Monday, August 29, 2005

Dayglo and disarray

Thinking abut Taussig - I went and bought my first piece of serious danger wear from GOLO today. Its an orange/black polar. It is snug (quite unlike the snugness of a warm grey coat as Walter Benjamin would have put it). I'm going to embellish it for Paris in the winter. Its so grey there - I wanna look like a dayglo pink haired furry freak.
Anway - I reckon the orange & black fleecy will go down a treat for the Forbes bash tomorrow. I was thinking of goin as the virign mary - but didn't want to have bare feet - and was scared of freezing out on the harboar - or tripping over my robes. And then I decided to join in with the cheerleaders - and considered going as Elvis. Thing is - my neighbours bright yellow bedazzled jumpsuit whihc would go down a treat with my elvis sunnies - but then it'd leave my chest exposed (never a good thing for an athsmatic in August).
I reckon I wanna feel secure safe and happy - and that's just what danger wear can do. Plus I'll match the cheerleaders costume of orange and black.
"We're Sexy
We're Cute
We're Radical to Boot"
Shit I'd better learn my lines before tomorrow. I've got a blond wig - so maybe I'll go femme?

In the meantime - I'm avoiding my anger and avoiding my (lover's) bed. she's drunk again (and what would you do on a monday afternoon, huh?). I felt serene for about 15 minute after she bumbled into my room. Then felt enraged. Then thought I'd better leave. the wall came up. No emotions displayed. Cool calm collected right? One of the disadvantages of living in a commune is that there is always someone around who wants to drink or smoke the day away in company. It is NOT a good place for chemical recovery. We've got a quite a few alcoholics, but mercifully the junkies have faded away. Living with stoners has made me understand the time wasting, irrational, ridiculous & obscene policies of marijuana prohibition. Stoners are FUCKING ANNOYING and INSANELY BORING to be around. Imagine a drug that makes people become fascinated by television. No wonder people banned it - just to encourage some discretion amongst the breakfast billie brigade.......... AM I being irrationally intolerant? Yes. Actually the T&S is surprisingly ok with substances weedal, its just the bottle thats a killer. Thurday, tipsy, friday drunk alone (she calls it painting), saturday OK, sunday ok, Monday not OK. Tuesday she works, Wednesday I want to go to an opening & if i ask her i risk having to drag home someone acting like a hyperactive 3 year old with gross motor skill failure. fun.

While I'm having a whinge - I'll throw in the OTHER highlight of the week whihc is the "reality check" that the office of community housing are dong on my premises this friday afternoon. Yes I do have a uni seminar and wuold rather suck sperm but I'll be there speaking the double speak. A real reality check would invlve me punching the bureaucrat in the face, instread of WASTING EIGHT HOURS OF MY LIFE trying to find some fucking documents that can pretend that the artists coop where I live - is actually a management consultants wet dream.

These people want us to produce: a Strategic plan, Strategic Policies, Strategic Procedures and show minutes illustrating the development and implementation of all three, PLUS a Risk Management plan, risk Management Policies, risk Management Procedures and show minutes illustrating the development and implementation of all three, PLUS an Asset Management plan, Asset Management Policies, Asset Management Procedures and show minutes illustrating the development and implementation of all three, PLUS a financial management plan, financial management Policies, financial management Procedures and show minutes illustrating the development and implementation of all three. I have summarised this a bit and left out the bullshit for responsive maintenance versus long term maintenance, and our accountability to key stakeholders. I'm trying to stick to the latter for which I'm officially responsible as treasurer, but each time I leave the house and venture into the courtyard - the few neighbours not swilling booze, smoking joints or having drug/alcohol induced fits of delusion - come an harrass me about all the other shit. "Have you read the document?" I ask. "err, no" they say.

