The Companion Companion Reader is a collection of commissioned writings by invited human companions from multiple disciplines.
The collection emerges alongside To companion a companion an exhibition of new work by contemporary Argentinean-Australian artist Fernando do Campo being presented at Contemporary Art Tasmania (CAT Hobart), UNSW Galleries (Sydney), and Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA Perth) during 2021-22.
The exhibition proposes the artist as companion, navigating the knotted human-animal histories encountered in the field and in the archive.
The Companion Companion Reader fills the place of the accompanying exhibition catalogue essay through the guise of a conventional companion reader. By analyzing
companion as both a noun and a verb, the artist is companion to the companion, to the animal, to history, to the other, to the reader.
Much like the concurrent exhibition which presents notions of the artist as companion through painting and archiving, non-verbal forms of cross-species communication and plural histories, this anthology considers forms of companioning through writing, reading, and collaboration.
Acknowledging its direct extension of Donna Haraway’s Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness (2003), contributors were invited to respond to the idea of the human becoming the companion to the companion through any angle or form. They could (but not necessarily) respond to the exhibition material, introduce other human and/or non-human companions or collaborators, write from their own research or field, or propose another form of or discussion on companioning.
During the life of the project, new writing will be published on this dedicated website conceptualized by Fernando do Campo and designed by Will Lee, with contributions by Erin Hortle, Paul Kelaita, Talia Linz, Annie Potts, Timo Rissanen & Zoë Sadokierski, and more forthcoming. The writing will be published chronologically but exist on the site in no particular order. Many texts will shift or expand during the life of the project. At the final presentation of the exhibition, the website will culminate in a physical publication.