the taxonomic kingdom comprising all animals
Twenty-thirteen was a fruitful year for us at Critical Animals. We celebrated 10 years of the symposium with our biggest program ever (comprising panels, performances, exhibitions and one helluva party), while also realising our ambitious dream of producing a publication to mark this milestone – Critical Animalia: a decade between disciplines.
It takes a lot of things to keep a small interdisciplinary creative research symposium going for ten years. Patience, blind faith, a sense of humour and so on. But most importantly, it takes the on-going enthusiasm of hundreds of participants who by sharing their fascinating work with others have kept the Critical Animals community alive.
Critical Animalia is dedicated to all those characters who have played a role in our journey over the years.
With that in mind, we are excited to share Critical Animalia with you here. Launched at our 2013 festival, you can buy a copy of the journal via Paypal. Not only is a monument to the brains trust of Critical Animals past and present, it’s also a beautiful object in its own right. Just to show you that we love you, you can also download a free PDF version of it too.
To provide you with a little taste of Critical Animalia’s top-notch content, we’d like to share a poem written by one of CA’s past participants. In 2009 Australian poet Lou Smith performed a site-specific poetry reading at sunset on Newcastle Beach, which explored the politics of place and cultural memory. It being her hometown, we fell in love with the way that Lou’s poem portrays the unique combination of things that Newie is to us all. It has been a wonderful home for our strange festival.
The hoons cruise in hotted-up cars
Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights
round the Foreshore, elbows out,
hair polished back
they lap Fort Scratchley
daffodil yellow & traffic red
donuts of the East End
they park at Nobbys’
bonnets up, doors open
watching as the moon lights the harbour
and the view of Woon-a-tee
where the old hydraulic power station,
we tried sneaking into
glows under orange-hued spotlights
forgotten, Satanic some say…
after midnight, they clog up Maccas’ Drive-Thru
near SJs & The Castle
hoon up Hunna St
and we yell back
and from them,
drag race on Kooragang Island
the road—wide & straight
past the fertiliser plant
& the woodchip pile
& the mangroves
rich in riversalt
Woon-a-tee – place of crabs, Carrington
Awabakal word and meaning sourced from John Maynard, Ed. Awabakal Word Finder and Dreaming Stories Companion. Southport, QLD: Keeiara Press, 2004.
Apology: The print-version of our humble publication included a typo in the final line of The Hoons. Please refer to the online and PDF copies of this publication for the accurate version. Many thanks to Lou Smith for her understanding.