Now the bitter pill of general yen in this case is that TEN YEARS AGO I had a very brief stint in the public service, I learnt the jargon and recited it in a classic fit of hysterical mimesis - upon each pissy memorandum I could devise. I HATED WORKING IN AN OFFICE. I hated the double speak - the anti service imperative of administration. I loathed it wiht all my soul - and tried to get the sack by turning up to work under the influence of a number of chemicals. Eventually when I realised I was harming myself more than anyone else, I left. I decided I would rather DUMPSTER DIVE, and BEG than work in such an envirnoment. It is all about LYING for a living. So I studied art & end of story until I moved into affordeable housing for artists - a rare and precious beast (see Squatting and the recovering catholic for my account at the time). GRadually the Dearetment of housing have been putting on the screws. We won't show tem the studio, and will promise sincerly to stop running any activities that aren't part of the core service delivery charter of the department of housing guidleine (like I'd READ THAt SHT! come ON!!!). And exress my delight to be made aware of the current benchmakrs for the Key performance indicators which they have used to assess our eligiblity for registration. LIKE AS IF i'D FUCKING GIVE A FUCKING TOSS!!!!!

For the past 2 years - I have-done 8 hours a week - every week - worth of volunteer work for the Housing Coop. I see it as a fair enough trade off for paying $50 per week for a big room and a studio in inner city sydney. I am willing to translate and engage with the stupid language - as I am freakishly (and contrary to 99.999% of public housing tenants) - fluent in it. right now - the coop has about 10 OK to good volunteers living here - which is better than at any time in the past 6 years I've lived here - and yet - this s no where near enough. The DOH model of cooperative management- requires that we wuld each spend 5-10 hours on ADMINISTRATION ALONE. So my economic rationalist brain - is starting to do the calculations.......... and I'd rather teach for a whole day (or model for 2 days) - and earn about $300 and pay rent in some commerical shitbox - than live with this shit. I guess that's their intention. Drive out the non white trash - who are able and interested to take a managment/advocacy/contesting role within coops - and leave the stupid, braindead, drugfucked cruisers - who'll just cling on - till they're cast out and forced to find another liferaft. You think I sound cynical? 6 years of living around "Newtown artists" kind of does that to a person. Actually the artists here aren't the problem - its more the friends of friends who've moved in for the cheap rent and access to the fun filled shopping delights of king street. groan. or the local cafes. groan again. takers. unspeakably boring.

anyway - this is a long winded way of saying that I am quite likely to lose my home next year. ho hum! welcome back to the real world I guess.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cultural Congoscetti

Cultural Congoscetti

Its a jungle out there.

I cut and paste this photo coz i thought it would match the entry I'm about to write. the mispell is correct. I'm playing on cognoscetti, the congo, glamorous intellectuals and culture. It should be suitable opening for todays topic -which is about when I went and heard Michael Taussig giving a talk.

Regular Readers BE WARNED. this blog entry is going to have huge amounts of gratuitous name dropping. I'm trying to gain some currency in the bloghood as one of those cool people that do fun stuff. See pikky above. It's about as real as my tan.

OK so thursday night I rocked up to UTS to hear Taussig talk. He wrote a couple of amazing books on what I'd call 'radical anthopology'. One of my favourite lecturers at art school got me onto taussig after I raved about Alphonso Lingis. My friend Golden Boy bought "the devil and commodity fetishism in South America" I bought "Shamanism, colonialism and the wild man". Form followed content. It blew my mind. I got stuck for years on the chapter about "there is something in between the sweaty arse of him that rides and the labouring back of him that is ridden". This was fleshy wild writing. there was also a deep moral imperative in the book. He started of with the history of Roger Casement and his report on the British atrocities in darkest peru. Crikey. quick segue to Conrad. Think of Apocalypse now. double it. No triple it. Every society has its monsters. Every culture has its nightmares. One of Taussigs themes in Shamanism - was exploring the use of extremely powerful hallucinogens in healing by the descendants of the nightmare. the role of indians as bearers of colonisers evil, and bearers of magic is really interesting. tausig wrote about Yage - a form of DMT which is also derived from indigenous Australian plants (acacias). I wouldn't dream of touching it ever - but its one of those esoteric topics that used to go down well at certain parties about 10 years ago. While writing honours - I became entranced with Mimesis and Alterity - and it became on of those handy tomes (like Walter Benjamin's passagewerken) that I'd have next to me whenever I wrote - so I could dip in and out. Taussigs writing helped me really undertstand not only critical ethnography - but mimesis and performing of mimetic practices as a strategy of resitance and counter resistance. through taussig I could fnally read Irigaray.

