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Passive // Aggressive - Art in Activation

Artist Susie Marcroft in conversation with Ballina Councillor and environmental spokesperson Jeff Johnson

Sunday 4 October  |  3.00pm - 4.00pm

Our dominant rational and linear ways of knowing have traditionally served humans by distancing their fellow creatures. However new perceptions of conscious awareness in non-human animals, and developmental threats to wildlife habitat, increasingly raise ethical imperatives to address the complex social, political and judicial conundrums that plague human-animal relations and interactions, particularly when in public spaces species collide. Addressing these issues begs for alternative modes of ‘knowing’ that do not privilege reason over the emotions, but merge both in a vital interplay between head and heart.

In seeking new meanings and understandings to address these conundrums, we can look to artistic epistemology, or aesthetic ways of knowing. Artists are ideally situated in their transdisciplinary and collaborative practices to generatively harness otherwise disparate or conflicting elements. Contradictory, oppositional tensions perceived in a work of art that simultaneously attract and repulse a viewer, insist on a creative ‘reperceiving’. In psychologically wrestling with such ‘empathetic unease’, a process of oscillation between the rational and the intuitive can occur, arriving at new understandings.

Ballina Councillor and spokesperson for the Save the Ballina Koala initiative, Jeff Johnson, joins artist Susie Marcroft in conversation to explore the political paradoxes and tensions confronting the protection of this threatened species and how trans-disciplinary artistic collaborations can work to better inform public awareness and effect political outcomes.


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