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Artists in Conference

The ‘artists in conference’ section of the conferences is an articulation of the Southern Cross University School of Law and Justice ‘law and humanities artist in residence’ program, which liaises and inscribes a diverse number of artists with and within the scholarly activities of the School.

Statement ‘Untitled’:
John Reid

Open area, Building C, Level 6
Every day

Adapt, Mitigate, Innovate, Unite: Climate Science on a Burning Planet, Grayson Cooke and Jean S Renouf

Video Wall, Building C, Ground Level
Every day:
8-10am, 12-2pm, 4-7pm [more]

how are you today
'Behrouz takes a photo of the jungle’ 

Level 6, Building C, Room C6.03 [more]

Statement ‘Untitled’:
John Reid, Emeritus Fellow, Australian National University

Throughout the conference, John Reid will work on ‘Untitled (Collage of Australian banknotes)’, Detail, 1982 –.

The subject of the artwork is political or enforced disappearances. The work was initiated in 1982 in response to Amnesty International’s ‘Disappearance Campaign’ triggered by the criminal political climate in Central and South America; and the Australian government’s relationship with Indonesia and policy on East Timor.

Usually, enforced disappearances are inflicted by governments to suppress popular opposition to repressive economic policies maintained through military aid from foreign governments who are accomplices in the economic exploitation to support affluent living standards in their own countries.

The intent of the artwork is to appeal for ethical vigilance against Australian government foreign policies that are fuelled by greed. The conceptual relationship between the artwork’s focus on economic exploitation and its medium of money serves to visually dramatise the intent; and to attract scrutiny of it by the State and subsequently the media. From 1984 to 1987, the artwork was legally contested which enhanced the impact of the work.

‘Untitled’ is a process artwork. Its exhibition is performative and, in addition to the presentation of the collage, includes the creative procedures of its production in the gallery space.

John Reid
John Reid

John Reid is an Emeritus Fellow of the Australian National University. He has a BA(ANU), 1973, a MFA(UNSW), 1995, and is an Associate of the Industrial Design Institute of Australia (Graphic Design), 1972.

He was a staff member at The Australian National University School of Art from 1978–2013 where he integrated a visual art practice in photography, collage and performance about the environment, human rights and cultural identity into his role as a researcher, teacher, curator and graphic designer.

He continues to work as a visual artist, mentor and as a consultant on the engagement of creative artists in science communication strategies.

Adapt, Mitigate, Innovate, Unite: Climate Science on a Burning Planet
Associate Professor Grayson Cooke & Dr Jean S Renouf, Southern Cross University

This project combines quotes from climate scientists and climate change experts with climate data and satellite images of Australia.

The quotes are from interviews conducted by Dr Jean S. Renouf as part of a research project which seeks to understand what measures climate change experts personally implement to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change on their own lives and on the lives of their (grand)children.

The satellite images are produced by A/Prof. Grayson Cooke as part of an ongoing project exploring creative uses of satellite data. The images derive from Geoscience Australia’s “Digital Earth Australia” platform which is supported by the National Computational Infrastructure and the Australian Government. Across the images, text and climate data, a complex tension and resonance emerges between environmental and anthropogenic forces operating at local and global scales.

Associate Professor Grayson Cooke
Associate Professor Grayson Cooke

Born in New Zealand and based in Australia, Grayson Cooke is an interdisciplinary scholar and media artist, Associate Professor of Media in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University.

Grayson has presented media art and live audio-visual performance works in Australia and internationally, and he has exhibited and performed in major international festivals such as the Japan Media Arts Festival, the WRO Media Art Biennale, the Imagine Science Film Festival in New York, VIDEOFORMES in France and the Currents New Media festival in Santa Fe. As a scholar he has published widely in academic journals, and he is also an associate editor for the scholarly journal “Transformations.” He holds an interdisciplinary PhD from Concordia University in Montreal.

Dr Jean S Renouf
Dr Jean S Renouf

Dr Jean S. Renouf is an academic, a professional firefighter and a dad.

