Workshop

Water Lessons embraces the reality that we all hold water expertise through our social, cultural, political and historical relations with it. Diverse water specialists from various fields of interest, knowledge and research will be invited to host the monthly lessons and to facilitate unique encounters with audiences upon acknowledging this positionality. Each Lesson will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Food will be celebrated as a shared experience, which brings people together encouraging storytelling and togetherness.

Water Lessons aims to unpack the qualities, powers, threats and future imaginaries of water, together. Key project learnings will manifest in School of Water to be held in The Waterhouse during the exhibition period.

Dates & Times

10 am–1 pm

Water Lesson: Four | Parliament on King and Hani Abdile
Sunday, 19 December 2021

Water Lesson: Five | Indigigrow
Sunday, 16 January 2022

Water Lesson: Six | Alex McBratney
Sunday, 20 February 2022

Water Lesson: Seven | Hayball
Sunday, 20 March 2022

Water Lesson: Eight | New Landscapes Institute
Sunday, 17 April 2022

Water Lesson: Nine | The Weathering Collective
Sunday, 15 May 2022

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Venue
December 2021 – February 2022 / The Watchtower, La Perouse
March – May 2022 / The Waterhouse, The Cutaway at Barangaroo

Cost
$32 +booking fees

Catering included with ticket
Vegan (DF, GF, V) or Vegetarian

Access
The Biennale of Sydney strives to make all events accessible. You can advise us of your access requirements when booking online, by email or calling our box office on 02 8484 8702.

Box Office Opening Hours
Monday – Friday
9 am–4 pm
02 8484 8702
Email – art@biennaleofsydney.com.au

Water Lesson: Four | Parliament on King and Hani Abdile

Sunday, 19 December 2021
10 am–1 pm

Water Lesson Four will explore survival in all facets of the word. Lesson Four foregrounds the integral relationship between water and food, and water and nutrition – a basic human need for survival. Water will also be investigated as an agent and as a material enabling the movement and migration of people by boat.

Be nourished and taken on a raw food journey guided by the love and support of social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Traverse continents with writer and spoken word poet Hani Abdile, who fled the civil war in Somalia to make her way to Australia by boat and was impeded by an 11-month detainment on Christmas Island.

Throughout the lesson, Parliament on King and Hani Abdile will guide participants through a cultural experience of food from across the globe. Interwoven with poetry and storytelling from Abdile, collecting, preparing and creating a meal together will define the session.

Water, as a contested site, is emblematic of our time. It is a place where culture is born and conflict occurs, Lesson Four is conceived in the spirit of this disparity.

Building upon previous lessons, Water Lesson Four empowers participants to bring their new water knowledges back home, beyond the program and to share these lessons with friends and family. Lesson Four will bring people together through encouraging storytelling and togetherness. The food journey is an opportunity to learn from and with one another in a safe and informal setting.

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Water Lesson: Five | Indigigrow

Sunday, 16 January 2022
10 am–1 pm

Join community leader and local saltwater man Peter Cooley, CEO, Indigigrow, as he facilitates a physical journey across time and space through an intimate encounter with native Australian plants and the waters of Botany Bay. Commencing at Indigigrow’s home at the La Perouse Public School, Peter will introduce you to water resistant and resilient local plant life, encouraging the growth of natives on our balconies and in our backyards.

Next, Peter and his Indigigrow team will walk from Indigigrow to the The Watchtower at La Perouse, where Peter will share stories of his people’s connection to the local waters.

Lesson One will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Food will be celebrated as a shared experience, which brings people together.

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Water Lesson: Six | Alex McBratney

Sunday, 20 February 2022
10 am–1 pm

What makes soil tick?
How where and when does soil grow?
How do we secure soil for sustainable development?

A single teaspoon (1 gram) of rich garden soil can hold up to one billion bacteria, this is an ecosystem often overlooked and often forgotten. Lesson Six acknowledges soil as a critical body that is active and alive – critical for human health and human existence. Furthermore, is embraces our relationship with this earthy material, the colours, textures and smells that tell stories of place.

Engaging with soil samples, delve into an intersecting realm of science, poetry and material exploration with experimental soil scientist Professor Alex McBratney.

Lesson Six, is grounded. The whisper of water is quiet, but it is crucial to flow of the experience and our understanding of coexistence. Professor McBratney’s learning encounter will be experiential and intuitive – activated through touch, smell, word and sound, you will discover a new relationship with the enigmatic environment buried beneath us, soil.

Lesson Six will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Soil and food are intrinsically connected, and this will not be overlooked. The communal meal offers a chance to reflect on our connections with food and the nostalgia associated with the experience of eating.

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Water Lesson: Seven | Hayball

Sunday, 20 March 2022
10 am–1 pm

Join the Hayball Architecture team in exploring the properties and possibilities of water as a vehicle to enhance human experience. In this intergenerational Water Lesson we will explore the sensory nature of water and how it can be designed into the environment to bring joy into our daily lives. In reflection of our relationships with water, we will discuss design approaches which raise broader consciousness of water as a precious commodity.

In this hands-on session you will design and build a series of water inspired interventions. Collectively, the interventions will showcase a proposition for how water can be sustainably integrated into our communities, to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together in celebration of its multifaceted properties.

This lesson is an opportunity for participants, aged eight to 88+, to come together to play and co-design a vision to enhance our cities and neighbourhoods.

Lesson Seven will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Food will be celebrated as a shared experience, which brings people together.

