Project 34
Asad Raza

Project Summary

Asad Raza's Absorption was presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects and Carriageworks.

Absorption brought the ground beneath us into the foreground, drawing our attention to the living and changing nature of soil. The work constituted almost 300 tonnes of organic and inorganic material, including sand, silt, clay, phosphates, lime, spent grain, cuttlebone, legumes, coffee and green waste, combined into a new soil mixture or neosoil.

A group of cultivators enacted this process of mixing, creating a composite material that visitors were free to take for their own uses, allowing Absorption to continue to grow and be nurtured beyond the Clothing Store.

Developed in collaboration with a team of scientists at the University of Sydney Institute of Agriculture, Absorption transformed the Clothing Store into a site for active processes, collaborations and conversations. Within the world created by Absorption, Raza invited artists Daniel Boyd, Chun Yin Rainbow Chan, Megan Alice Clune, Dean Cross, Brian Fuata, Agatha Gothe-Snape, Jana Hawkins-Andersen, Khaled Sabsabi and Ivey Wawn to create interventions in the form of installations, performances and experiments.

Raza drew together the approaches and ontologies of art and science, allowing for absorption to take place across multiple levels of understanding in the creation of this work.

3 – 19 May 2019
The Clothing Store, Carriageworks, Sydney



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Asad Raza, Absorption


This resource is designed to help students and educators engage with the themes and concepts of Asad Raza's Absorption. The kit comprises an overview of the project, Asad Raza's practice, conceptual framework, classroom questions and activities, along with a glossary of key terms, and list of references for further reading.


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Born in 1974 in Buffalo, USA and of Pakistani background, Raza works with experiences, human and non-human beings, and objects. He conceives of exhibitions as metabolic entities, zones of activity in which he constructs dialogue and scenarios between visitors and participants.

Past works include Untitled (plot for dialogue), for which Raza installed a tennis-like game in a deconsecrated church in Milan. Root sequence. Mother tongue, first shown at the 2017 Whitney Biennial, is a forest of twenty-six living trees with human caretakers in the museum. For home show, which took place at his apartment in New York, Raza asked friends, family and artists to intervene in his own life.


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Private Patrons
Geoff Ainsworth AM and Johanna Featherstone
Guido Belgiorno-Nettis AM and Michelle Belgiorno-Nettis
Jillian Broadbent AO and Olev Rahn
Andrew Cameron AM and Cathy Cameron
Alan Conder and Alan Pigott
Barry and Suzi Carp
Patrick Firkin
Danny Goldberg OAM and Lisa Goldberg
David Gonski AC and Prof Orli Wargon OAM
Leslie and Ginny Green
Lizanne Knights and Julian Knights AO
Walter and Liz Lewin
Matty and Trish Lunn
Mark and Louise Nelson
Tony and Roslyn Oxley
Orson Oztop
Andrew and Andrea Roberts
Justine and Damian Roche
Penelope Seidler AM
Michael Snelling and Suhanya Raffel
Throsby Family
Emily and Richard Young
Peter Weiss AO
Peter and Jenny Wohl

Ivey Wawn

Ivey Wawn is an independent artist working between Sydney and Melbourne. Her practice emerges from dance into the choreographic, dealing with systems to build live performance situations for a range of contexts. Her work has been shown at Underbelly Arts Festival, Firstdraft Gallery and at RMIT Design Hub among others. She was recipient of the DanceWEB Scholarship in 2016, a Responsive Residency through Critical Path in 2018, and the 2019 Performance Space Experimental Choreography Residency. Ivey is a student of Political Economy at the University of Sydney and also sells her labour as a waiter between projects.

Photo: Freya Ludowici

Khaled Sabsabi

Khaled Sabsabi’s process involves working across art mediums, geographical borders, and cultures to create immersive and engaging art experiences. He see’s art as an effective tool to communicate with people, through a familiar language. Sabsabi makes work that questions rationales and complexities of nationhood, identity, and change. His practice speaks to audiences in ways that enlighten our understanding of universal dynamics which are more complex and ultimately more unknowable than our own selves.

Jana Hawkins-Andersen

Jana Hawkins-Andersen is an artist based in Sydney, working in sculpture and ceramics. Through arrangements that display impact, touch, and absorption between materials her work focuses on a politics of intimacy and care. Presented as co-dependent, parasitic installations, the work considers the entangled experiences of care and trespass and examines the viewer’s relationship to complicated objects that contaminate and disrupt. Jana completed her MFA at UNSW Art and Design in 2018 and was a codirector at Firstdraft, Sydney from 2017-2018.