Prior to becoming a lecturer in Politics and International Relations at Southern Cross University, he worked as an international aid worker and a researcher in war zones and natural disasters.

All of this informs his interest for climate change and ethical approaches to security.

how are you today
On Manus: Farhad Ban­desh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamin­dan Kana­p­athi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat; In Melbourne: Michael Green, André Dao and Jon Tjhia

Since 2013, nearly two thou­sand men have been indef­i­nitely detained on Manus Island, PNG, by the Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment – after arriv­ing in this coun­try seek­ing asylum. When the Manus Regional Pro­cess­ing Centre was for­mally closed on 31 Octo­ber 2017, after the Papua New Guinea Supreme Court declared it uncon­sti­tu­tional, the men still detained there were ordered to relo­cate to new, smaller deten­tion cen­ters in Loren­gau, the major town on Manus. The author­i­ties elim­i­nated pro­vi­sions and removed the diesel gen­er­a­tors pow­er­ing the facil­ity, but the men refused to leave: the cul­mi­na­tion of years of organ­ised resis­tance against their invol­un­tary and indef­i­nite deten­tion. Even­tu­ally, they were force­fully evicted.

The work com­mis­sioned for Eaves­drop­ping is a col­lab­o­ra­tion between some of these men – Farhad Ban­desh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamin­dan Kana­p­athi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat on Manus – and Michael Green, André Dao and Jon Tjhia in Mel­bourne. Every day for the dura­tion of the exhi­bi­tion, one of the men on Manus will make a sound record­ing – of any­thing they like or noth­ing much at all – and send it ​‘onshore’ for swift upload to the gallery. No doubt the vagaries of weather, black­outs and tech­nol­ogy, along with chang­ing per­sonal, polit­i­cal and legal con­texts, will inter­vene along the way.

how are you today opens a chan­nel for a form of speech at a moment when words seem to have been exhausted. It is at once an extremely inti­mate work – a rare oppor­tu­nity to listen to these men lis­ten­ing, only very recently, some four thou­sand kilo­me­tres away – and a highly polit­i­cal one. It intro­duces the Manus sound­scape to the gallery not just for the sake of the sounds-in-them­selves, not just as a matter of curios­ity (though the work will surely pro­duce an archive of real his­tor­i­cal value), but in a way that directly impli­cates the lis­tener and demands that we attend to the politico-legal con­texts that pro­duce and frame them.

Manus recording list [pdf 30k]  //

Behrouz takes a photo of the jungle

Aziz crosses the street in Lorengau

Samad Abdul

Samad has been detained in an Aus­tralian run off­shore deten­tion centre on Manus for the last five years. He loves cricket and his only dream was to be a pro­fes­sional crick­eter but politi­cians have taken his dream and used him as a polit­i­cal pris­oner. Although his five years will not come back, he now wants to be a social worker to help those who are in pain.

Farhad Bandesh

A 36-year-old Kur­dish musi­cian, painter and poet who has been detained on Manus Island for over five years. Before seek­ing asylum, he worked as a guitar maker, and has no formal art train­ing. Whilst in deten­tion, he has pro­duced solo and col­lab­o­ra­tive works of music, art and writ­ing. He loves nature and is a keen gar­dener; his sis­ters now look after his plants.

Behrouz Boochani

A Kur­dish-Iran­ian writer, jour­nal­ist, scholar, cul­tural advo­cate and film­maker. He was writer for the Kur­dish lan­guage mag­a­zine Werya. He writes reg­u­larly for The Guardian and sev­eral other pub­li­ca­tions. Boochani is also co-direc­tor (with Arash Kamali Sar­ves­tani) of the 2017 fea­ture-length film Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time, and author of No Friend but the Moun­tains: Writ­ing from Manus Prison. He has been held on Manus Island since 2013.

André Dao

A writer of fic­tion and non-fic­tion. He is the co-founder of Behind the Wire, an oral his­tory project doc­u­ment­ing people’s expe­ri­ence of immi­gra­tion deten­tion, and the deputy editor of New Philoso­pher. He is also a qual­i­fied lawyer, and has worked with asylum seek­ers and refugees in a legal capac­ity.

