Photo: Peter Boyle

On 15 September 2012 a Welcome to Aboriginal Land Passport Ceremony was held in Redfern. Over 200 people, including newly arrived asylum seekers, were issued with an Aboriginal Passport by Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association. The ceremony itself is an important and powerful disruption of settler colonialism and its assumptions of national sovereignty. It recognizes, furthermore, that indigenous sovereignty was never ceded. At the same time, the ceremony undermines the authority of state-issued passports as documents that finally determine questions of inclusion and exclusion. As the Ceremony organisers write, “the issuing of the Passports covers two important areas of interactions between the Traditional Owners of the Lands and migrants, asylum seekers and non-Aboriginal citizens of this country. Whilst they acknowledge our rights to all the Aboriginal Nations of Australia we reciprocate by welcoming them into our Nations. It is a moral win-win for all involved in the process”.

This Seminar, one week after the event, will consider a range of issues raised by the ceremony, including the politics of sovereignty; whether a singular indigenous sovereignty is possible; as well as what alternative sovereignties might look like.

The seminar will be chaired by Eve Vincent and will involve the following speakers:

Ray Jackson – President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association and long term activist who has been deeply involved in social movements for many years - from the Union movement through to deaths in custody and policing issues.

Maria Giannacopolous – a lecturer in Socio-legal Studies and Criminal Justice at Flinders University. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the relations between law, justice and sovereignty with a specific emphasis on racialised communities (Indigenous peoples, refugees and migrants) in Australia.

Darren Parker – a Ngunnawal man, a graduate of University of Melbourne and currently a PhD student at the same university. On completion of this qualification he will be the first Aboriginal PhD graduate from Melbourne Law School. Darren has an interest in commercial law and in particular the social impact of law within our community and on the indigenous population in particular.

This seminar is the third in the Cross Border Collective’s monthly series of seminars on the theme of Politics, Colonialism, Borders. These seminars aim to bring together activists and academics to examine local and international movements and debates in order to develop a counter-politics of the border. In our view, any such political movement must confront and resist Australia’s colonial history and the ongoing dispossession of indigenous peoples. If you would like to get involved in future seminars, please email Katie Hepworth ( or Richard Bailey (

The CBC is a Sydney based group that has been working on projects around race, the border, migration and the state for around two years. In the past, the Cross Border Collective has organised conferences, events, forums, protest and direct action. For more information see:

22 September Tin Sheds Gallery, 2pm
Wilkinson Building Hearth, University of Sydney
Doors open 1.30pm for 2pm start.




Please join us for the Australian premiere of Anathema (2011, 37mins) from Turner Prize nominees the Otolith Group this Thursday. The screening will be followed by a conversation with renowned cultural theorist and advisor on the film Mark Fisher, blogger at k-punk and author of Capitalist Realism.

 'ANATHEMA reimagines the microscopic behaviour of liquid crystals undergoing turbulence as a sentient entity that possesses the fingertips and the eyes enthralled by the LCD touch-screens of communicative capitalism. ANATHEMA can be understood as an object-oriented video that isolates and recombines the magical gestures of dream factory capitalism. By bringing the telecommunicating couplings of mother-father-daughter-son-machines and boyfriend-girlfriend-units into contact with the conductive imagery of liquid crystallization, ANATHEMA proposes itself as a prototype for a counter-spell assembled from the possible worlds of capitalist sorcery.'

The Otolith Group is an award winning artist led collective and organisation founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun in 2002 that integrates film and video making, artists writing, workshops, exhibition curation, publication and developing public platforms for the close readings of the image in contemporary society. The Group's work is formally engaged with research led projects exploring the legacies and potentialities of artists led proposals around the document and the essay film, the archive, the aural and sonic medium, speculative futures and science-fictions.

Thursday 20 September 7pm, Tin Sheds Gallery
ALT2 lecture theatre, Wilkinson Building, University of Sydney.




We understand the present as an era governed by neoliberal and ecological concerns; a conflux of market and planetary forces whose irreconcilable differences elicit a moment of crisis, and its potential for resolve or rupture.

Artists’ strategies and their findings form part of a broad public inquiry into these conditions. They reveal a cynicism towards outmoded ideologies and instrumentalised politics, and an interest in spiritual and occult means as a way to navigate life in the ‘post-internet anthropocene’. We see an ongoing interest in social processes and activities that locate artists outside of the studio-gallery circuit such as hospitality, teaching and learning. We see the ironic production of art objects that self-critique their co-option into the commodity cycle or test the capacity/inescapability of neoliberal acculturation. We also see artists at work under these conditions, confronting their own subjectivities to enact and articulate new forms of sovereignty.

Crisis Complex calls upon art's claim of autonomy; as a return of the social, as an intellectual provocation and as a nascent political field.

Heidi Axelsen & Hugo Moline, Ella Barclay, Carla Cescon, Edgar Cobián, Tony Garifalakis, Francesca Heinz, Lise Hovesen & Javier Rodriguez, Adam Norton, Joaquin Segura, Takayuki Yamamoto and theweathergroup_U.

Alongside a screening, conversations and a forum with The Otolith Group and Mark Fisher, Cross Border Collective, John von Sturmer and Jeremy Walker.

Crisis Complex is curated by Laura McLean and Sumugan Sivanesan.



September 14, Friday 6 – 8pm: Opening

September 15, Saturday 1 – 3pm: Artist Talks

September 20, Thursday 7 – 9pm: Screening The Otolith Group Anathema (2011) followed by a conversation with Mark Fisher (via video link)

September 22, Saturday 2 – 4pm: Forum: Cross Border Collective Contesting Colonial Sovereignty: Aboriginal Passports and Indigenous-Migrant Solidarity

October 6, Saturday 2 – 5pm: John von Sturmer and Jeremy Walker in conversation

October 13, Saturday 2 – 5pm: Artist Talks, Finissage