Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington
Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

Reading Environments | Deluge: Inundation

Reading group

10.00am 26 April 2024

For the first session in this series of Reading Environments, the readings engage with questions of flood, inundation, and the politics of infrastructure. Our conceptual reading will be Accretion by Nikhil Anand. This will be paired with Floating, a piece of short fiction by Pitchaya Sudbanthad. Both will be read alongside Matthew Galloway’s The Power that Flows Through Us.

“Last night, the TV showed clips of floodwater overwhelming homes—somewhere far away, she hoped. A family of four ate their dinners watching a musical competition show on a laptop perched high on a bookcase, the image of the kids’ white and blue uniforms inverted in the sheen of water under their chairs. If she’d only seen their chewing faces, she’d have guessed it was an ordinary school night.”

- Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Floating, 2019, Guernicamag.com Link: https://www.guernicamag.com/floating/

Nikhil Anand. Accretion, 2015, Cultural Anthropology Online. Link: https://culanth.org/fieldsights/accretion

Reading Environments is a reading group open to all, for reading, listening and thinking together. Hosted by Eli Elinoff (Anthropology), Su Ballard (Art History), Bonnie Etherington, and Adam Grener (English Literatures and Creative Communication), Reading Environments brings together academics, students and interested members of the public to delve into and discuss current work in the Environmental Humanities that helps us navigate the changing environmental contexts of the planet.

On the occasion of Infrastructure: power, politics and imagination, the Reading Environments series will continue under the theme Deluge. These meetings will run across three Friday morning sessions pairing art works from the exhibition with selected readings. Reading Environments | Deluge will engage with various onslaughts—material, conceptual, temporal, technical, political--associated with the making of infrastructural worlds. Each session will develop a dialogue with a specific work from Infrastructure, pairing a conceptual reading with a piece of fiction or poetry.

Matthew Galloway, The Power that Flows Through Us, 2022, 4K drone digital film still. Courtesy of the artist.