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MILK Reads
Edition #4

Curated by Abbra Kotlarczyk


Organs of Imagination


I’m using the word soul here in a resolutely pagan way, to mean the organ of imagination.

–Lisa Robertson


The soul is not simply the capacity for abstraction [...] it is an aesthetic organ.

–Jason Smith


I watch as this season’s blasted chorus makes a symbiont out of my body and a newly acquired yard that is disintegrating, coiling and demeaning at every edge. Still, masses of wildly sown, bright green stinging nettle and nasturtium grow out of acquired compost, colonising the cracks around sodden cardboard that is flaking and stretching like my own skin under viral ambush. 


These texts comprise a lingual body made up of the transference, bleeding and belching of the mineral, microbial, vegetal, political and atmospheric worlds of and around us; they collapse into a co-authored organ navigating the granary of threshed imagination, pulsing and constellating towards a consciousness. 


Image: Abbra Kotlarczyk, A sonorous draft; a lexicon of windjamming reading room (detail), 2021, felted capillary (seed raising) wetting mat, beeswax, polymer clay, paint and printed matter, includes Benjamin Woods' Beeswax flutes from Beeswax Flutes 2 performance, 2018, cast beeswax. Installation at Blindside Gallery, Naarm/ Melbourne. Documentation courtesy of the artists.

Abbra Kotlarczyk was raised on Bundjalung Country in the subtropical ruins of a decommissioned banana plantation. She has been finding ways to understand and communicate the tensions between bodies surviving off and with stolen lands, ever since. She makes art, curates, reads, writes, edits, parents and gardens–sometimes all at once–in an attempt to outmanoeuvre the forces that pit us against enmeshment. 


Her works have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions at Blindside Gallery, Bus Projects, KINGS artist Run, TCB Art Inc., c3 Contemporary, Counihan Gallery and North Projects (Aotearoa/ New Zealand). Her writing has appeared in Australian Poetry’s 'Best of Australian Poems' 2021 (w/ Debris Facility), un Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, Lieu Journal, Art & Australia, Artlink Magazine and numerous exhibition catalogues and commissions. She currently lives and works on and around the unceded lands, waters and airways of the Eastern Kulin Nations in greater Naarm/Melbourne.

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