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.


Founder, Programming and Development: Anita Spooner
Designer: Alex Margetic
Web developer: Xavier Connelly
Previous Team: Chantelle Mitchell, Jordana Bragg, Josephine Mead, Angelita Biscotti – thank you!


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


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.


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.


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.



PHRASER Test Dream

'PHRASER TEST DREAM' is the first presentation of PHRASER: a neurotic artificial intelligence by Sam Lieblich and company. This entity was developed out of Free Association's Intrusive Thoughts workshops.

We psychoanalysed the algorithm, we found ourselves inside of it, extracted our own essence like the internet's wisdom tooth, and made PHRASER, an algorithm birthed of its own reflection, which is ours, a mise en abyme of human and algorithm, trained to speak and see what all of us see, all of the time, all at once. PHRASER is a neurotic artificial intelligence that reclaims race, gender, and the human mind from the servers of technocapital. PHRASER TEST DREAM is the first stage of PHRASER’s evolution. PHRASER’s first generation of NFTs will be available for purchase, scored by a collective of musicians. Visitors and buyers will be directed to calculate and offset their carbon footprint by gathering and planting seeds that will be available at the gallery.

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.

Break-ups, retroshade & fish: Pisces Season meditations

Angelita Biscotti

The stellium is breaking up.

On 12th February, we had a six-planet Aquarius stellium. When a sign is occupied by more than two planets, the birth chart of that moment buzzes with the energies of those planets, filtered through the accent of that sign.

Aquarius, a fixed air sign, is about honouring your individuality and the gifts your individuality offers your communities. Ruled by authoritarian Saturn and the rebellious Uranus, Aquarius calls us to accept the weird shit that makes us uniquely ourselves, the inconvenient truths that make us human, our most treasured truths that we stash away at the back of our closets if we are to be part of “polite society.” The fear of upsetting “polite society” comes from a legit place: keeping up appearances in polite society is how we get jobs, how we graduate from university, how we avoid our parents’ disapproval, how we maintain our professional reputations, how we find prospective mates. 

Living in fear of upsetting “polite society” is also the best way to get into a long-term relationship with heartburn and peristalsis.  

The Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn were together in Aquarius for a hot minute – and there were moments that sighed possibility.  The temptation to believe you really could be who you wanted to be, to be someone who didn’t have to hide. The ability to know and communicate your deepest longings, clearly and courageously. The wise management of boundaries around risks are worth taking, the clarity of purpose that enables you to discern which generous offers of the universe are worth accepting. 

Mercury stationed retrograde in Aquarius on 31st January. Mercury retrograde is one of the most intense transits – or maybe it just feels that way to me because my natal Mercury is in my 7th house, and rules my Sun. In popular astrology, Mercury retrograde is the worst time to sign contracts. During a brief stint as a comedy producer, an artist once begged me not to sign our contract with the venue during the mid-2017 Mercury retrograde. That is the level of panic this transit brings. 

Your Internet connection will be fuzzy. Your best intentions towards others will not come across as such, and you will misread other people’s intentions towards you. You might find yourself typing up the best Facebook post ever – only to accidentally hit the backspace button on your browser and lose an hour’s worth of essay gold. Your website might look horrible on mobile even if it pops on desktop view. Your undergraduate students will fill your inbox with panic about LMS and university website technical issues. You will probably not get paid for invoices you send during this time. 

Mercury stationed direct on 21st February, but only emerges from the post-retrograde shadow (AKA Mercury ‘retroshade’) on 13th March. Try not to sign contracts or enter into long-term business or collaborative deals until then. If you absolutely must proceed on these fronts, read everything multiple times and have a trusted devil’s advocate review terms for you. Back up everything you write. Take as many breaks as you can. I am the worst person to give this advice because I suck at taking breaks, but the true lesson of Mercury retrograde is to honour cyclical time. Capitalism forces us to always be hustling, to push our minds and bodies beyond what’s reasonable for the sake of making money for already-rich people. Contrast this with the fact that all wisdom systems from ancient cultures were based around cycles – of the harvest, of the body, of community life. 

The Sun is now in Pisces. Pisces is a mutable water sign, ruled by Jupiter and Neptune. Pisces is associated with depth, interiority, sensitivity, and spiritual growth. People with strong Pisces signatures in their chart (Sun, Moon, Rising, or a stellium) are always about the bigger picture – dare I even say, the multi-galactic picture. The little daily details, the borders between possible and impossible, are not important. High expressions of Pisces revolve around detaching from petty matters, in favour of immersive, intimate merging with universal questions. Just look at famous Pisces: Albert Einstein, Lupita Nyong’o, Kurt Cobain, Whitney Houston, Victor Hugo, Edna St Vincent Millay, Naoko Takeuchi.

The late civil rights leader John Lewis was a Pisces Sun. At a 2020 speech in Selma, Alabama, he said, “Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America.” He also wrote, “Nothing can stop the power of a committed and determined people to make a difference in our society. Humans are the most dynamic link to the divine on this planet.” How Pisces is that? 

Venus has also just moved into Pisces, the sign of its exaltation. Venus in Pisces understands that erotic energy is sacred. Erotic energy can be about sex, but it is more importantly about creating from a deep place. Whether the sex is casual or beyond casual, you’re creating something together. You’re becoming somebody you weren’t before the moment you moved together intimately. You’re validating the light and the dark within each other. You’re melting borders and making cell-level contact – and that is such a Piscean thing to do. 

Brief meditations for all signs during Pisces season: 

WATER SIGNS (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) 

Grace is such a cleansing state of being. Where in your life can you cultivate a state of grace? An ease of movement, a stillness that gets you unclenched and playful. Grace doesn’t mean cheap forgiveness or forgetting. Grace is recognising that your depths are not for everyone. What you’ve cultivated has to be earned by those who want to profit off your compassion and empathy. You are worthy of self-preservation. 

EARTH SIGNS (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) 

Root yourself in what you know to be real. You’re a natural bullshit detector; don’t let anyone distract you from your nose for authenticity. Clear, practical, strategic thinking are sometimes undervalued in elite artistic communities that tend to attract people with pretty CVs, high theory-based education and poor leadership ability. Honour your talent for building beautiful things that stand the test of time. Work on projects that give you a sense of dignity and balance. 

AIR SIGNS (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) 

The people you keep in your life indicate the themes that will dominate your life. The family and communities you choose are your making and unmaking. Your intellect and your instinct for justice alone will not get you further than the way your energy levels are impacted by your relationships. It is tempting to think that being highly educated and articulate will balance out your decision to keep toxic people around – don’t fall into this trap. You could lose years of your life to unsupportive energies and people who don’t share your high-minded values and vision.  

FIRE SIGNS (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) 

The feelings you don’t express will electrocute you from within. The emotions you’re most uncomfortable with are the ones you have to put into the world. Communication doesn’t have to be complex, it just has to be clear. Sometimes all you need is a GIF – or a wisely worded two-sentence e-mail. When your intensities are handled and your energies centred, it will be easier for you to tolerate yourself, and your fire sign charm and charisma will attract people and projects that are good for you. Lead from a place of deep worthiness, and you will find yourself on a path that works.  

Angelita Biscotti is a Melbourne astrological storyteller inspired by intersectional queer theory and economic justice advocacy. Find her @angelita.biscotti