Michael Green

Writer, radio-maker and pro­ducer. He is the host of The Mes­sen­ger pod­cast and his work has won many national and inter­na­tional awards, includ­ing the 2017 Walk­ley Award for Radio/​Audio fea­ture. He has trav­elled to Manus Island twice.

Shamindan Kanapathi

Shamindan is a Sri Lankan Tamil refugee. In Sri Lanka he was a mar­ket­ing exec­u­tive and a stu­dent.

Kazem Kazemi

A 36-year-old Kur­dish musi­cian, heavy metal and rock song­writer and poet. Before seek­ing asylum in Aus­tralia, he lived in Khor­ramshahr, Iran, and worked as an elec­tri­cian.

Abdul Aziz Muhamat

Abdul is a 25-year-old man from Darfur, Sudan. He is from the Zaghawa eth­nic­ity, and with his family, he fled his vil­lage to a refugee camp. He arrived in Aus­tralia by boat in 2013 and was taken to Manus Island, where he remains. He has become one of the pri­mary public voices among the men there, includ­ing through the multi-award win­ning pod­cast, The Mes­sen­ger.

Jon Tjhia

Radio-maker, musi­cian and writer. As the Wheeler Centre’s senior dig­i­tal editor, he led the Wheeler Centre’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Behind the Wire to pro­duce The Mes­sen­ger. He’s a co-founder of Paper Radio and the Aus­tralian Audio Guide.

‘Ragnarok (Song of the Three)’
Jonathan Harlen

Jonathan will be performing his song ‘Ragnarok (Song of the Three)’ which, quite appropriately, is a song about the end of the world!, at post-Plenary drinks on Monday 2 December.

Jonathan Harlen
Jonathan Harlen

In the mid-1980s – that is to say, a very long time ago – Jonathan sang, played bass, and wrote songs in the band Wildlife, which performed in and around Sydney at venues including the Woollahra Hotel, The Rooty Hills RSL, and the Tivoli. He also collaborated for two years with Gretel Killeen, providing music and voiceovers for radio 2JJJ’s breakfast show in Sydney, in the days of DJ Rusty Nails.

After a long hiatus he has returned to songwriting and performing, however these days mostly performs solo with acoustic guitar. He describes his current style as ‘somewhere between urban gospel and country noir’. Influences include Blind Boys of Alabama, Ry Cooder, Dylan, and Sam Beam (Iron & Wine). He recently appeared at the Ballina Country Music Festival and gigs occasionally at other Far North Coast venues.

“Atonement” by Demiurge
Dr David Weir, Maya Sapir, Rochelle Bowles and Dr Kirsten Pavlovic

“Atonement” is a short multimedia piece interpreting some of the moods and messages suggested by the conference theme of Law in the ‘end times’. It reflects an urgency, a sombreness and hope-fulness that stretch from ancient apocalyptic apprehensions and religious texts to contemporary perceptions of the state of emergency that, no longer the exception, has become the rule. Drawing images and musical motifs from art and popular culture the performance seeks to set a tone rather than suggest a strategy.

Dr David Weir, Maya Sapir, Rochelle Bowles and Dr Kirsten Pavlovic


Demiurge is a musical collaborative formed from time to time, mainly between four friends, Dr David Weir, Maya Sapir, Rochelle Bowles and Dr Kirsten Pavlovic, that met as students of contemporary music at Southern Cross University during the 1990s. This incarnation also features Michael Keogh on trombone. Currently, David (guitar, studio engineer and vocals) and Maya (bass and vocals) also perform and record as the musical duo, Tupenny Opera; Rochelle (vocals and tabla) teaches music to children and performs with various other musicians; and Kirsten (vocals and key-board) is working on an album of original material and at other times works as a casual academic in SCU’s School of Law and Justice.

The video is created by Suellen and Kirsten.

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