Free Association is a platform for workshops, public programming and publishing through the expanded fields of fiction, poetry, critical theory, philosophy, art and art criticism.

TEAM

Founder, Programming and Development: Anita Spooner
Producer: Chantelle Mitchell
Media and Communications: Jordana Bragg
Adviser: Josephine Mead
Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker: Angelita Biscotti
Designer: Alex Margetic
Web developer: Xavier Connelly

CONTACT

hello@freeassociation.com.au

We acknowledge the custodians of the land on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, and pay respect to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

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An image of the moon connected to a telephone with a pink background

Family, ancestry, sexuality and class origins are complex inheritances we didn’t ask for. How might we reappropriate the concept of destiny to land fully in our bodies and selves, as creatures of stardust thrown into consciousness and time?

 

Under Queer Stars introduces Angelita Biscotti’s queer anti-capitalist engagement with birth chart astrology, embracing humour and hope to consider how we might speak to ourselves about ourselves with compassion and curiosity.

This workshop will consider the counselling, research, and teaching praxis of queer BIPOC healers in the Pluto in Scorpio and Sagittarius generations, alongside theory and method inspired by Hellenistic and psychological astrology. Participants will study astrology of love, sex, and queer relating as well as astrology of family and ancestry. We will read and discuss emerging classics, such as the work of Alice Sparkly Kat,Tabitha Prado-Richardson and others, as we work through the natal promise of our birth charts.

Participants are invited to use their findings as prompts for poetry, prose or visual art in response to their charts, to be considered for publication on Free Association’s website. These creations will also be developed for Rogue Planet, a night of readings and performance under the stars, forthcoming in summer 2021.

Supported by Siteworks and Moreland City Council Making Space Program.

Working on unceded Boon Wurrung Country, Angelita Biscotti is a non-binary feminine astrologer, writer, artist and teacher of Spanish-Filipinx descent. Her client practice and astrological writing is inspired by Hellenistic, psychological, and evolutionary astrology approaches. She has been published in Overland, Cordite Poetry Review, Archer, Djed Press, Peril, ABC Life, The Lifted Brow, Critical Military Studies, and elsewhere. Her previous teaching experience includes an erotic poetry workshop at Writers Victoria in 2021 and sessional academic teaching at La Trobe University and the Ateneo de Manila University. She is the current recipient of a scholarship and mentorship with the international Association for Astrological Networking (AFAN). Her chart is dominated by the fire sign Leo, ruled by an 8th house Earth sun.

The themes of her work are unconventional intimacies, anti-racist beauty ideals, and queer hope. She is most accessible through her website and Instagram @angelita.biscotti

Intrusive thoughts: the internal monologue of a stressed singularity led by Sam Leiblich

Techno-futurists believe “The Singularity”—when human and artificial intelligence combines to form a world-spanning super-intelligence—is the inevitable next step in the evolution of life on Earth; but what happens when the worldwide super-mind starts spiralling? And what if the singularity is already here and it’s literally just obsessing over whether we’ve all bought toilet paper this week?

 

This series of workshops will introduce attendees to the thought of John C. Lilley, Ray Kurzweil, and other outsiders and futurists, whom we will read through the work of Jacques Lacan and Sigmund Freud. After establishing a theoretical grounding we will use state-of-the-art machine learning algorithms, and a set of especially adapted writing exercises, to learn to listen—to ourselves and to the algorithm—so that we might predict what comes next. What will it be like when the internet scrolls us? Get ready to see Siri stress the fuck out!

Writing and technology enthusiasts are encouraged to apply.

Application deadline: 12PM, Wednesday, 3 November, 2021

APPLY HERE

Supported by Darebin City Council.

Sam Lieblich is a Melbourne-based artist investigating networked and algorithmic forms. His work explores the orientation/disorientation of the subject in the other, and the manifestations of the human-algorithm hybrid into which human beings are now subsumed. These digital works combine machine learning algorithms with custom code to foreground systems design and—by finding beauty and intention in the system—try to re-situate human desire in the algorithm.

Think of a mobile: suspended and unsettled, an ending is a beginning. Digital poetry operates like a mobile, a mobile moves like a gif. When we write digital poetry, we are are constructing something that moves across the screen. We want it to loop back over itself, to spin in circles, to end up where it started. Digital poetry is a mobile is a gif.

