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The Green Brain


Public lecture of the Australian Music and Art Research Group

Start Date

19th Apr 2018 5:30pm


Lecture Theatre (Room 113), Conservatorium of Music, 5 Sandy Bay Rd

RSVP / Contact Information

Dr Arabella Teniswood-Harvey

The Green Brain. Image credit: Brigita Ozolins

Collaboration and Inter-arts Dialogue in New Creative Work

Please join us for the inaugural public lecture of the Australian Music and Art Research Group, to hear Michael Kieran Harvey (composer and keyboard player), Arjun von Caemmerer (writer and narrator) and Brigita Ozolins (installation designer) discuss their collaborative work The Green Brain – a highlight of this year’s MONA FOMA. The lecture is presented in partnership with the Tasmanian Chapter of the Musicological Society of Australia.

Thursday 19th April, 5.30pm, Conservatorium Lecture Theatre (Room 113), Conservatorium of Music, 5 Sandy Bay Rd, Hobart.

The Green Brain (1966), initially published as Greenslaves, is a science fiction novel by Frank Herbert. The book is set in the not-so-distant future, where humankind has all but succeeded in controlling life on the planet and almost completely wiped out insect life. This cycle for mixed keyboards and narrator is in twenty movements named after major insect genera, each of which take characteristics of the particular insect morphology and behaviour to generate a musical portrait. Overall the binding idea in the cycle is the similarity of anatomy, which nevertheless, through evolutionary pressures, has resulted in infinite diversity amongst insects, and indeed amongst all of life on earth and perhaps elsewhere in the universe. The cycle as a whole, though consisting of twenty separate pieces each based on a particular type of insect, is a contemplation on the possibility of the spontaneous emergence of superior intelligence amongst insects when faced with the devastation unleashed on the biosphere by humans.

Each movement of the twenty-part cycle interprets the characteristics of a different kind of insect, which writer Arjun von Caemmerer reconstructed into a series of ‘concrete’ poems emblazoned on the walls of a jungle-like gallery space—designed by installation artist Brigita Ozolins (a Senior Lecturer in the School of Creative Arts, University of Tasmania).

The Green Brain was featured in a The Conversation article by University of Tasmania Art academic Svenja Kratz - Mofo at MONA: operatic bodies, experimental encounters and expanded horizons.