So the chance the hear the man live - and see him in the flesh was pretty exciting. It was up there with Judith Butler and Liz Grosz (Liz is talking for free at usyd next thursday!!!!) . So thursday, Arrived early. Tried to persuade my old lecturer to come - but he had familial committments.

I walked in with Jebni and Sandy (this is the gratuitous reference that denotes my status in the blogocracy).
I wanted to sit up close and do some drawing so I moved down the front. there were no left hand sided lecture seats.Damn.

Michael Taussig was clearly one of those spunky young 70's groovy intellectuals. And he still holds his body like a man sure of his sex appeal. Like Jaques Derrida, he wears his white hair as if it was a bleached warhol wig. He also wore tight denim jeans. They could have been acid washed - but I think they were the deliberate noughties reference. Tight brown leather skin and a deep fuscia raw silk body shirt. Eyes barely opened as he placed and removed small red plastic rimmed reading specs during the perfomrance. Not many men in their 60's can ooze sex with such aplomb during a speaking engagement. Except some actors. And Taussig's delivery was much more of a performance than anything else. Sheer brilliance. This is why we go to hear someone speak. to see the oracle - or to see the performance of deep textual charisma. I had difficulty drawing him. I kind of got some of the gestures, and loking at my drawings I can SMELL him. Smell the room, smell my excitement.

Oh. enough gushing - I'll try to discuss the ideas like eany decent girl should.

I think the talk was called "the colour of the Sacred". And he was playing ficto critical performance, and I feel bad for forgetting my voice recorder. He sounded like my friend Ryan, with umms and aaahs and sighs - and the mind darting in different places, and he presented a series of impressions and made lots of 'in jokes'. Oh fuck - 'in jokes' in lectures are scary. They remind me of improvised jazz sets - when someone finishes their solo - and its a game between the players and the audience to know when they have finished their impro or not. who can clap at the right time? Oh the scary smugness of getting it right. In public. Its a bit like any ejaculation. Embarrassing and a bit smelly.

But I'll forgive taussig. coz of the shirt and the uhm and ahs and the vagueness which convey a certain level of humility. And because he used PHOTOCOPIES ON ACETATE!!! You know - like overheads! no powerpoint! how vintage! Abel told me that she and her classmates use powerpoint for their first year undergraduate talks. Oh dear. Its time has come and gone so fast.

The content of his talk was hard to pin down - because he gave fledgling forays into bioethics and the possibilities of new bodies, new experiences in changing climates. Using the phrase 'an anthropology of atmosphere'. He threw in a few other Deleuzian plays for good measure and then went back to everyone's favourite grandads of modernism. Marcel Proust and Walter Benjamin, and their relationship to and invocations of colour and how it is experienced. He was talking my language.

The main focus of the talk was on Malinowski - and photographs of him among the Trobriand Islanders. Malinowski is known as 'the father of modern anthropology". I read some of his stuff and liked it - coz his observations on gift economies were used by Mauss and others as a form of reflexive ethnography - to explore the irrational and anachronistic at the heart of industrial societes. Malinowski is also famous for 'inventing' participant observation' - or a form of close living with the subjects (or objects?) of study .........

Taussig had a couple of images of Malinowski in his impeccable white and pith helmets - among these dark bodies, and he spoke at lenght of the (irrational) preoccupation of malinowski and 'the west' with creating a source of authority that was colourless and ascribing colour to primitives, children and women. He also picked some great photo with the caption "Ethnographer with a man wearing a wig" and used it to epxlore the irrationallity of ethnogrpahy and secondary texts associated with it. Taussigs descriptions of the "tantalising tumescent posture of malinowski" (in his whites and bald head) against the "fading dark skin of the man of sorcery" was delightful.

In exploring the facets of face painting, as opposed to painting of faces Taussig tore more at the tensions at the heart of the Eruopcentric project of representations. He also discussed Malinowskiss diaries and their separations form (and appparent mimicking of) his field records.