 

Making Mobiles is a two-hour gif-making workshop that suspends and loops digital poems. The workshop will equip participants with the skills to bridge poetry and the moving image. The first hour will consist of a presentation on digital mediums, design basics, how to make a gif, and implementing poetry into the moving image. The second hour will put the presentation into practice, asking participants to turn a pre-written poem into a looped gif.

We will present these gif poems across a digital exhibition, inviting you into a room full of mobiles.

Poets from any state or territory in Australia are encouraged to apply.

APPLY

Application deadline: Midnight, Sunday August 9, 2020
Supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants.

Lujayn Hourani is a digital writer, editor and arts worker based in Naarm. Their practice focuses heavily on digital literature – writing it, editing it, and talking about it. Their digital writing has appeared in Meanjin, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Voiceworks, Emerging Writers Festival and Going Down Swinging, among others. They are Online Editor at Voiceworks, work at Next Wave and were previous Online Editor at The Lifted Brow.

This workshop will consider the role of critical art writing in the broader political project of imagining the world otherwise. The workshop understands ‘art’ in its most expanded sense, encompassing both cultural texts and the aesthetic dimension of political experience and subjectivity. Taking Ashon Crawley’s phrase ‘otherwise possibilities’ as a departure point, the three sessions will engage in close readings of recent criticism that reads alongside or through a work of art in order to think about how to transform ways of seeing, being, organising, and resisting.

 

The sessions will focus on the how political subjectivity is shaped (by race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, (dis)ability; by access to or distance from networks of care; vulnerability to or protection from the law) and how art is one way of studying the affects and effects associated with becoming a political subject. Close readings will be accompanied by writing exercises that explore different registers and styles and that consider how critical writing can be particularly responsive to the world moment we find ourselves in. The first session will focus on ‘reading’ as an expanded practice that informs writing; the second session will examine ‘writing’ and the process through which an argument emerges through the act of drafting; the final session will look at ‘editing’ and how to edit both one’s own and other people’s writing. Examples of readings include work by Fred Moten, Saidiya Hartman, Evelyn Araluen, Helen Hughes, Andrew Brooks, and Kay Gabriel.

Writers from any state or territory in Australia are encouraged to apply.

APPLY

Application deadline: Midnight, Sunday August 2, 2020.

Supported by the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants.

 

Astrid Lorange is a writer, artist, and editor who lives and works on unceded Wangal land. She lectures in contemporary theory at UNSW Art & Design. She is one-half of the critical art collective Snack Syndicate and a member of the publishing collective Rosa Press. Her research examines reading as a critical generative practice that offers transformative possibilities for (re)thinking everyday life. In her scholarly and creative work, she analyses modern and contemporary literature and art, and the relationship between cultural texts and social and political structures (gender and sexuality; settler-colonialism and the nation-state; legal and economic systems; infrastructure; labour). Recent publications include Labour and Other Poems (Cordite Books, 2020) and Homework (forthcoming from Discipline).

In a time marked by rage and mourning over recent tragic deaths and ongoing police and state violence against Black and Indigenous people both at home and abroad, this is a writing program for Indigenous poets of Naarm to take stock and respond through the activism of poetry. It is a time for the language of immediacy and urgency; a time to ask: If not now – then when? And, if not you – then who?

 

The dawn is at hand – Oodgeroo Noonuccal

Three writing workshops will study historical and contemporary examples of poetry of protest and activism ranging from the personal (activism on the home-front, body politics, black bodies, queer bodies and their intersections) to big picture public activism and protest. The curriculum will cover the radical writing of Oodgeroo Noonuccal, Lionel Fogarty, Romaine Moreton, Jack Davis as well as contemporary poets Ellen van Neerven, Alison Whittaker, Evelyn Araleun, Samuel Wagan Watson and more. In this violent rupture we will draw connections across space and time through a reckoning of history; and deconstruction of the colonial mythscape of peaceful settlement and the united nation through the dismantling of colonial relics and a harbouring of future refusals and resistance. From the storytellers and song-makers of ancestry to contemporary protest language, we will look at how activist poetry is deeply localised, personal and highly political, at once.

Twelve First Nations writers will be paid $300 fees to develop a piece of poetry for digital publication on BLINDSIDE and Free Association’s websites.

The program:
Three poetry workshops led by Jeanine Leane covering theory, discussion and practical workshopping
A meeting with a Wurundjeri Elder
An online residency with BLINDSIDE from 22 July – 8 August with editorial support from Jeanine Leane
An online presentation of readings and work in development

This program will take place on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded – this land is stolen land. We pay respects to Wurundjeri Elders, past, present and emerging, to the Elders from other communities and to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islanders who might encounter or participate in the program.

