Lucas Ihlein is an artist and academic. He collaborates with Big Fag Press, Teaching and Learning Cinema, and SquatSpace, and has during the last ten years been developing a practice based on blogging as a form of art. His Ph.D entitled Framing Everyday Experience: Blogging as Art offers a model for deepening one's connection with the local environment, in the process uncovering forms of “local knowledge” that elude traditional research methods. This project won the 2011 Alfred Deakin Medal for best doctoral thesis. He is a lecturer in Contemporary Arts at University of Wollongong.


The Yeomans Project

Peri-urban field work

Despite moves towards inner-urban consolidation, Australian cities continue to expand in girth. In the process, housing development transforms formerly rural land into "peri-urban" settlements. These transitional zones are often sites of contestation: they place pressure on local amenities and infrastructure, reveal limitations in transportation and food systems, and conflict with “lifestyle” values. In this paper I explore these tendencies through the lens of an art project about Australian farmer P.A. Yeomans. Between 1940 and 1980, Yeomans developed a system of organic farming - "Keyline" - optimised for the poor soils and low rainfall of Australian conditions. Keyline has been hugely influential, particularly on the permaculture movement, which advocates re-localisation of food production in inner-cities. But Yeomans’ own farms, despite being praised as exemplars of “agricultural heritage”, are themselves in the process of being wiped out by medium-density housing developments.