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by Ira Ferris
posted 10/04/2021

Sympoiesis with Danielle Celermajer and Julie Vulcan

Every second Arts Monday, we are focusing on art and environmentalism, featuring in-depth conversations with artists whose practice has care for the environment at its core.

On Monday 12 April, from 10:30 – 11am, Ira will be in conversation with author, multi-species justice advocate, and environmentalist Danielle Celermajer, to talk about and read from her recently published book Summertime, written in the shadow of 2019/2020 Australian bushfires. We will talk about what is it to have a felt connection to land and embodied knowledge of climate change; about stewardship and responsibility; and about the possibilities between climate despair and hope.

Here is a short extract from Summertime:

“It is an idea often associated with Indigenous peoples, that it is humans who belong to Country and not the other way around. That we humans cannot own the land but are only ever its custodians, a duty that we can both observe and abuse. […] True, there is no getting away from the facts that this property paradigm is the way that we humans (or at least those who get to make the rules) have come to organise the planet and pretty much everything on it. […] And where our presence is pervasive, where we have covered the land with concrete and bitumen, levelled it, ploughed and planted it, changed the direction of the water so it runs through pipes we have dug into the ground, blocked the movement of the light and the shifts in temperature so we can adjust them according to our comfort, it is easy to become convinced that it is all here for us.” (15-16)

After that, from 11am to midday, Julie Vulcan will be with us to share her poem Ash, also written in the aftermath of fires which roared through the bush home she shares with her partner, trees, plants, fungi, critters and creatures. Miraculously her modest house survived despite fire licking at its concrete edges, the house now standing amidst a sea of ash. Julie’s recent works are a response to these events, embedded in the ongoing body of work WishingDARK. One of these is a poetic-video Dark Interludes, which she made in collaboration with Michelle St Anne and The Living Room Theatre.

Music wise, you can expect a variety of field recordings and music composed with environmental sounds, giving voice to nature and expanding the anthropocentric definition of what constitutes music in the first place. Today, we will feature work by German/Canadian field recordist and acoustic ecologist, Hildegard Westerkamp. Westerkamp was a member of R. Murray Schafer  World Soundscapes Project in Vancouver in the late ’60s, and is one of the pioneers of the practice of soundwalking which encourages deep listening to the surrounding environment. As a composer, Westerkamp’s work centres on environmental sound. As an environmentalist, she sees hope in slowing down and listening. Westerkamp is a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE, 1993), serving between 2000 and 2012 as chief editor of its journal Soundscape—The Journal of Acoustic Ecology.


This episode is now available here.



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