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Rewilding the Alphabestiary: (Un)learning Animal Language
Tessa Laird

Lecture
Saturday 26 October, 4am

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High St, Preston VIC 3072

FREE, bookings essential.

In Greek mythology, Cadmus slayed a dragon then sowed the soil with its teeth, signifying the emergence of written language via cuneiform text impressed in clay tablets.

Tessa Laird will explore how this originary link between fabulous beasts and the alphabet sows toothy seeds for a speculative “alphabestiary” replete with baroque bats, cinematic cephalopods, and word-eating worms.

Tessa Laird is a writer and artist who is interested in the intersections between reading, writing and making. Her folky ceramic practice coupled with her interest in fictocritical writing both operate from the position of “the mastery of non-mastery” (Michael Taussig). Laird’s doctoral studies on colour were published as the fictocritical book A Rainbow Reader (Clouds: Auckland, 2013), and recently her book Bat, on the cultural history of bats was released by Reaktion (London, 2018). These twin interests in colour and animal studies, are merging into a new field of study regarding non-human affects and perception in the era we now know as the Anthropocene.

Originally from New Zealand, Laird has been an art critic for over 25 years, and co-founded and edited two important magazines there in the 1990s, Monica Reviews Art and LOG Illustrated. She is Lecturer in Critical and Theoretical Studies at the VCA School of Art, University of Melbourne and is the Editor Online of Art + Australia.

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Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm