Fire Country

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Unwriting the disaster

Maurice Blanchot’s great work, The Writing of the Disaster, has informed many creative writing academics over the decades we have been visibly operating in universities. Gaston Bachelard’s 1941 (trans 1982) volume, Water and Dreams: An essay on the imagination of matter, has received significantly less attention. Each has a profound statement to make on the work of creative practitioners, and on how we offer stewardship to our planet. The past year, with its fires, hail, drought, flood, and pandemic, has reminded people in governments and industries, as well as everyday individuals, how tenuous is our foothold on this planet. While Blanchot’s despairing worldview offers clarity about disaster, Bachelard’s attention to the imagination, materiality, and creative practice, presents a future-minded model for living. Together, their frameworks offer ways of thinking, and of making, that respect the art, the planet, and all who cohabit here. In this paper I review some of the creative moves over recent years that recognise the relationship between creative practice and the natural world, recognise human and other-than-human agency, and point to the shimmering of imagination, hope and ethics that might afford us all a future.

Period28 Nov 2022
Event typeConference
Conference number27
LocationMooloolaba, Australia, QueenslandShow on map
Degree of RecognitionRegional