'Ecologies of Land and Sea': Sydney Environment Institute

KSCA member Laura Fisher will be participating in the upcoming colloquium 'Art, Science, Oceans' which is being convened by the Space, Place and Country research cluster at Sydney College of the Arts in association with Sydney Environment Institute.

Friday 12 August, 2016


The day brings together scientific, humanist and artistic scholars from The University of Sydney and Vanderbilt University to discuss the human impact on the planet’s marine realm and the significance of the ocean to contemporary research, writing and artistic practice. The Great Barrier Reef will be a focus of the day, and installation artist Janet Laurence will speak about Deep Breathing-Resuscitation for the Reef (2015), her acclaimed work created in response to the beauty but also the degradation of the Reef through ocean warming and acidification.

Laura will be speaking about Sugar vs the Reef, a collaborative project involving artists Lucas Ihlein, Ian Milliss (also KSCA members) and Kim Williams. The project is taking place in Mackay, Queensland, where the chemical run-off from sugar cane farming is a major cause of damage to the Great Barrier Reef.  Sugar vs the Reef is a continuation of The Yeomans Project, which examined the legacy of Australian farming innovator P. A. Yeomans through the very suggestive trope of “the farmer as artist”. Ihlein and Milliss described the latter project as ‘an opportunity to look at art as an entirely utilitarian enterprise – one that proposes new, creative and sustainable ways of working with land’.

Sugar vs the Reef is a socially engaged art project that makes farming, scientific, activist and artistic domains permeable to each other. Laura's been thinking a lot about permeability as both an artistic strategy and an environmental problem, and will try to speak coherently about those ideas. She'll also share what she's learnt about the differing viewpoints on art, agriculture and the reef that participants are bringing to the project.


The Sydney Environment Institute published a blog post written by SCA's Ann Elias about the day here.