A publishing venture

by Tessa Zettel on April 5, 2013, no comments

Cloudy though warm. A slight heaviness to the air.

On our second day in-residence, Jen and I set about concretising our activities and expectations for the project. There are so many enticing paths leading out of the cluster of ideas that begin this work. A governing system for our time and energies is the first thing to be built in this leisurely steeplechase towards a set of shared tangible outcomes, though like all experimental structures it must embrace risk and the spectre of collapse.

Two discoveries excited us over the course of the day – firstly the revelation that a key weather event under investigation (a storm-fuelled drunken orgy enjoyed by colonists after Sydney’s first boatload of convict women came ashore in February 1788) is in fact a furphy! The racy tale feeds into a national mythology and thus remains well-entrenched despite a thorough debunking decades ago by feminist historians such as Marion Quartly [See this excellent summary by Grace Karskens on the Dictionary of Sydney]. More on this later.

Our second wide-eyed moment came courtesy of Donna Haraway, in the form of a quote that Jen has been pondering for a while: ‘Any encounter worth its salt turns on responsive mis-recognition’ [1]. Responsive misrecognition seems an apt term for what we are attempting to practice in this residency. It also neatly describes what William Dawes was doing on this same headland some two hundred years ago, not to mention the very project of meteorological science itself.

As we are also in the business of producing encounters, and salty ones at that, it appears the only logical way to proceed is … installing (or is that imagining) an independent publishing house at 28 Harrington Street. Tilting at Windmills Press endeavours to compile and distribute an extensive series of pamphlets, each exploring a different encounter with weather in which things are not as they seem. Stay tuned for full list of titles.


[1] Donna Haraway ‘Foreword: companion species, mis-recognition and queer worlding’ in N. Giffney and M. Hird (eds), Queering the Non/Human (Aldershot: Ashgate) 2008, p.xxiv.

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