First Nations writers and artists from any state or territory are encouraged to apply.

Co-presented by Free Association and BLINDSIDE

The annual BLINDSIDE First Nations Project is supported by the Victorian Government through the City of Melbourne through their Triennial Grants Program. This project is proudly supported by Creative Victoria, the City of Melbourne COVID-19 Arts Grants and Darebin City Council.

Jeanine Leane is a Wiradjuri writer, poet, essayist and academic from southwest New South Wales. Her poetry, short stories and essays have been published in Hecate: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Women’s Liberation, The Journal for the Association European Studies of Australia, Australian Poetry Journal, Antipodes, Sydney Review of Books, Best Australian Poems, Overland and the Australian Book Review. Jeanine has published widely in the area of Aboriginal literature, poetry, writing otherness and creative non-fiction. Her research interests concern the political nature of literary representation, cultural appropriation of minority voices and stories and writing identity and difference.

Time, After Time: A Reenactment Workshop is a free series of lectures, discussions and practical workshops presented by Camila Galaz. Workshop participants will develop new reperformance works to present as part of Channels Festival, the International Biennial of Video Art. Open to emerging artists, writers and filmmakers, participants will consider how reperformance of historical events and reproductions of archival documents can be used to address ideas of cultural memory, inherited trauma, and the complexities of truth-telling.

 

Exploring the techniques and ethics of moving from the archival to the contemporary, the course will examine the theoretical landscape of historical reperformance, discuss works by video and installation artists such as Renata Poljak, Silvia Kolbowski, Yoshua Okón, and Petrit Halilaj, and develop new reperformance works for public presentation.

Camila Galaz is a visual artist whose practice uses video, drawing, and installation to explore intimate connections to history and resistance. Recent exhibitions include you are the magnet and I am the metal (slowly magnitizdat’, C3 Art Space (2018), Reparar Means to Repair, Blindside (2018); and You Transform Everything into a Boat, Kings Artist Run (2017). In 2018 she presented online projects with Sister Gallery and The Digital Writers’ Festival. She is the recipient of the 2018 MECCA M-Power Scholarship from the National Gallery of Victoria and the 2019-2020 Australia Council EMPAC New York Residency. In 2019 she presented a Writing & Concepts lecture at the NGV entitled Questioning Existence with the Subjunctive (Spanish Demystified). She is also a founding member of the performance art collective The Band Presents (TBP), and co-ran the TBPHQ Art Space in Docklands, Melbourne from 2017-19.

Two headed banner

The Two-Headed Bird: A Surrealist Writing Workshop seeks to unearth the creative potential of the unconscious for the purpose of composition and publication. Presented by Manisha Anjali, the course consists of a series of lectures, discussions and practical exercises on dream work, automatic writing, psychoanalysis and mythology. Students will examine existing surrealist works like William Blake's nightmarish visions, blues folklore, Yoko Ono's instructional pieces, Alejandro Jodorowsky's cinematic lucid dreams and the spiritual revolt of Butoh: a surrealist way to move.

 

Dream control, psychic automatism and cut-up are tools of illumination. By extracting narratives from the unconscious mind, students will not only be able to maintain a continuous state of inspiration but also evade psychological traps that inhibit creativity like writer’s block, self-criticism and creative boundaries established by traditional forms of composition and editing.

Manisha Anjali is a writer and artist. Her practice is rooted in the language of dreams and exile. Manisha is the author of Electric Lotus (Incendium Radical Library Press, 2019). She has been a recipient of BLINDSIDE’s Regional Arts & Research Residency, a Writer-in-Residence at Incendium Radical Library and a Hot Desk Fellow at The Wheeler Centre. Manisha is the producer of Neptune, an archive of dreams, hallucinations and visions.

Upcoming

Past

Presented by Chantelle Mitchell with readings and performance by Amaara Raheem, Eva Birch and Indiah Money, alongside calligraphy and embroidery tutorials by Angie Pai and family.

Breath Poetics introduces projectvisim as a poetics of embodiment - as a tool for writing the body through the materiality of text. Projective poetry traditions emerged from the Black Mountain School, and were inscribed by Charles Olson in his pamphlet ‘Projective Verse’ from 1951. This public program introduces Projective Verse traditions and practices, and explores the significance of text and language as a poetics of breath, as ‘a high-energy construct and an energy discharge’ and in presenting methodologies to consider and untangle the relation of body to language, and the relation of language to the page.

