Just Community: Primal

Melanie Sarantou (Artist), Tiffany Williams (Artist), Jackie Fiebig (Artist)

Research output: Artistic and non-textual formExhibitionSolo art productionpeer-review


As an artist the environment in which I live and work is important to me as it is my exhibition space. Since 2015, I have regularly participated in ephemeral and environmental art as means of overcoming my feelings of isolation as an immigrant to Australia. I practiced my art individually, often without connections to art organisations, galleries or Australian art communities. In the absence of people, the environment became my audience. There I could express and explore my personal narratives. This experience taught me that an acute awareness for the wellbeing of our natural environment starts with an awareness of the self, who we are and the values we uphold. The theory of Evan Thompson and his views on enactivism, shaped my entanglements with my environments. According to enactivism, awareness is shaped by the interactions between mind, body and the environments we live in. Care for the environment is an ongoing process that we need to integrate in all the aspects of our lives if we want to enact change.

Thompson (2016) explains: “The self is a process, not a thing or an entity. The self isn’t something outside experience, hidden either in the brain or in some immaterial realm. It is an experiential process that is subject to constant change. We enact a self in the process of awareness, and this self comes and goes depending on how we are aware. When we’re awake and occupied with some manual task, we enact a bodily self geared to our immediate environment. Yet this bodily self recedes from our experience if our task becomes an absorbing mental one. If our mind wanders, the mentally imagined self of the past or future overtakes the self of the present moment.”

Through my textile art practices I am not only acutely aware of the environment that shaped my processes of self. Making, the improvisatory, experimental and experiental processes that come about in this sometimes fierce, yet giving environment, I enact my bodily self in various mental states, for example in meditative practices, feeling and working the fibres in moments of time that last longer or shorter than I am aware of. This is an awareness that can only be shaped by my environment, as it drives me to feel the natural fibres, hear the silence and care for the fragility of those moments. The environment is my studio and exhibition space and without it nothing can be.

With two Streaky Bay artists, Jackie Fiebig and Tiffany Ottens, we will create a textile art web as a metaphor for the Westcoast environment. The materials that we will use will be wool, sisal, seaweed and cotton. The web will celebrate the interconnectedness of our lives with natural environments and the fragility of the web will draw attention to the current fragile state of the natural environment that is caused by overconsumption. At the same time, we will engage the local community of Streaky Bay and the wider Westcoast of South Australia, as well as the global online audiences we hope to reach in exploring the relationship between the awareness of self and that of the fragile environment. This, we believe, will allow reflection on everyday practices and choices of consumption critically, honestly and responsibly. This textile art installation will take a philosophical perspective on shaping connections between communities and developing community-based projects that celebrates, questions and investigates the relationship between humans and the environment, is the goal of this art installation.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2018
MoEC publication typeF1 Published independent work of art
EventEphemeral Eco Art Trail: Visible Streaky Bay - Eco Art Trail, Streaky Bay, Australia
Duration: 1 Dec 20187 Dec 2018

Field of science

  • Visual arts and design


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