Seaweed as Collaborator


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Seaweed figures prominently as food, fibre and fuel in possible remedial futures for our troubled Earth. Fast-growing and nutrient-dense, kelp captures carbon (and, increasingly, us). But captivating as it is, seaweed is more than a resource to extract and be extracted. Beyond the promises of the ‘blue economy’, in its specificity and its multiplicity, seaweed has a life and existence and subjectivity of its own. What would a more seaweed-centric point of view look like? Can we tune our listening to the non-human others below the waterline? We gather seaweed, but how does seaweed gather us?

This will be an open guided discussion with artists, marine ecologists and seaweed. Featuring texts, tastes, objects, recipes and activities exploring multispecies encounters in the lives of seaweed from the polar North to our own southern waters, from above and below, in the big picture and at the microscopic level.

This session will be led by Danni Zuvela, with members of the Seaweed Appreciation Society International; Pirjo Haikola; Makiko Yamamoto; Scale Free Network (Gregory Crocetti and Briony Barr); and will be accompanied with sights and sounds from the recent International Kelp Congress in Lofoten, Northern Norway.

This event is supported by RACV.

Wominjeka (Welcome). We acknowledge the Yaluk-ut Weelam as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. Yaluk-ut Weelam means ‘people of the river camp’ and is connected with the coastal land at the head of Port Phillip Bay, extending from the Werribee River to Mordialloc. The Yaluk-ut Weelam are part of the Boon Wurrung, one of the five major language groups of the greater Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to the land, their ancestors and their elders—past, present and to the future.