Agatha Gothe-Snape

Agatha Gothe-Snape works at the threshold of visual arts and performance. She has a highly trained and deeply attuned understanding of performance strategies and how they intersect not only with the visual but with the relational and architectural. As a result, her works are singular, embracing the complexity, ambiguity and slippages of both performance and language in an aesthetic style that is questioning, poetic, and political. Gothe-Snape has exhibited in major international biennales including the Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2018), 20th Biennale of Sydney (2016), PERFORMA, New York (2015), and the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, (2014). In 2017, she presented a solo exhibition at the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo. She has exhibited widely in Australia at artist-run spaces, state-funded institutions, and museums. Her work is held in major collections across Australia. Gothe-Snape is actively involved in Wrong Solo, a collaborative performance group that she began in 2006 with fellow Sydney artist, Brian Fuata. She also has a long-standing collaboration with choreographer and dancer Brooke Stamp, as well as artist Sarah Rodigari, and dancer and choreographer Lizzie Thomson.

Brian Fuata

Brian Fuata works in performance through live and mediated forms. He employs various modes of presentation within the framework of structured-improvisation. In Fuata’s works, the act of viewing is a reciprocating action between artist and audience and audience with each other. Fuata employs the ‘blank sheet’ as a recurring motif in his work, which transforms with different contexts into emails, paper, Word.Doc, google.doc, SMS text, concrete, film, and in the case of his 20-minute ghost performances, a white bedsheet. Solo works include Care disfigurements (flowers), Art Central Hong Kong Art Fair (2019); Placeholder, Enjoy Gallery, Christchurch (2016); A predictive/preparatory performance for a circuit of email and the living, Performa Biennial, New York (2015); Untitled (ghost machinery refit/letting go of the sheet), Chisenhale Gallery, London (2015); Close to the knives (one to five) email performances, for Endless Circulation, Tarrawarra Biennale, Tarrawarra (2016); FIFO Ghost, Liquid Architecture at the National Gallery Victoria, Melbourne (2015); Apparitional Charlatan...for 24FramesPerSecond, Carriageworks (2016); Privilege (performance), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (2015); Points of Departure: one to three, email performance, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014).

Dean Cross

Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and is of Worimi descent. He is a trans-disciplinary artist primarily working across installation, sculpture, and photography. His career began in contemporary dance, performing and choreographing nationally and internationally for over a decade with Australia’s leading dance companies. Following that Dean re-trained as a visual artist, gaining his Bachelor’s Degree from Sydney College of the Arts, and his First Class Honours from ANU School of Art and Design. In 2019, Dean will undertake the inaugural Canberra/Wellington Indigenous Artist exchange, where he will be supported by the ACT Government to undertake research with the National War Memorials in both Canberra and Wellington.

Photo: Janelle Evans

Megan Alice Clune

Megan Alice Clune shifts between musician, composer, and artist. Primarily, her work consists of a dissection of musical elements and contexts through verbal or text-based scores, sound installation, and collaboration. Megan has presented work and undertaken residencies across Australia, Europe and North America, including the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival (MA), Underbelly Arts, Next Wave Festival, Performa 15 (NYC) and Vivid Live at the Sydney Opera House.

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan

Chun Yin Rainbow Chan works across music, performance, and installation. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Sydney, Rainbow is interested in mistranslations, diaspora and the effects of globalisation on modern Chinese society. Melding bubbly, textured soundscapes and off-kilter electronics with her pop sensibilities, Rainbow’s songs consistently evolve to reflect of her changing ties to desire, memory and space.

Photo: Jonno Revanche

Daniel Boyd

Daniel Boyd’s practice is internationally recognized for its manifold engagement with the colonial history of the Australia-Pacific region. Dynamic historical compositions are revealed only through the hundreds of pixelated ‘lenses’ applied to the canvas. These lenses allow us to look at the spaces between them thus highlighting the liminal space between black and white, the ‘other’ and the ‘enlightened’. Boyd has both Aboriginal and Pacific Islander heritage and his work traces this cultural and visual ancestry in relation to the broader history of Western art. Boyd has been exhibiting in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas since 2005. Boyd was recently included in Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds (2018) and the travelling exhibition 3rd National Indigenous Art Triennial: Defying Empire, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2018). He has held solo exhibitions at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2016), Artspace, Sydney (2013) and at the Natural History Museum, London (2012). Boyd’s paintings are held in major public collections in Australia as well as notable international collections such as the Samdani Art Foundation, Dhaka, Bangladesh and the Kadist Collection in Paris, France.

Photo: Liz Ham