Hidden Infrastructures, Wild Undercurrents

Initiator

Fiona Hillary

Collaborators

David Carlin, Jordan Lacey, Wendy Steele, Aviva Reed + others

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FESTIVAL OF ENDANGERED URBANISM PANEL, SEPT 17, 2021

HIDDEN INFRASTRUCTURES, WILD UNDERCURRENTS


Overview: Artistic intervention, speculative proposition, community discussion—this experimental panel focused on the hidden infrastructures and wild undercurrents of inner-city Melbourne from an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing into view the subversive, dirty, multi-sensory, lived nature of the city - and the many ways we are all emplaced within it. This live/digital performance was inspired by the spaces in and between the Collingwood Yards and Collingwood Underground Carpark in inner-city Melbourne, inviting the online audience into an experience of the city’s metaphoric and literal subterranea through the lens of dirt theory.


Panel: A/Prof Wendy Steele (Urban Research), Prof David Carlin (Creative Writing), Dr Fiona Hillary (Art in Public Space), Dr Jordan Lacey (Soundscape Design), Aviva Reed (Visual Ecologist), Liam Fenaughty (KERB Journal of Landscape Architecture) and Ana Lara Heyns, Alexandre Faustino, Rachel Iampolski and Nicolas Guerra (The Alliance for Praxis Research)


Summary: This was a panel that roamed, tracing the human and more-than-human entanglements of what lies beneath the city and its culture/natures. Our interest in exploring the hidden infrastructures and wild undercurrents of urban subterranea is to spark different kinds of conversations, understandings and rhizomic actions around climate change. This draws on research and creative artistic engagement with underground ecologies, ecosystems and communities that are increasingly threatened and vulnerable. Key provocations and questions raised by the panel include: What happens when climate activism goes underground? How do government and industry agendas reverberate beneath our feet? What are the wild undercurrents and hidden infrastructures coursing all around? How do we encounter feral ecologies, contaminated creativity and stray ethics? How can we sensory imagination act as a precursor to critical praxis? And how do we create space for conversations and rituals that create the conditions for regeneration and wild life? To really shift the sustainability of cities and regions requires a thoroughly problematic glimpse of our urban habitats and fetishes as we move into an ever-uncertain, endangered future.