NiTRO Creative Matters

Perspectives on creative arts in higher education

100 Atmospheres: Studies in Scale and Wonder –Book

by The Meco Network

At a time when climate panic obscures clear thought, 100 Atmospheres is an invitation to think differently. Through speculative, poetic, and provocative texts, thirteen writers and artists have come together to reflect on human relationships with other species and the planet. The process of creating 100 Atmospheres was shared, with works (written, photographic and drawn) created individually and collectively.

To think differently, we need to practice differently.

The book contains thirteen chapters threaded amidst one hundred co-authored micro-essays. In an era shaped by critical ecological transformation 100 Atmospheres dwells in the deep past and the troubled present to imagine future ways of being and becoming.


This project is an invitation to think differently. In these 100
Atmospheres, thirteen writers and artists trace some material
becomings of this planet. We think of these Atmospheres
as notes towards a material ecology that might be as
transformative as those of the previous 500 years. We have been
told, ‘you cannot do this.’ ‘You can’t write this book together,
there are too many people involved.’ And later we are asked:
‘How will you do it?’
Sometimes we essay with a plural voice. Other times a soloist
(usually anonymous) steps forward in the telling. Or, if you like,
we constantly fracture and reassemble as we move between and
across these atmospheres.
From paradigms of thought, spells, beliefs, thresholds, action
and affects, through mist and wind …

The Material Ecologies Research Network (MECO) emerged in 2014 as a collective of scholars from the University of Wollongong working at the intersection of cultural practices and the environmental humanities. MECO uses collaborative research strategies to explore the knowledges generated by practice-led material encounters. As a research community focused on creative practice in the Anthropocene, MECO is a space of care and concern, a site for being together within the institutional structures of a University, as well as a habitat for contesting praxis, and a vehicle for research generation. MECO continues in small interventions, habitations, and moments of commensality that now extend beyond the institution.

A project like this could not have been started without the conversations that took place at the MECO research camps between 2014-2017. Participants at the camps included: Susan Ballard, Louise Boscacci, Brogan Bunt, Anne Collett, Nicky Evans, Laura Fisher, Leah Gibbs, Agnieszka Golda, Mike Griffiths, Eva Hampel, Penny Harris, Bianca Hester, Lucas Ihlein, Sigi Jöttkandt, Joshua Lobb, Douglas Kahn, Madeleine Kelly, Jo Law, Catherine McKinnon, Chris Moore, Teodor Mitew, Pip Newling, David Ottina, Jo Stirling, Mat Wall-Smith, Kim Williams.

Country … well … the way I would describe it is … is … it’s the
place … it’s the people … it’s the culture … it’s the journey … and
it’s the inter-relationship between these things. Five fingers
on one hand …
… So when I talk about Country as a place it’s absolutely the
trees, and the birds and the reptiles … it’s the sealife, it’s the
stone … it’s the fresh water, the bitter water, the salt water …
it’s the greens, the browns, the blues … all the types of blues,
you know … it’s the smells … it’s all of those things that are
representative of this place. It’s not the reds and the browns
that you find out there in the west … it’s not them. It’s here … it’s
a flock of white cockatoos … or a pair of black ones when they
bring the rain … it’s these sorts of things that we know … you see
… we’ve got Warra Bingi Nunda Gurri … we’ve got the red-bellied
black snake, that’s our dreaming. Right … that’s your escarpment
… that’s your dreaming. See … this is the place we’re living in …


100 Atmospheres is a strange mix of NTRO and Scholarly work. It includes lyric essays, creative nonfiction, some scholarly essays, and 100 atmospheres (small fragment pieces) that are written by a method we called (post the process) ‘crossover writing: a collaborative writing method where no one person ‘owns’ a word; a method where writers write over each other, again and again.

Due to the process and approach, we were never sure where the book would land. Some of the 100 Atmospheres researchers wrote a research statement for the book as part of the process of reporting at their university; and other members had reported the work as a scholarly work (or ‘traditional’ output) at another institution, which was accepted as such. The reason for this ‘approval’ hinged on the international peer reviewer’s praise for it being a new approach to scholarly work.

100 Atmospheres is a piece of research that contains a range of modes and forms of expression. For all the researchers the process and artefact provided an energetic way to think through and enact the synergies between ‘traditional’ and ‘non-traditional’ research.  


The MECO Network is Susan Ballard, Louise Boscacci, David Carlin, Anne Collett, Eva Hampel, Lucas Ihlein, Jo Law, Joshua Lobb, Jade Kennedy, Teodor Mitew, Catherine McKinnon, Jo Stirling, Kim Williams

Main image: Jo Law, The Illustrated Almanac: Interpretation of Phenological events over 1 calendar year (detail)

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