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A Condensed History of Australian Camels

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A Condensed History of Australian Camels combines historical research, creative writing, and copyright-free archival materials to imagine a camel bloodline that spans the entire history of Australian camels (1840–present). As the entirety of the Australian archival sources, histories, and experiences is too vast for any one work to encompass, the camel is used as a consistent anchor: it is the prism through which iridescent fragments of Australia can be viewed.

Surveying the Australian landscape and archive, one sees camels everywhere. The camel is not indigenous to Australia. It is regarded as a beast, a pest, a problem. Current solutions involve ammunition and helicopters, business proposals and conservation, research and governance. The camel is the story of various Australias. The story of arrival. Invasion. Exploration, immigration, colonisation, war...

This work takes the posthuman weight of the Australian archive and counters it with the consistent, icastic image of the camel as representative of colonial Australia. It seeks to reshape and reimagine these materials using what Narungga writer Natalie Harkin labels archival-poetics, to imagine what is “beyond the so-called official record.”

This work then takes this initial image text-relationship and digitally adapts it in three ways. First, using curatorial software, it imagines an interactive fictional/factional camel timeline. Second, using augmented reality, it situates a 3D camel carved with text. And finally, using recombinant poetics, it imagines a multiplying camel train wandering the desert, stopping at various textual oases.

is an author, poet, digital artist, and academic. He won the 2018 Queensland Literary Awards’ Digital Literature Prize, 2019 Robert Coover Award (2nd prize), and 2021 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. He has been shortlisted for multiple other prizes, published in various journals, and received various research grants and fellowships. He has a PhD from Murdoch University and an MSc from The University of Edinburgh, and taught Creative Writing at China’s top university, Tsinghua. He is currently co-editor of The Digital Review, narrative consultant for Stanford University’s Smart Primer project, and Associate Professor at Nagoya University.

is a contemporary multidisciplinary artist renowned for his works in sculpture and video. His art primarily revolves around big data and climate change, which he perceives as the major challenges of our era. Pratt has gained significant acclaim as a leading Australian contemporary artist who has pioneered the use of new technologies for sculpture production. In 2009, he constructed the first open-source 3D printer in Australia, which he generously donated to the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Besides, Pratt creates artwork in coal to address issues related to climate change. His sculptures have received numerous prestigious awards and are present in both private and public collections. Pratt graduated with first-class honours in sculpture from the School of Art, Australian National University in 2002. He also received an Australian Post-Graduate Research Scholarship from the College of Fine Art, University of NSW, which he completed in 2004. Currently, he is pursuing a PhD in Engineering and Information Technology at the University of Technology in Sydney, supported by a post-graduate scholarship. Recently, Pratt published a paper in the M.I.T journal, Leonardo, presenting his innovative research on the production of anamorphic sculpture.

received her PhD in electronic literature from Curtin University. She is a speculative fiction writer currently working on her first novel. She works as a sessional academic at Curtin University and Murdoch University. Karen is currently writing and researching around the influences of governmentality on world building in speculative fiction. Her research focuses on how trauma defines both physical and political spaces. Karen has been published extensively; her latest short story appears in Growing up in Country Australia published by Black Inc., and her digital essay on fake news appeared in the inaugural edition of The Digital Review. Her non-fiction articles and reviews have been published in The Guardian, Fringefeed, ArtsHub, X-Press Magazine, and The Conversation.

is a software engineer and poet working in Boorloo (Perth, Western Australia) on Whadjuk Noongar country, where he earned a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Western Australia. Chris was the joint recipient of a Queensland Literary Award in 2018 for Little Emperor Syndrome, a collaboration with David Thomas Henry Wright, and he was shortlisted for Australian Book Review's Peter Porter Poetry Prize in 2022 and 2023.