Earlwood Farm Presents… :: Events in April, August and December, 2015.

“Earlwood Farm Presents…” is a series of events occurring throughout 2015 linking the environment and art with politics. Art is often imagined as a marketing tool for environmental science and used to communicate existing scientific data around climate change, biodiversity loss, rising sea levels and ocean acidification, to name a few of the challenges we face. But artists are actually best equipped to critique the world as it is and cultivate radical new visions for the world as we’d like it to be.

The series of events will explore four different art forms–film, literature, dance and performance–and explore the ways they can help us think through the environmental crisis and re-imagine the world. This series an extension of our work at Earlwood Farm, a quarter acre rental property and domestic farm experiment in Earlwood that doubles as a site for art events, talks, critical research and academic symposia.

April 18, 2015
Fossil Fuelled Film.
Screening: Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood: 1-4pm
Discussion: Oil (Crude & Sacred) led by Demelza Marlin & Craig Johnson– 4-5pm

There Will Be Blood is an epic fable about modern fossil fuel production. It tells the story of Daniel Plainview’s quest to dominate the oil industry in California. Oil is not only a theme of the film, but a force actively shaping industrial America and relations between the characters.

This free screening and discussion is designed to open a space for reflection and conversation about oil, specifically how the film represents broader historical, ideological and geological forces involved in fossil fuel extraction. The discussion will be led by Demelza Marlin and Craig Johnson.

This is the first in a series of four “Earlwood Farm Presents…” events at Verge Gallery exploring different art forms and their capacity to represent environmental issues and mobilise political thought and action.

Speaker Profiles:
Dr Demelza Marlin received her PhD from UNSW in the Sociology of Religion. Her thesis was on Max Weber and the spirit of capitalism. She has also written about the sacred, semiotics and belonging. Last year she undertook an experiment on economic value and generosity called The Freestall.

Dr Craig Johnson is a renewable energy engineer, musician and Earlwood farmer.

August 15, 2015
Read Before Burning.
Do you remember the scene in The Day After Tomorrow where Jake Gyllenhaal is burning all the books in the New York Public Library in order to survive the apocalypse? This event pools our collective knowledge to think about stories, poems, fantasies and fictions that might have been in those books and briefly reflect on how they imply an alternative future or, at the very least, equip us with some imaginative tools to think about climate change in a different way. The story might not even be about the climate or weather or freezing tidal waves or science. At this event we ask participants to bring forward texts that explore less obvious, but nevertheless important aspects of the environmental crisis as represented in printed text.*

More background: The term “cli-fi” has started gaining traction in publishing and academic circles. “Cli-fi” is genre fiction about climate change. Recently, Stephanie LeMenager, provoked us to trouble genre and think about all writing as a form of “cli-fi”. But it made me think of this question: if everything is “cli-fi”, what writing (fiction or non-) represents some of the more important contours of the environmental crisis? This event hopes to crack open the question by inviting participants to offer up something you think represents an important aspect of the environmental crisis. What have you read that has triggered a thought about climate change or some related issue, but might not be an obvious candidate for a Nature writing award? We will collect the stories shared at this event and bring them together in an online archive. If it goes well, we might do it again and make that archive bigger. We have invited some people to respond formally, so come and listen to what they have to say. That said, anyone is free to take on the challenge.

– Bring a story, poem, novel, film or work of creative non-fiction (or less “formal” creative publications such as online blog posts, articles, creative non-fictions)
– *obviously film is not printed text, but it is an important part of the mix!
– Share the work by reading (if it is less than five minutes) or describing/summarising if it is a longer piece
– Explain why you think we should read this before burning
– Provide us with a link to the text or scan of the book cover to collect in an archive (if this inaugural event goes well we might have more).
– You will have the floor for a maximum of 10 minutes. Less is more.

December 12, 2015
Christmas Climate Change Variety Hour.
What happens to all our Christmassy fantasies when Santa’s workshop melts into the Arctic Ocean? In order to do anything about Climate Change, someone has to question current Christmas traditions and we think we need more than Christmas ornaments made locally out of recycled milk bottles to do so. But also maybe we still want good food and holidays?

Hosted by Sydney’s most vocally versatile feminist songstresses, Lady Sings it Better, and featuring performances from local artists including Betty Grumble, Tom Hogan, Maria White and Emma McManus, Nathan Harrison, Alana Wesley, Julia Patey and Ellipsis, Christmas Climate Change Variety Hour is a play on carols by candlelight questioning the conceptual and material sustainability of Christmas with singalong, dance, mime, poetry, durational performance and experimental lectures. Presented by Earlwood Farm in association with Verge Gallery and supported by the City of Sydney.