

“Under the surface of the sea, encrusting marine life- forms take shape among and upon diverse substrates, “artificial” as well as “natural” — shipwrecks clad in sponges, oil platforms adorned with cup corals, aquaculture cages “fouled” by hydrozoans. This essay, which draws primarily on the discourses of Western science, aesthetics, and environmental humanities, asks how these encrusting lives challenge received impressions of place, relation, motility, and even life.”

Killian Quigley is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Sydney Environment Institute. His research spans literary history, aesthetic theory, the history of science, colonial and postcolonial studies, historical geography, and the environmental humanities. He is co-editor of The Aesthetics of the Undersea, author of articles on plasticmarine pastoral, and other subjects, and was researcher in residence, recently, with Works on Water/Underwater New York. He is the Research Lead on Unsettling Ecological Poetics and Ocean Ontologies.

Edited by Liberty Lawson

View Essay