Family, ancestry, sexuality and class origins are inheritances we never asked for, but contend with every day. Under queer stars in the mid-year Mercury retrograde, face-to-face on lockdown screens, we explored our stories and skies together.

The dialectics of opposing places and signs play out in the tug of who we wish to be & how we came to be. Ella Crowley’s Too close to touch is a poetic memoir about attending her Nanna’s funeral during Taurus Season 2020, under the Scorpio full moon when the pandemic first struck. In A spectral appetite, Jill Pope contemplates the inheritance of abundant dark hair and the same Gemini-Sagittarius placements as her ever absent-present refugee father. 

Clarity & ambiguity call & respond throughout longing’s shadowy halls in this new poem by Josephine Mead. The state of home after loss & the creepiness of love poems are themes in Jordana Bragg’s How to write a haunted house. The winter solstice in the never-winter southern hemisphere, and dwelling within the moon’s rhythms instead of the sun’s, take centre stage in Jessica Kejun Xu’s video-poem dongzhi swirlings.

Under queer stars that outlive the smallness of our sorrows, may Mercury forever keep you on your toes. – Angelita Biscotti

the moon looms Too close to touch by Ella Crowley grain by grain That I snuck onto the page … by Josephine Mead The traces that connect A spectral appetite by Jill Pope Become a memory detective How to write a haunted house by Jo Bragg to know ourselves differently in the longest moonlight dongzhi swirlings by Jessica Kejun Xu

That not-puritanical purity // Mercury-ruled Virgo // the ordinariness of culture // a farewell by Angelita Biscotti more

Multiplicity and the Sun by Angelita Biscotti more

Where Mercury finds you by Angelita Biscotti more

Taurus horoscope by Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker Angelita Biscotti more

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Study always exceeds a term or a book or an essay; study is life and for life and takes a lifetime. We return again and again to the site of study and believe the promise it makes us. There’s almost nothing like it, except love, which is study for and of the other. This workshop takes its name, and its desire, from Ashon T Crawley’s notion of ‘otherwise possibilities’: that which ‘announces the fact of infinite alternatives to what is’.

We gather over Zoom at a time when our overlapping and interlocking crises are more apparent than ever: we are living through the devastation of a global pandemic and its attendant crises, among which the already existing and long-term inequalities, injustices, and immiserations are both amplified and intensified; we are living in an extended moment of climate collapse and the obliteration of a liveable planet as the result of a few hundred years of carbon capitalism; and we here in Australia are taking what is likely a momentary breath from a new seasonal norm of catastrophic bushfires. Amongst it all, the streets are ablaze with calls for abolition, and the hope of a new world, a world in common and able to sustain us in a life worth living, is starting to become clearer in terms of a set of tangible things: destroy what is here, build new social infrastructures, and learn from struggles won and lost.

Critical art writing is tasked with finding a way to both articulate how and why art comes to mean in a specific time and place but also how art can be part of the experiment in how to orient meaning elsewhere – that is, how to imagine a different world. Art’s madeness makes it apt for such an experiment: we can remake or unmake what is made. – Astrid Lorange evolving from celestial navigation To The Underside of Ships and Maps by Therese Keogh the plasticity of our brain In the direction of a hum by Olga Bennett the rhythm, the lyric, the call, or the feeling that moves us by June Miskell slipped off axis A Year, Reflected by Josephine Mead sometimes it jolts Seven Sines by Rebecca Harkins-Cross to stand against unrealistic optimism In Sickness and in Health by Jordana Bragg like a cave, or maybe a seafloor Gathering: A short text on inter-reliant and vulnerable ways of making and being with one another by Naomi Segal R U OK? Day campaign Smart work by Audrey Pfister meaning arriving from proximity in like two pears by Rachel Schenberg

Horoscope for the New Moon in Aries by Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker Angelita Biscotti

“You can’t fool culture. You can’t fool people. They can sense when it’s not authentic.” – Moe Shalizi, Sun in Aries more

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For First Nations People the personal is political and the political is personal. This rich and diverse selection of poems from ten First Nations poets germinated, grew and blossomed from a series of impassioned discussions and writing activities facilitated through online workshops during the height of Victoria’s second COVID lockdown. The workshops were presented in partnership with BLINDSIDE. – Jeanine Leane without needing to touch the gun / unprecedented times / 2020 by Jazz Money another colourful history Untitled by Dale Collier three million, nine hundred and thirty-six thousand metres limbo by Tace Stevens for the not you, for the not wealthy, for the not true blue The Audacity by Beau SYW captured in glistening immaculate plastic Gurudhaany – Goanna by Elijah Money help raise our vibration Flower Power by Jenny Fraser Aunty says, with a gentle nod, that’s where our ancestors are Underneath Darwin Casino Lies A Larrakia Burial Ground by Laniyuk Eyes contort to the past Grown Up by Elia Harding only the English poison My Nana by Rebeka Morrison The newspaper (still keeping score) Bran Nue Dae by Declan Fry

Break-ups, retroshade & fish: Pisces Season meditations by Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker Angelita Biscotti

I looked into his eyes
Which were far larger than mine
… They shifted a little, but not
To return my stare.
–It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.