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Water Lesson: Eight | New Landscapes Institute

Sunday, 17 April 2022
10 am–1 pm

Building the un-Built

The New Landscapes Institute projects explores the power of the speculative and the un-built, as a way to work towards more utopian modes of thinking about our landscapes, both urban and ecological. Throughout history, humans have conjured up weird and wonderful designs, that just through their imagining have allowed new ways of thinking and acting to occur.

For the Biennale of Sydney, the un-built ‘Dolphin Embassy’ by radical American architects Ant Farm acts as a catalyst to imagining what a contemporary interspecies floating vessel could be. The New Landscapes ‘Floating Embassy’ will be flexible, adaptable to change, and open to all participants helping to inform its functions. Like the water on which it sits, it will travel lightly, be fluid and open to flux.

In this hands-on workshop, you will be asked – how might you imagine a new floating vessel which incorporates multispecies cohabitation and human and non-humas relationships to occur in a holistic way? How do we respectfully occupy these landscapes, even temporarily? And how do we create a new embassy without the exclusive, colonial systems of power that come with it?

Lesson Eight will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Food will be celebrated as a shared experience, which brings people together.

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Water Lesson: Nine | The Weathering Collective

Sunday, 15 May 2022
10 am–1 pm

The Weathering Collective understands ‘weathering’ as a concept that brings together climate and weather through human bodies. It is a process and practice that refuses the heroic demands of neoliberal resilience and complicates the politics of environmental exposure. Weathering is being together differently in the more-than-human world, sharing low-stakes vulnerability with unfamiliar others.

Water Lesson: Nine shares tactics and concepts for exploring one’s proximity with strangers, while also attuning to more-than-human weather and water bodies, relations, histories and movements. Through this we offer an answer to the question: how can ‘weathering’ aid in the imagining and activation of new social infrastructures for a feminist response to climate change?

Amid the rhetoric of climate emergency and calls for urgent action, weathering supports another kind of collective response.

Come along to test what feminist infrastructures – built from simple materials, stranger intimacies, comfortable locales, calm weather and everyday activities – can instead make possible.

Lesson Nine will culminate in an informal eating experience catered by the social enterprise and asylum seeker and refugee kitchen Parliament on King. Food will be celebrated as a shared experience, which brings people together.

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Participant Bios

Hani Abdile

Hani Abdile is a writer and spoken word poet, who fled the civil war in Somalia. Although only 21, Hani has already lived more than most of us; being only 16 when she fled Somalia alone, she was forced to leave her siblings and family behind. She made her way to Australia by boat and spent 11 months on Christmas Island. While detained, Hani found healing in writing poetry. Hani began writing about her life and in part, it was to improve her English speaking and writing abilities.

Hani is an honorary member of PEN International, a lead writer for the Writing Through Fences group, and has received numerous awards for her community work and many achievements since being released from immigration detention. Her first book I Will Rise was published in 2016 to critical acclaim. Hani continues tapping into the power of the spoken word, and has a strong vision to shape the world through pen and paper.

Parliament on King

Parliament on King is a culturally diverse organisation supporting refugees and asylum seekers through employment opportunities, financial security and most importantly friendship and community. Parliament is best known for their café on King Street, Erskineville, their Social Enterprise Catering project, and now Uma, their Curry House in Darling Square.

Parliament on King specialises in food that comes from the homelands of the asylum seekers and refugees they work with. Their mission is simple: to make lovely food for customers and in doing so to address the barriers to economic, social and cultural participation amongst asylum seekers, refugees and recent arrivals to Australia face.

Alex McBratney

Alex is a soil scientist at the University of Sydney where he has worked and created for more than 30 years. He is fascinated by the scientific, economic, social, and cultural aspects of soil and how it impacts and is impacted by society. He expresses his relationship with soil through scientific and popular writing, oral presentations, poetry and art.

Hayball

Hayball is an architectural practice with a strong focus on culture, community and learning. Their user-centred design approach is underpinned by research, ensuring more sustainable outcomes for people and the planet. Working across sectors where people live, work, learn and play, Hayball’s inclusive design processes enable multiple voices to contribute to the vision of new places and spaces.

New Landscapes Institute

The New Landscapes Institute (NLI) was established by curator Joni Taylor in 2014 to facilitate art, architecture and design collaborations. The NLI works in partnership with a range of cultural organisations and practitioners on creative research projects. It uses experimental spatial practices to investigate the transformation of landscapes and to engage with future ideas. Recent projects by the Institute have explored access to commons and public spaces in both urban and regional contexts. For the 23rd Biennale of Sydney, the NLI will focus on waterways bringing together artists, architects, researchers and designers to collaborate on ideas around floating architecture, archives and the unbuilt, animal-human communication, marine science and strange oceanic phenomena.

The Weathering Collective

The Weathering Collective is a small, shifting group of scholars, artists and writers who have intermittently gathered since 2016 for practical experiments in weathering. Via walks, camping trips, exercises and conversation, the collective has approached the materialities of weather with/in and around different water bodies: from urban rivers and coastal rock pools across Gadigal, Dharug, Bidjigal and Bundjalung Country to inland waterholes of Anaiwan and Gumbaynggirr Country and remote Scandinavian archipelagos.

Image Credit: Water Lesson Two | Bryony and Harry Lancaster (Egg Of The Universe) for the 23rd Biennale of Sydney (2022) at South Eveleigh Community Rooftop. Water Lessons is presented by the Biennale of Sydney with assistance from Mirvac and Parliament on King, and generous assistance from Randwick City Council. Photograph: Four Minutes to Midnight.