After stopping off in Melbourne for the launch of Art and Australia and a book about a work I did in Mildura, MINEFIELD at the Australian centre for contemporary art, I flew to Sydney and was driven up to Kandos by Alex Wisser in early November. I stayed at Ann Finegans’ Kandos Projects, a converted general store in the main street of Kandos a small town with an uncertain future that has become something of an artists’ haven with cheap unoccupied buildings available in a state where housing has become unaffordable particularly for low income artists. The Residency is a precursor to the Cementa 17 arts festival that I have been invited to in April 17
I timed the residency to include the Futureland2 conference that bought together a hundred plus people including a number of environmental activists, farmers and artists including Bruce Pascoe as keynote speaker who talked about his recent book Dark Emu which documents the sophistication and extent of pre colonial aboriginal farming techniques.
Futurelands2 took place on 12-13 November in Kandos, NSW. 130 people, children and dogs from across NSW and further afield listened, talked, mingled and dined between the Kandos Community Hall, Marloo farm and the extraordinary pagodas of Ganguddy/Dunns Swamp in the Wollemi National Park. Innovative farmers, Indigenous historians and land custodians, soil scientists, economists, writers and artists explored emerging practices in farming, land care, food and energy production and inspired new conversations about the human relationship to land.
Futurelands2 was staged by the Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation (KSCA). It was proudly hosted by Cementa Inc within the annual public program of the Cementa Contemporary Arts Festival, in partnership with the Material Ecologies Research Network (MECO) at University of Wollongong and the Space, Place and Country research cluster from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney. It was convened by Laura Fisher and co-organised by Laura Fisher, Diego Bonetto, Ann Finegan, Gilbert Grace, Alex Wisser, Lucas Ihlein, Christine McMillan, Georgie Pollard & Ian Milliss, all of whom are founding members of KSCA.
The conference was brilliantly organized and presented with comprehensive coverage of the problems and potential solutions but somewhat mitigated by the depressing political situations in NSW with massive illegal land clearing and in Australia with the dominate right wing cultural attack and the world with the information of the trump victory and the potential environmental nightmare to follow. Highlights, however included examples of revegitated land practices, the use of sustainable hemp farming, community organizing and funding with a fabulous sit down dinner for a 100 plus utalising the local weeds and indigenous ingrediants and directed by the artist Diego Bonetto
Highlights of my residency including a journey to various farms and local artists studios, the local opshops, and the brilliant tip shop, the burning coal mine, a workshop in eduino interacrtive with Solange Kershaw and Damian Castaldi, with special thanks to Alex Wisser and Geogie Pollard. Also special thanks to dr Ali who recovered my spiked leg injury at his clinic