Clara Chan


This project explores the use of simple craft techniques as resistance, and is a response to Haraway's call for "collaborative and divergent story-making practice" in her Camille Stories: Children of Compost (2016). I use compost as a figuration that articulates life in the damaged world. Living is composting. This project seeks to inspire curious and open thinking, and to build a "dialogical bridge between knowledge systems” (Rose, 2020). Through the agency of my Children of Compost Symbionts (an organism living in symbiosis with another), this project aims to engage the public in constructive public discourse in order to find hope, care and empathy in the broken world. The symbionts appropriate traditional handcrafted toys, like dolls and bears, and work in the way that psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott called "transitional objects" (Levy, 2021) work for children:  they carry our anxieties, rage, love, and most secret thoughts, and live the life on our behalf. These whimsical symbionts inspire the public to tell their own stories of remediation and repair, encourage the public to create new perspectives and approaches, and engage with a multiplicity of otherness ethically.


How to Cite
Chan, C. (2022) “Finding Children of Compost Symbionts: An exploration of Hopes and Care in the Damaged World”, The Journal of Public Space, 7(3), pp. 117–130. doi: 10.32891/jps.v7i3.1589.
RMIT University: Master of Arts (Art in Public Space)
Author Biography

Clara Chan, RMIT University

Chan M.Y. Chan is an Australian artist with an expanded practice in soft sculptures, textile art, photography, digital art and installation that explore the relationship between human and nonhuman in the Anthropocene. Her current body of work focus on inspiring collective imagination and proposition of stories that transform the ruined.  Chan completed the Graduate Certificate in Visual Art in 2018 and the Master of Art in Public Space in 2021.


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