Show and Tell and Ask: Extracted Confessions with Penelope Cain

Artist Talk
2 April 2024
Show and Tell and Ask: Extracted Confessions with Penelope Cain

Join Artistic Director Danni Zuvela in conversation with artist Penelope Cain (Adelaide/Sydney/The Hague) for a candid discussion about the artist’s practice.


2 April 2024

5:30pm to 7:00pm


Topics will include making art from post-extractive landscapes; visualising the Holocene; atmospheres as agents; and consultations with more-than-human memory keepers.

Show and Tell and Ask is a new talks series at ACE featuring artists talking about their practice. It’s a space of knowledge sharing; for exploring complex topics through the lens of artistic practice; for learning and unlearning about the issues of our time, together. You are invited to come along, listen, ask questions if you want to, and join the conversation.

Feature Image: Song of Lyrebirds Haupapa


Penelope Cain

Penelope Cain's practice centres around planetary storytellings from the Anthropocene and Post-Carbon. These occupied, colonised, extracted and transformed lands, and the other-than-human future-fables and mythologies, as they emerge. 

With a biological science background Penelope Cain's art practice is located between scientific knowledge and unearthing connective untold narratives in the world. She works across media and knowledge streams, with scientists, datasets, people, residues, air, water and land to map untold and molecular and planetary level storytellings. 

Born in Adelaide and based between Sydney and The Hague, she most recently exhibited in curated exhibitions in Re/Wild, Maxxi Rome curated by Manuel Cirauqui, the SACO Biennale, Chile (2023), and The Social Life of Microbes, Radius, Delft. 

She is currently undertaking an art-science intersection residency with the EU Joint Research Centre for Science, Italy, to be exhibited at IMAL Brussels,  and later this year a new research commission considering AI robotics in Dutch food production greenhouses, as part of an  Ars Electronica-led digital new deal project. 

She has a new solo installation at Post Office Projects, Port Adelaide, that takes as a starting point the detection of lead dust from colonial silver mining in Broken Hill (Australia’s largest historic silver deposit), in the ice of Antarctica; arriving, windborne, 20 years before the British raced the Norwegians to claim the last unclaimed continent. 

The work considers atmospherics and thresholds, and of the indistinct zone between insides and outsides, north and south, gallery and pole. Of post extractive landscapes and notions of control at the end of the Holocene. Of one water and one air across two continents and an ocean with dust as story transmitters and ice as historians.

Wherever you may go know I have been there. With thanks to Post Office Projects Port Adelaide.
Saturns Breath. With thanks to Post Office Projects Port Adelaide.

With thanks to Post Office Projects Port Adelaide.

ACE tampinthi, ngadlu Kaurna yartangka panpapanpalyarninthi (inparrinthi). Kaurna miyurna yaitya mathanya Wama Tarntanyaku. Parnaku yailtya, parnaku tapa purruna, parnaku yarta ngadlu tampnthi. Yalaka Kaurna miyurna itu yailtya, tapa purruna, yarta kuma puru martinthi, puru warri-apinthi, puru tangka martulayinthi.

ACE respectfully acknowledges the traditional Country of the Kaurna people of the Adelaide Plains and pays respect to Elders past and present. We recognise and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs and relationship with the land. We acknowledge that they are of continuing importance to the Kaurna people living today.