The qualities that we adore and respect in Eugenia – her intelligence, tenacity, creativity, curiosity, humour, optimism and leadership – are the qualities that are now instilled and recognised in Assemble Papers, which is a product of her vision, work ethic and unwavering determination. Her ability to connect the dots across multiple disciplines and interpret and share small footprint living in all its forms has made a significant contribution to the “culture of living closer together” in Australia and yielded a publication that has exceeded all expectations, providing constant inspiration to its growing and loyal readership.
The legacy that Eugenia will leave at Assemble Papers is monumental and her achievements have been significant and too numerous to summarise here. What we would like to share are three overriding ideas that Eugenia has advanced in her tenure and which will continue to be advanced through her legacy.
Connecting the dots to seemingly “disparate”, but actually “kindred” ideas
Drawing inspiration from Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, in her first editorial Eugenia said that “even the most infinite concepts seem not only accessible, but possible. Genius is not created in a vacuum but rather, it is unearthed and refined through the creative combination and remixing of existing concepts. Knowledge builds upon knowledge. Thirteen years after the World Wide Web was born, it’s with a sense of adventure and excitement that I now join the dots, finding connections between ideas that on a global scale may seem disparate; yet on closer inspection, are found to actually be kindred.”
Taking a “slow and steady” approach to “encourage greater debate on living consciously and creatively in cities”
Upon the first anniversary of Assemble Papers, Eugenia explained the slow-web approach of the publication: “what we publish aims to encourage participation and awareness – not distraction or escape…We founded Assemble Papers to provide a slow, steady knowledge base of ideas and dialogue – fuel for both left and right sides of the brain – and to provoke thought and encourage greater debate on living consciously and creatively in cities. That mission feels as prescient as ever.”
Understanding that we are part of a “super-ecology, neither superior or separate to… nature and culture”
Reflecting on Eugene F. Stoermer’s unofficial term anthropocene (“new age of man”) to describe our current epoch in time, Eugenia wrote, “for my part, I think it’s time that as humans, we both accept and take responsibility for the future of our habitat. To understand that as humans, we are part of a kind of super-ecology, neither superior or separate to the interdependent concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. The city can then be seen as an ecosystem, not simply ‘man-made’, ‘artificial’ or in opposition to a more ‘unspoiled’, outside world. Perhaps then we can view ourselves as active citizens, part of a greater, global ecology that is in our carriage.”
In acknowledging Eugenia’s achievements, the contributions and generosity of her colleagues must also be acknowledged. Eugenia has been fortunate enough to work with acting editors Rachel Elliot-Jones, Sarah Booth and Gabriela Holland and a network of passionate and talented writers, photographers, assistants, interns, designers, typesetters and proofreaders. The success of the publication has been a collective effort, instigated through the leadership, comradeship and mentorship Eugenia has provided the team, creating an orbit of positivity and collaboration around her.
Eugenia was able to excel in her position and advance the publication far beyond expectations, despite very challenging circumstances – including lean budgets, limited resources and the teething issues of a start-up. On every occasion, Eugenia took these challenges in her stride and continuously sought to improve the quality of the publication. Most would not have been able to withstand the pressure, but Eugenia excelled and always maintained her composure.
On top of these challenges, Eugenia has also managed to run her art practice with great success and recognition; fulfil her board membership at Next Wave; found and co-direct Channels: the Australian Video Art Festival; and is a loving and supportive mother to daughter Ida. A multi-tasking effort of mammoth proportions.
Eugenia will be deeply missed by her colleagues and the Assemble community, however her voice will continue to be heard through the strong foundations she has set. While the new editor will have big shoes to fill, they will be handed the Assemble Papers baton from Eugenia with optimism, encouragement and a mandate to connect the dots in their own way – taking the “culture of living closer together” to new frontiers.
Euge, thank you for everything. We wish you the best of luck in all your personal and professional pursuits and look forward to following your continued success.
Ben, Pino, Quino and the Assemble team
Photo of Eugenia Lim by Ben Clement.
- The 7th print issue of Assemble Papers, 'In/formation', considers activism, collective action and the power of people in the information age. (The Beyonce reference in this issue's title is a happy accident.) Here, AP editor Sara Savage explains some of the thinking behind this issue, published in partnership with CLIMARTE, the clever folks behind the biennial ART+CLIMATE=CHANGE festival
- Liberate Tate is an activist art collective, formed shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, that spent six long years campaigning British cultural institution Tate to drop its oil company funding through a series of nearly 20 unsanctioned performances, interventions and protests. Sara Savage speaks to co-founder Mel Evans about 'Big Oil', ethical sponsorship and the power of performance
- Tiggy cafe's Sarah Booth and Julia Dunne share a recipe they learned from Nayran Tabiei, cooking teacher at Free to Feed, a pop-up cooking school in Melbourne taught by refugees and asylum seekers. The recipe? Nayran's Tas Kebab – originating in Turkey, over the centuries it's a dish that has made its way across the region and appears here with a Syrian twist