Mélange is an IOTA24 exhibition at Mundaring Arts Centre opening in July 2024 created by the Underfoot, a companionship of artists who work with places and craft-inspired practices in the face of catastrophic ecological change. The exhibition will be a feast infused with parallel meanings and rich metaphorical associations between disciplines. Inspired by the encounter and exchange of deep time, geological forces, and the Furies with the Anthropocene, our collaborative and individual works draw on divergent and convergent threads in Underfoot’s multifaceted practices. Mélange includes traditional and modified craft genres that incorporate the languages of fibre, earth, stitch and dye, interspersed with ephemeral layers of voice, video and performance.

In geology, a mélange consists of fragments of rocks (up to kilometre-scale) within a deformed sedimentary matrix. A mélange forms during tectonic convergence that forms mountain belts, such as India colliding with Asia to create the Himalayas. In textiles, melange refers to yarns with more than one colour, and a melange fabric involves the inconsistent use of dyed and undyed fibres, resulting in a vibrant pattern. 

Mélange features custom-designed tables on a collision course. One table laden with handcrafted crockery, tableware and napery alluding to a flourishing feast, or a midden. These objects and the surrounding walls, floor, lighting, and sounds feature hidden (coded) ecological messages. Cultural knowledge codes run parallel, intersect at points, but fail to converge. Parallel codes of the ecological world (nests, flowering) run parallel, or at odds, with the narrative of material growth – footprints of humans and more-than-humans imprinting code – art making as absorbing codes and producing bespoke new ones. Mélange, a kind of Alice in Wonderland meets the Anthropocene, promises to challenge us as makers, weaving multivarious languages in unexpected ways.