Mutable Ecologies - online exhibition and public program

2021 marks 10 years since the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. In this decade Australia and Japan have experienced an increase in extreme environmental events which have impacted on rural and urban ways of life. These events and their relationship to human activity are subject to increasing debate.

Mutable Ecologies considers how innovations in art, design and architecture can interrogate the effects of these changing environmental conditions to offer new insights and awareness of ecological futures. It comprises leading creative practitioners in Australia and Japan delivering a series of online exhibitions, workshops and discussions that explore emerging practices, technologies and interfaces between art, design and architecture to advance global responses to ecological transformations.

The project will connect practitioners, the public and organisations to build on and strengthen existing partnerships to reveal Australia’s strong cultural and economic relationship with Japan and shared values of community engagement, ecological resilience and sustainable futures.

View the exhibition here.

Artists include

Don’t Follow the Wind

Hikaru Fujii

Yoichi Kamimura

Yuko Mohri

Clinton Naina

Yhonnie Scarce

Polly Stanton

Mutable Ecologies Public Program

Join us for the final public forum for Mutable Ecologies.

Wednesday, 24 November – Commencing 2.30pm AEDT / 12.30pm Tokyo

Miranda Nieboer, Traverse 3. Courtesy of Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile Victor (IPEV).

Inhabiting Extremes explores ways artists, designers and scientists are registering and communicating anthropogenic impacts caused by climate change and nuclear testing. The forum includes discussions on the design of Antarctic research stations, rising sea levels, the impact of nuclear testing on traditional owners, science communication, and new ways of measuring urban microclimates. Inhabiting Extremes offers a rich and diverse transcultural insight into places seldom seen or heard, yet central to the health and wellbeing of our planet.

Opening reading and presentation by award-winning Indigenous author and climate activist Tony Birch followed by a conversation with speakers: Miranda Nieboer, Affiliated researcher at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) – University of Tasmania (UTAS); Fumitaka Nishino, Technical Advisor at Morino Project and Vegetation Engineer at Green Elm; Motoko Okumoko, Hokkaido University Communicators in Science and Technology Education Program (CoSTEP); Yoshihiro Nakayama, Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University; and Malte Wagenfeld, School of Design, RMIT University.

Register here.

The tactile and immaterial qualities of woodland habitats: Polly Stanton's Presentation and Discussion with Kohei Fujito and Ruth Langford

Wednesday, 3 November – 1pm-2pm AEDT / 11am-12pm Tokyo

Polly Stanton, Skulls, 2018.

Filmmaker and artist Polly Stanton presents 'Elegy for an Occupied Forest’ discussing how pine plantations present eerie life worlds profoundly shaped and recomposed by the productions of capital. They are vibrant sites that remake the forest into a strange and occupied landscape of human-made modification and disturbance. Following her short talk is a discussion with Ainu artist Kohei Fujito and Song Woman and Story Teller, Yorta Yorta woman Ruth Langford.

Polly Stanton explores these complex forest assemblages through the moving image work Indefinite Terrains (2019), which traces the delicate ecologies and entanglements of the Moonlight Flat Pine Plantation in Dja Dja Wurrung country (Central Victoria, Australia). By recounting the process of working with these spaces, as well as thinking alongside a number of writers and theorists, Polly considers the plantation as an ecotone of submerged histories and indeterminate futures.

Register here.

The tactile and immaterial qualities of woodland habitats: Sarah Teasley's Presentation and Discussion with Rodney Keenan and Kikuko Shoyama

Monday, 25 October – 1pm-2pm AEDT / 11am-12pm Tokyo

Sarah Teasley, Forested hills at the edge of Tendō City, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan, 2012.

Design luminary and social historian, Sarah Teasley on 'Experiencing Woodlands through Science in 1913' followed by a discussion with forest ecologist Rodney Keenan and earth science and disaster resilience researcher Kikuko Shoyama.

In this talk, Sarah Teasley will explore what happened when one local forest in Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan – with its particular and unique climate, species populations, soil, orientation and location, all with their own material affordances – encountered ideas, technologies and materials from further afield. Working from period experimental reports, contemporary plant biology research and fieldwork, Sarah will suggest that attending to the micro-interactions of wood, water and microbes can illuminate both human power relations and – perhaps as importantly – suggest more ethical and accurate ways to live in the world.

Register here.

The tactile and immaterial qualities of woodland habitats: Takashi Kuribayashi in conversation with Bob Brown

Wednesday, 20 October – 1pm-2.30pm AEDT / 11am-12.30pm Tokyo

Takashi Kuribayashi, GENKI-RO / No.0, Toyama, Japan, 2020. Photo by Rai Shizuno.

Join us in conversation with an esteemed Japanese artist Takashi Kuribayashi and renowned environmentalist Bob Brown. The program will commence with a 30-minute artistic presentation for Kuribayashi and an introduction from Brown followed by a reflection and joint discussion on concepts related to thresholds Kuribayashi's statement:

"The truth resides in places that are invisible. Once you are aware that there is a different world out of sight, you will be living in a different way."

Dr Yuki Matsuoka, Head of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Office in Japan, will provide introductory remarks, "Interconnections and the all-of-society engagement enshrined by the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction". October 13 is the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction and marks the start of a series of activities and global events over the remainder of 2021.

Register here.

Afternoon Tea with suzueri – live performance and Q & A

Thursday, 23 September – 4pm-5pm AEST / 2pm Tokyo

BreadBoard Baking

suzueri will prepare a delicious audio-visual recipe and live-tea party with electronic sweets for 'Mutable Ecologies'. suzueri (Elico Suzuki) is a Tokyo based sound artist and improviser. She presents circuitous and restless performances using pianos and found objects combined with self-made instruments. Her recent interests have  centred on exploring the gaps and narrative trajectories between the  interaction of instruments and their embodiment.

‘BreadBoard Baking’ is an edible electronic circuit cooking and instrument project run by Tokyo based sound artist Elico Suzuki (suzueri), Emiko Kashiwagi (Emirie) and Naomi Kakuda.

Register here.

Mutable Ecologies is presented by RMIT University and supported by the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.



The Woodland Habitats series is presented by Asialink Arts and RMIT University, supported by CAST Research Group, RMIT University and the Australian Government through the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Asialink CASTICC

Project Partners: Asialink Arts, Musashino Art University, NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC].

Banner image credit: Yoichi Kamimura, “Internal Weather" (210217_12:23_UTORO), 2021.