More-than-human Social Relations in the Anthropocene – AAANZ 2018

I am pleased to be convening this panel with Dr Pip Newling at Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art, the 2018 annual conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, December 5-8, RMIT Melbourne.

More-than-human Social Relations in the Anthropocene: Art, Extinction and nonhuman futures at home and abroad

The work of art in the Anthropocene is under interrogation by contemporary artists, theorists, historians and curators. New collaborations across the emerging open-field of the postconventional humanities and arts are creating alternative critical frameworks to engage with: the human is more-than-human and the social is an ecosocial domain in this age of extinction and climate change.

In the past forty years, as scientists and environmental humanists have recently documented, the abundance of thousands of monitored animal species on the planet more than halved. In Australia this year, a new scientific assessment of imperilled fauna warns of a coming wave of bird and mammal extinctions in the next two decades if there is no change to cultural business as usual. This adds to entangled histories of colonisation and species extinctions regionally, most notably of Australian mammals and New Zealand birds.

Art has long been a site of experimentation, debate and speculation, nuanced translation, and active intervention. We ask: What is the work of art and art history in confronting extinction now? How are contemporary artists in Oceania engaging with transformed and precarious naturecultures or Country? What is the role of art historians, theorists and curators in this conversation? Can new perspectives be gained from socially engaged and participatory art methodologies alongside exhibition practices and scholarship? How can art communicate, intervene or create alternative frameworks for more capacious nonhuman futures? We invite papers and presentations on practices, case studies, collaborative projects, and alternative pathways that engage with the new age of extinction at home and abroad.


Citation ☛ Boscacci, Louise and Newling, Phillipa 2018, ‘More-than-Human Social Relations in the Anthropocene: Art, Extinction and Nonhuman Futures at Home and Abroad’,  Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art, AAANZ (Art Association of Australia and New Zealand) Conference, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne, 5–7 December 2018.




I presented this paper, with a new project in the mix that proposes and works with  More-than-human Ecobiography. Stay tuned.

Melomys and the Anemometer:

Unsettling Climate change Extinction in a Photograph and New Interdisciplinary Ecobiography. 


See abstract, page 77: AAANZ 2018-abstracts and bios

Z_Melomys abstract 2018


ALL Abstracts:



May 11: Fossil CO2 in the atmosphere measured at 415 ppm – not known in the history of human existence on the planet; closest to atmospheric concentrations in the Pliocene 4 mya (known from ice core data). See:

415ppm 11 may 2019

May 13:

Call on the PM to protect Torres Strait Islanders on the climate frontline!

Torres Strait Islanders are bringing the first climate change case against the Australian federal government over human rights.

Supported by the region’s land and sea council Gur A Baradharaw Kod (GBK) and represented by lawyers with leading environmental law non-profit ClientEarth, Torres Strait Islanders are taking a climate change complaint against Australia to the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations. This case is the first of its kind in the world.

The Islanders will ask the UN committee to find that international human rights law means that Australia must increase its emission reduction target to at least 65% below 2005 levels by 2030, going net zero by 2050, and phasing out coal.

The Torres Strait is a pristine wilderness region, containing the most northerly part the Great Barrier Reef. The area is home to one of the world’s oldest living cultures, as well as rare species such as endangered turtles and dugongs.

But climate change is putting life on the islands of the Torres Strait at risk. Advancing seas are already threatening homes, as well as damaging burial grounds and sacred cultural sites. Many Islanders are worried that their islands could quite literally disappear in their lifetimes without urgent action, with severe impacts on their ability to practice their law and culture.

Right now, the Australian government has insufficient policies to meet its low emissions reduction target of 26-28% by 2030. Scientists say this target needs to be increased to protect the world’s most climate vulnerable populations, and for there to be any chance of saving the islands and the Great Barrier Reef.

Despite these facts, the Australian federal government acts as a powerful advocate for the fossil fuel industry, ignoring the existential threats the people in the islands face.”