James Powditch

The World According to Mike Archer
2006 Salon des Refuses, S.H. Ervin Gallery: March 2006
Tweed River Art Gallery Collection
timber, paper, paint, plastic & cloth
© James Powditch 2006

Mike Archer (BA, Princeton University; PhD University of Western Australia) was born in Sydney in 1945, a dual citizen of Australia and the USA. He has been Curator of Mammals at the Queensland Museum, Professor of Biological Science at the University of New South Wales, Director of the Australian Museum and is now Dean of Science at UNSW. He has published over 300 research papers and 18 books and has received countless awards for research and science communication. 

The Mike Archer that I have observed over the years is a man of ideas. I have always been impressed by his willingness to champion the cause of science to an often indifferent world and he has done so with an intellect, wit and so much damn charm that you just can not  help but be caught up in the wonder of it all. I say wonder because the world of Mike Archer is truly wonderful. But how to portray a man whose life is work that is one built on ideas? The premise was simple - offer him an imaginary, once in a lifetime seven book deal and ask him, in his own words, to give a portrait of that life's work. So in these "might be" books you'll come face to face with the 'thingodonta', the 'fangaroo' - flesh eating kangaroos and tree-climbing crocodiles - all discovered through his ground breaking work at the Riversleigh World Heritage fossil deposits. Mike will challenge your preconceptions on extinction and immortality, ecological sustainability and put to bed, once and for all, such irrational superstition as 'Scientific Creationism' and 'Intelligent Design'. And I'm also guessing that he’ll love the debate that this'Portrait' evokes. After all anything that keeps us thinking and talking can't be a bad thing.


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