Becoming Entangled: Queer Attachments with Hemiparasites


  • Lesley Instone Independent Scholar and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • Rhett D'Costa Honorary University Fellow at RMIT University



What is that queer plant that drapes itself chaotically over the top of trees and bushes? You know the one along the road on the way into town?

Ah yes! You mean the one with no leaves, that looks like tangled yarn caught up in the branches? 

Yes, it looks like its floating airborne on top of the canopy, smothering and embracing at the same time.

Well, that's the one with the common name of snotty gobble or Dodder-Laurel!!! Dodder may look chaotic but that only demands on how you view it.

I can’t stop thinking about it, Let’s find out what it’s doing.

‘Learning to be affected’ says Bruno Latour is to be 'moved, put into motion by other entities, humans or non-humans’(2004). And this is what happened to Down the Road Projects when we became intrigued with local plant parasites where we live in central Victoria, Australia. 

This paper explores how we became ensnared by planty agencies. By charting our multispecies and human interactions in the course of developing the art project, Becoming Differently (2018), we trace how parasites came to be an important theme of the art, how they infiltrated the art works, how they changed our understanding of parasites, how they enticed us into the bush and developed our style of collaboration.

We ‘queery’ what it means to be ‘drawn towards’ particular plants, we wonder who or what is ‘drawing’, and how these particular plants inflected our art and writing. We consider how we were moved towards different ways of figuring identity and belonging, and how we grappled with practices and modes of engagement with complex issues of identity, belonging and nature in a settler-colonial situation, and how this led to us to become differently entangled in the place where we live.

Author Biographies

Lesley Instone, Independent Scholar and Conjoint Senior Lecturer, University of Newcastle, Australia

Dr Lesley Instone is a cultural geographer whose work explores the material and embodied encounters and entanglements of humans and nonhumans in (mostly) Australian settler colonised lands. Her research experiments with different ways of paying attention and engaging performatively in the world and draws on a richly diverse theoretical landscape including science studies, feminism, postcolonialism, and more-than-human geographies. She has a particular interest in how affect, encounter and contingency shape relations, identities and worlds.

Rhett D'Costa, Honorary University Fellow at RMIT University

Rhett D’Costa was born in India and immigrated to Australia as a child with his family. His experiences as an Asian Australian inform his pan disciplinary art practice and research, from the use of colour to complex expressions of identity and belonging. These interests take into account shifting social and political circumstances and the tensions and consequences of mobility and migration in diverse environments. Rhett’s artistic research examines the agency and role an artist as researcher can have within these often precarious and unstable spaces. In a career spanning thirty years in art practice and tertiary art education, his particular focus has centred around the Asia-Pacific region.


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How to Cite

Instone, Lesley, and Rhett D’Costa. 2021. “Becoming Entangled: Queer Attachments With Hemiparasites”. Performance Philosophy 6 (2):61-81.