Regional Assembly 2021-22
REGIONAL ASSEMBLY'S INAUGUAL COHORT GATHERED 13 TIMES BETWEEN JULY 2021 AND MAY 2022 AND BROUGHT TOGETHER PRACTITIONERS LIVING AND WORKING FROM AOTEAROA/NEW ZEALAND, INDIA, KASHMIR, THE PHILIPPINES, AND FIRST PEOPLE'S UNCEDED TERRITORIES ACROSS AUSTRALIA
The words of Tristen Harwood formed Notes on Assembling—responses, expansions and critical reflections on the program’s journey, with additional contributions from the cohort. While Cristian Tablazon produced the podcast Conversations with the Assembly that delves deep into the Assembly’s creative practices and lived experiences. Regional Assembly as a whole is coordinated by Alana Hunt.
Pieces produced during the inaugural Regional Assembly have been published in a booklet, now available to view online.
REGIONAL ASSEMBLY COHORT #1
REGIONAL ASSEMBLY GUESTS
Over the course of the program four special guests were invited to visit the program on the basis of their long standing and impactful practice operating outside of city centres. Generously sharing insights and provocations these guests were:
- Ali Cobby Eckermann a Yankunytjatjara / Kokatha poet and winner of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize (2017) who lives and works from regional South Australia.
- Tame Iti, Maori artist and cultural activist, joined with his two sons—Toi Iti and Wairere Iti—from his home at Rūātoki, a small settlement where he grew up in the Urewera area of Aotearoa.
- Amar Kanwar an artist and filmmaker who has worked with local communities resisting industrial interventions taking place in the eastern Indian state of Odisha since 1999.
- Julie Gough a Trawlwoolway artist and curator, whose work examines conflicting and hidden histories of Tasmania, often through her own family’s experiences.
Notes on Assembling is a collection of writing that will accumulate over the course of the Regional Assembly.
Three notes were crafted by Tristen Harwood an Indigenous writer, critic and independent researcher, a descendent of Numbulwar where the Rose River opens onto the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Regional Assembly artists Margaret Woodward, Uzma Falak and Desna Whaanga-Schollum have also contributed to Notes on Assembling.
considerations emergent on the first and second occasions of Regional Assembly
To murk, first acknowledge that the event of this text, an unfinished recording takes place and is made possible by ground, air, water, the unceded territory, the ground, water, sky Country of the…
Each one carries its origins into its designated future. One produces dirt, one water.
Each one carries its origins into its designated future. One produces dirt, one water.[i] It’s December here, or they say. I work where I eat, I write at the table. In this room a window looks onto…
Sandalwood: ten region epigraph
epigraph one “The world [Earth] is our sovereign, our solace, our beloved.” – Freya Mathews epigraph two Futility of all literary and artistic pursuits: • 80% of Earth’s biomass are plant species •…
If you eavesdropped
If you eavesdropped on our Assembly you would witness something that resembles a family gathered around the radio, as we tune in and out of thought, of speech and sound. Sometimes, through stutter…
because, one day if you do reach home, you must learn to pass the mic
I sit by my window opening to an assembly of five old generous plane trees. Their leaves like open palms seem to say: we are here and we know. The palmate leaves, with their veins arising from a…
Conversations with the Assembly is a podcast produced by Cristian Tablazon, foregrounding personal and networked histories, their distinct voices, and the imbrications of their diverse practices with the nuances of identity, locality, and place, the relations of production, and the broader geopolitical life, each episode will amplify, challenge, and entwine the many threads of discourse and dialogue that unfold during the Regional Assembly.
Cristian Tablazon is an artist and curator who lives and works in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines, where he co-runs Nomina Nuda, a small nonprofit curatorial platform and exhibition space.
Hana Pera Aoake
This idea of the end of the world is so ridiculous because for Indigenous peoples, we've experienced that many times. Which end of the world are you talking about?
All of my work is about our genealogy and origin and place and the environment. I understand that my practice needs to be able to give that kind of thing, that I work in a cycle with my community, with my place, so that there's hopefully mutual respect, reciprocity, and integrity in the work that I do. It's interrogating the way that colonialism has built the reality that we sit with on a day-to-day basis.
Developing a deeper understanding about story ownership and identifying my own colonial stories—it's all tied up with taking responsibility. On that first bush trip when I really felt my whiteness, I understood that it doesn't really matter if people know me—my skin colour stands for something much larger than myself, and I have to take responsibility for that.
A Published Event
A book is something that has to be held by the body and is taken into that space of quiet reading and study, and it's an object or artefact that can be returned to. I think there's something interesting in the book that it has this latent period sitting on a shelf or sitting somewhere and can be returned to, and each time the reader is kind of reinventing that experience. That's always enticed us, I think.
A big part of my practice has been about that reimagining and permission to be a cultural person who's not living on my lands and who doesn't have their language, the permission to be strong in who I am and what I do and to think of myself as a future ancestor. I tell these mums this is about allyship: that our children understand where they are and whose land it is, and that they walk with respect.
I really do like rocks and their shapes, and I think many of my marks relate to that sense of looking at layers of the earth beneath and remembering that the country is alive with those ancestors and stories in the landscape. There is definitely a spiritual attachment and thinking about the landscape as a living place where, at some point in time, I shall also become part of it.
Dust in capitalist ignation is the obsession with the act of cleaning and marginalising. It's obligatory in archaeology to clean the dust to see the past. My conception of dust comes from the caste system and thinking about the politics of purity. It's important to think about the history of waste in relation to our social and political condition.
I feel like there's a lot of potential in the space of art... especially at this time, to be able to hold space for the messiness, the chaos, the undoing of familiar logics and patterns and wirings of the world and of our brain. The empowerment and the agency that art and creative practices can offer are really integral as well to understand each of our own creative potential.
Elisa Jane Carmichael
I became really passionate about making work which was having a conversation about how our weaving techniques need to be recognized as the first forms of Australian textiles. It’s important to reflect on these techniques and then look at materials in the present day and think about how these techniques have informed the things that we live with, wear, and carry today....