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Dr James Parker
University of Melbourne
Dr Emma Russell
La Trobe University
Dr Poppy de Souza
Griffith University
André Dao (Panel Chair)
University of Melbourne

Since 2013, nearly two thousand men have been indefinitely detained on Manus Island 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 forcefully evicted to new, smaller detention centers in Lorengau, the major town on Manus.  how are you today is a collaboration between some of these men on Manus – Farhad Bandesh, Behrouz Boochani, Samad Abdul, Shamindan Kanapathi, Kazem Kazemi and Abdul Aziz Muhamat – and Michael Green, André Dao and Jon Tjhia in Melbourne. The work was commissioned for Eavesdropping, an exhibition held at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, between July and October 2018. Every day for the fourteen weeks of the exhibition, one of the men on Manus made a sound recording and sent it ‘onshore’ for swift upload to the gallery. By the project’s end, there were eighty-four recordings in total, each ten minutes long. The result is an archive of fourteen hours—too large to synthesise, yet only a tiny fraction of the men’s ongoing interment. This panel explores that archive from a range of different perspectives. Each panelist interrogates what how are you today might say as an artwork and as an archive of evidence, in relation to the evolving forms and logics of off-shore detention, settler-colonial carcerality, and resistance to them.

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