MAKE OR BREAK: DEPARTMENT OF NON-HUMAN RESOURCES (DONHR)


Started: 2021

Time/labour: ︎︎︎︎︎

Thanks to: Gabrielle Chantiri, Sigrid Macdonald, Mark Dunphy, Kylie Caldwell, Holly Ahern, Max Nimmo, Asphyxia, Dr Hanabeth Luke, Sara Schmude

environment // waste // critique // community // non-human // observation // systems // futures

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Image: Make or Break, The Department of Non-Human Resources: River Procession, 2021, photo by Lucy Parakhina.
THE DEPARTMENT OF NON-HUMAN RESOURCES subjects the gallery space to a collective rethinking, examining its relationship to consumption, waste, knowledge production, cycles of nature and community needs. This participatory project invites speculation and observation from non-human perspectives — such as a river, soil, plant or insect — in order to learn from systems and materials and establish new ways of thinking and being together. We ask (and attempt to answer) questions of sustainability and sustainment for uncertain futures.

This project was first commissioned by Lismore Regional Gallery, in Bundjalung/Northern Rivers NSW. Make or Break worked with the local community, creating collective moments of future speculation, manifested through writing, planting, prototyping, reading together, walking and storytelling. Beginning in a “packed state”, the exhibition was assembled with input from the public, making use of borrowed or rescued materials, which could be sat upon, moved, edited, archived and re-organised throughout the project.

Some of the exhibition elements at Lismore included a library of borrowed texts, a river snake cushion that referred to both gallery dimensions and the confluence of two rivers in the town, an explanatory wall text that the public could live edit and question, moveable walls of first sentences for stories that have not been written, and palm-sized brass objects to “think with”.

This project was first commissioned by Lismore Regional Gallery, with support from the Australia Council of the Arts, Create NSW and Arts Northern Rivers.

Media:
Eastside Radio: ‘Sympoiesis’ interviews Make or Break
Artlink: Transformative communities: Curation and care