Announcing the inaugural Overland Writers Residency

Type
Announcement

The Overland Writers Residency, supported by the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, is a new initiative aimed at addressing a lack of opportunities for marginalised writers. In 2016, the Overland Writers Residency will focus on providing an opportunity for women writers who are also the sole primary carers of one or more children.

orchard
ghost-shell
Type
Polemic
Category
Cinema
Culture

Space racism: on Hollywood actors & their whitewashing

This is how the future looks through Hollywood’s eyes: Asian trappings, but minimal Asian people. Our real future will probably not look like that: with the likelihood of China continuing to dominate economically and scientifically, the points of difference between Earth now and our space-faring future aren’t going to be white people in Chinoiserie; it’s going to be brown people in modern Chinoiserie. And it’s going to be people speaking Japanese and getting to space on Japanese tech and actually being Japanese.

14781461154_b2fb05a594_b
Type
Polemic
Category
Refugee rights

Australia, exceptional in its brutality

To implement the state of exception, Agamben argues, governments frame challenges and subjects in the language of national security or national interest – a political process where the language of war is used to justify an increase in government powers. Issues are represented through a militaristic language and the government is given rights to solve any issues seen as relating to security by any means.

cambridge
Type
Article
Category
Higher education
The media

Specialisation is destroying my generation

Never has the requirement of specialisation been more prevalent than in the current Australian media landscape. Even when a story is written specifically about millennials, the resultant article will likely be written by a fifty year old. Why? Because millennials lack the requisite qualifications to write about their own lives.

Elec-belt-lge
Type
Polemic
Category
Electioneering

Pants on fire!

It would take a special sort of demagogue to argue against the essence of Thomas Jefferson’s famous assertion that ‘an enlightened citizenry is indispensable for the proper functioning of a republic’ but we might also reasonably wonder what the upshot of Fray’s ideal of political accountability by fact-check is. Are politicians any more truthful, or even careful, as a result? (There is, in fact, some evidence that the more politicians lie, the better they poll).

Hannibal-Eating
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Reading

Carrion call

The book that got me thinking about the treatment of animals was Michel Faber’s Under the Skin. It covers many topics – what it means to be human, the role of women in society and so forth. But one of the strongest arguments in the book is that of vegetarianism. In it we see humans captured, castrated and gorged in order to feed an insatiable alien diet. It isn’t so much the ‘vegetarian’ alien character that convinces with his contrived speeches, but more the imagery of humans as cattle.

Landscape
Type
Article
Category
Culture
Gender

Interlopers in a masculine city

Since at least the 1970s, writing on the experience of women in cities has focused on the ways in which the built environment acts as an expression of or enabler for the violence enacted upon women’s bodies: sexual assault and other violent crime, and the spatial separation of supposedly ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ space – that harmful dichotomy of public and private dividing the home from the street and workplace.

Public-toilet-2
Type
Polemic
Category
Politics
Transgender rights

The anti-trans backlash is here

One might be under the impression that transgender people have never been so visible nor been so accepted, from the Time Magazine cover declaring the ‘trans tipping point’ to the coming out of reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, to more meaningful progress in access to medical treatment and human rights across much of the world. But visibility has always been a double-edged sword for transgender people, and while there have always been transphobic responses to trans gains (Germaine Greer, for instance, has been predictably awful for forty years), it was inevitable at some point that a substantial political backlash would emerge.

1170840_646109795492729_6282381947132841845_n
Type
Reflection
Category
Activism
Politics
War on Terror

Power of assembly: on the New World Summit

New World Summit (NWS) is an artistic and political organisation founded by Dutch artist Jonas Staal in 2012. Resembling an alternative United Nations, the Summit was initially convened to invite groups blacklisted during the ‘War on Terror’ – and thus excluded from formal democratic processes – to a series of ‘propositions for alternative parliaments’.

PicassoLeReve
Type
Polemic
Category
Culture
Gender

The politics of genius

But surely the question of genius is not an economic concern? Or is it? We certainly live in a world where economics is central in all areas of life, including art.

Genius is a tantalisingly vague concept. And yet its historical association with dead white males such as Leonardo da Vinci and Albert Einstein, and in contemporary times, with Steve Jobs and the still very much alive Stephen Hawking, suggests its distinctly masculine character.

Stonewall 45
Type
Polemic
Category
Activism
LGBTQI

Erasing LGBTI history

I was surprised to read the news that Daniel Andrews, premier of Victoria, was going to fund Australia’s first Pride Centre to the tune of $15 million. Mostly because I used to work in one in Sydney more than fifteen years ago.

Autumn-Fiction-2016-(anti-dis-un)
Type
Editorial

Anti-/dis-/un-Australian fiction issue

I’ve been so bored with realist Australian fiction; sleepy stories that perhaps have one eye open, but aren’t looking at anything worth seeing. I’m guilty of it too. You should see the piece I’m working on at the moment; it’s terrible, and leaves me wanting to turn the pages inside out. Still, I summoned the nerve to plead for something different.

ryan-trecartin
Type
Review
Category
Art

Ghost of the future past: on the work of Ryan Trecartin

The game is ultimately one of endurance: the video-works total six hours screened back to back, and experiencing them is akin to stumbling upon a raucous sorority party, and fighting the urge to simply shut the door. While many of my fellow gallery-goers bowed out of the competition after mere minutes, I persevered, irradiating elitist triumph. Yet the truth was that I too felt alienated by the hyper-verbal characters on the screen before me; that their private speech codes and aspirational posturing made me feel old.

Brooker 222
Type
Essay
Category
Activism
Debate

Production lines of flesh & bone

What does the exploitation of animals have to do with anything except the exploitation of animals? As Carol J Adams observes in The Sexual Politics of Meat, vegetarians appear to be saying one thing only: ‘Don’t eat meat’. But is it possible that there is more to be said?

Convery 222
Type
Essay
Category
Activism
Sexual assault
The law

Get your hands off my sister

‘I believe women’ has become something of a feminist catchcry. It has developed as a response to frequent and institutionalised trivialisation of sexual assault. The suggestion that women are making it up or just ‘looking for attention’, combined with the high acquittal rate of sexual assault cases, has brought about a kind of activism centred on an unshakeable faith in women’s accusations of sexual assault and on the public articulation of this position.

Croggon col
Type
Regular
Category
Writing

On art as therapy

I’ve long held a visceral hostility towards what I’ve called the ‘muesli theory’ of art. This theory maintains that art should be consumed because it’s good for you. Aside from anything else, the idea that art is good for you takes all the fun out of it. It gives art an air of lugubrious obligation that is completely at odds with the involuntary suspension of the self that is art’s most beautiful side effect.