The Bonobo Project


What if we are instinctively more cooperative and loving than we think?

This is the question at the heart of The Bonobo Project, a creative collaboration exploring concepts around human nature and culture, the ‘human condition’, and whether or not humans might possess instincts to be more cooperative and loving than our contemporary society suggests we are.

The project centers on an online collaborative community known as The Bonobo Village. Project activities arise out of the interactions of co-enquirers in the village. Village life, and how to get involved, is described below.

One early project activity was a gathering of co-enquirers held on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland Australia, 26-28 July 2019.


The Bonobo Village

The Bonobo Village is an online community of creative co-enquirers who share an interest in human nature, behaviour and culture, who choose to come together to explore these issues in a spirit of love, nurture and co-operation.

The village is a beautifully diverse collection of humans of differing shapes who each contribute to village life in their own unique way. It is a place where we meet and embrace new friends, research partners, and creative collaborators. A place where we can sit, in circles, in pairs, or alone. A place where we can join in conversations, or just eavesdrop, or just walk by without even noticing. It’s a place where we share - our hearts, our vision, our passion, our wisdom, our experiences, our insights, our ideas, our questions, our longings, our fears, our aspirations. A place where we make, and unmake, and make again. A place of words and images and music, of songs and dance. A place of inspiration. A place of challenge. A place of collective magic.

Village life is very dynamic. People will come and go as they will. They will engage or not as they will. There will be times of busyness and times of quite. How you engage, what you contribute, and what you receive will be entirely up to you.

The Bonobo Village is open and self-organizing. We have started the village with some basic infrastructure and some ideas about how we might proceed, but our intention is to go on a creative journey together. We dream of conversations and collaborations, connections and gatherings, enquiries and sub-projects, exhibitions and performances and shows - all arising joyously, playfully, spontaneously out of the creative chaos of village life.

Anyone with a desire to creatively explore what it means to be human in a spirit of love, nurture and co-operation is welcome to join in. We simply ask that you register your interest and tell us a little about yourself.

The Dancers, Papillon 2017

The Dancers, Papillon 2017


Your hosts and co-enquirers


Papillon profile pic

Bios are a bit like hats. They can say so much, but you can mostly only wear one at a time. And context is everything! I have worn so many hats in my life. Here’s a selection for your consideration: activist, adventurer, atheist, artist, ecologist, explorer, faerie, father, gardener, homo, husband, lecturer, lover, missionary, musician, nomad, scientist, singer, speaker, writer. Good luck trying to wear some of those at the same time right?

Butterflies don’t wear hats. They put their colours on their wings and advertise them to the world wherever they go. It’s easier than trying to remember which hat you’re supposed to be wearing - and so much less baggage! As for my colours, I’m not sure I can really see them that clearly myself. Lots of blue and green for sure. But so many flashes of brilliant opalescence in there too. Perhaps you should tell me what you see?

This particular butterfly lives in the forest, as close to nature as possible, and with as little environmental impact as possible. I left my science career and mainstream life 5 years ago and have been living simply in nature as an artist since then, seeking to heal, to continually reassess my values and align my life with them, and to find my best, unique and meaningful contribution to humanity with the time I (we) have left. 

And that is why bonobo. Because I need to know what it means for me to be human in this time. And what it means for you to be human in this time. And what it means for us to be human in this time. What manner of humans we will need to be to survive this new age we are entering? Do we dare believe we can thrive in the face of what is coming? And what it will mean for us to live a beautiful life as we watch much of what we know and love pass into history?



I’m an itinerant and a layabout, so very interested in lying under a shady tree listening to a burbling creek on a warm day. Hopefully with a good book made of paper. Sadly, both trees and idyll days are under threat. So too are my people…so many beautiful things in the path of a voracious, rampaging Juggernaut. How will we survive?


I do a bit of performance and also textile art, I’ve facilitated art therapy classes at a local rehab, reassuring addicts the outcome of their artistic experiments are secondary to the process. The means are the ends, see. I love to go exploring and ask questions because I’m nosey. I’m an armchair philosopher and a wordsmith. I tend gardens and provide goosedown comfort to the people I love, or at least I try to. I grasp at straws and hands and sniff the flowers.

Are there some opaque, watery depths I can dive into? Crawling around in the leaf litter or the ashes…moving slowly and heavily. Perhaps there’s a fire that needs tending and so I can stare into it, caught in the detail.

I thrive in the bosom of grassroots communities, attuned to the life force rhythms of nature and also seek out irreverent pop cultural expressions, big city kicks, opportunities for dressing up, exploring sexual deviances and other lifestyle frivolities. Minimising my ecological footprint and support of the capitalist system is easiest when living under the poverty line, so no one find me a Sugar Mama. White Lady Problems Abound.


You can register your interest in The Bonobo Village here or can email us about it at