– Elizabeth Bishop, The Fish

The stellium is breaking up. more

Aquarius Season Horoscopes by Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker Angelita Biscotti

20th Jan: The sun moves into Aquarius at 11.00am on 20th Jan 2021, with Mercury, Saturn & Jupiter still in this sign. A good time for revolutions – loud in the world, or in the privacy of one’s conscience – revolutions with enduring impact. A potent moment for shedding the beliefs that keep you stuck. Remember that big changes only stick when the commitments to higher values manifest in everyday routines. An extraordinary life is the sum of extraordinary days. more

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move move move move move and when that has been done, start all over again. the second time over is a re-write. neck open, eyes forward, watch a passing cloud silhouette one thing and then, another. we like to do things in cycles. read read read read and when that has been done, start all over again. the onslaught of quietude sounds like nothing. you can only see it coming. silhouetting one thing as it nears, docking as another. – Lujayn Hourani a hole in the heel of your sock by Lujayn Hourani like a disobedient dog Gates of Heaven by Panda Wong hope wines hope dines Hope 2.0 by Angela Glindemann and looking at divorce rates lately To the Unknown Splendour of Being by Jordana Bragg as the world collapses concave now winter by Rae White the tired fight the corona spite Exhausted from Zeal by Kym Maxwell let moon shine in TV Poem by Hassan Abul misery dream Salmonella Orange DIY Meaning by Isobel Milne_Miso Bell

December horoscope by Resident Astrologer and Fantasy Worker Angelita Biscotti

The sun is in fiery, journey-seeking Sagittarius after a year of forced interiority. Mercury moves into Sagittarius on the 2nd of December, enchanting the sun with its curiosity, capriciousness, and communication savvy. Venus, ruler of pleasure and affection, remains in the confronting depths of Scorpio until it moves into Sagittarius on the 16th. Mars, the planet of courage, erotic passion, ambition and risk-taking, is strong in Aries, and remains secure in its power for the month. The fast-moving, high-impact personal planets are on fire this Sagittarius season. more

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Reenactment is often spoken of as a revisiting of history to understand the past through the present. But within contemporary art sometimes reenactment is an aim, sometimes a tool, and sometimes an element within a larger work. Reperformance is proposed as a framework – as a way of approaching the creation of art that looks to use or respond to histories, archives, and other source materials. The works developed and presented were works in progress. Working in this way takes time. Time to unpack and repack, but also to give thought to ethical considerations. All of these works were smaller components to larger research and studio based projects; works within themselves, but also gestures towards broader ideas. – Excerpt from Camila Galaz’ Introduction to Time, After Time

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birds, they have two heads sometimes. the two-headed bird sings two songs, one for the dream in which blue flowers bloom from fork tongues of snakes, one for the spirit who can only be seen with the mind, not the eyes. the writer must perform between the dream world and the material world, the space where gods, demons and spirits dwell, the space of unreal deformations and unplanned compositions, the space where surreal things are made. each writer travelled through the unconscious realm and pulled out a motif; practised dream association; undertook automatic writing with burning flames, mirrors and instruments and performed the symbolic slaying of ‘author as god’. these texts were born in a dream. – Manisha Anjali the second contains a hiss the visitor returns. the second contains a hiss my architecture is slipping bodies baking in fires dressed in tišina, wearing selfishness like a pageant sash, sjajna you opened your hand not realising it was connected to your eye feline gold tooth crush i dream of dadi’s paan daan what the stone said rune of ruins grief scapes you are facing an invisible audience the procession moves forth performed before dawn the lifecycle of a perceived nonentity do you know i was born with a tail? ¿bashtak kheshtak-e tou ra gereft-e? it aches in strange rhythms saviiour a plastic disgrace, a fizzing lush bath bomb finding myself neck-deep in the butthole of my subconscious an existential sext bleaching piss?