OVerall it was a nice meditation onto ethnography and critical ethnography as well as colour and the tyrrany of beige. Afterwards - I saw one of my old supervisors and was persuaded to have a beer and go to a pizza party at the home of 'one of my classmates' (if you can call fellow phD students classmates). Suddenly I found myself in one of those cool academic parties I'd dreamt of ever since reading "whos afraid of virginia woolf" . Ohh the joy of great minds numbing their brains with alchohol and blithering wildly! Taussig was there, but mercifully not at the centre of any coteries of adoring fans (the sure sign that this was a selective engagement). I tried not to gush and joined in the babble, but I felt like I reckon my friends son did when he was 5 and first saw that chad morgan performing the dog cry from "the sheik of scrubby creek". do I need any more words than this?

I'd asked a question at the end of the talk. usually in any talk I make a point of asking the most dumb question possible. this time I was beaten to the post by a clinical anthoropologist exploring physiotherapists experiences of auras in their patients, and an audience member who nearly got out the words "collective unconsioussness" before Taussig supplied a quick segue off somewhere. Even extremely cool anthropologists who've done lots of drugs and been around a lot of very weird people have their zones of evident discomfort.

smarty mayhem wanted to pop in something about Louis Kahn and the the St. Petersberg theosophists and their belief that all beings were made from light - stating that the precise moment of modernisms chomophobia taking hold was accompanied by an avant garde tradition of chromophilia - and in the 20th c - a weirdly scientised form of it too........

but I didn't - coz I hate posy questions that sound more like statements (Oh1 look how careful I am!). SO I bored him with it at the party and he smiled and said "yeah, I want some duck".

this was less cool than his response to my question in the lecture, which was about dayglo. Coz I was so blown away by his descriptions of the crazy coloured soldiers in Paris that I thought he must have noticed all the dayglo that has proliferated in (blue collar) workwear.

" I hadn't thought about that at all, really, ahhh nooo..... but err.."and then he went off into a nice discussion of anoline dyes and indigo and lots of stuff that I knew already (but he didn't know that) aobut the homogeneity of contemporary pigments - especially in clothes - and how it was the heterogeneity of pre industrial pigemnts that made a lot of older paintings far more interesting than curent ones. this I already knew - but it was nice to hear him say it.
He didn't really answer my question - he explained the social reaons for the Dayglo on workmen as being probably for safety reasons. bugger. I ahd hoped for somehting more trippy - along the line sof some sort of Maussian take - on the need to mark certain types of bodies.

Anyway - at the party - Pru the host was able to engage a little more. She is the workwear fashion queen (her thesis is on airline uniforms) - and she was happy to launch into an explanation of the different fabrics and dyes used and the cuts and designs...... My real query is about this not being fashion - and how it became demarcated as non fashion - and then how it then circulates in a curiously porous relationship to clothing retail - like Two dollar shops ad even lowes - so its a sort of sub fashion - that is operating as far more than as 'functionalist' dangerwear - but denotative of a whole heap of other socialised feelings aobut colour, conformity and power. This proved a opular party topic alll round so I reckon it was a winner as far as questions go. top marks for requisite Aussie quirkiness.

I've decided to start writing up some of my 'field notes' for the research on artist models and the life class. I've been reading lots of critical ethnogrpahy and apparently that is the done thing. this may also motivate me to starrt writing that paper I need to have done on er... 3 weeks. shit.

look at for more of my rants in a different area. My life is trifurcating and I can see a future when I spend MY WHOLE LIFE updating blogs. Its a GREAT way to avoid my relationship dramas. Right now I'm getting torched on my art reviews. this is compelling and demoralising at once.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Confessions of a Recovering Catholic

Lick a Virgin

What a Drag!

I just stuck up another pikkie from my latest round of dressups (jennicam here we come). Maybe I should start uisng these in my personals ads....

I did something very very very naughty on saturday night. PLEASE DON"T TELL THE NUNS! I just saw the video - and I kind of realise why none of the bledisloe cup watchers in the pub would meet my eye. I was dressed as the virgin mary (and I meand the full caboodle) - with mayonnaise smeared around my mouth.

It was all in aid of a film project with wife and neighbours. One of the neighbours was filmed waking up in a pool of blood and having a horrible vision - of me, the virgin mary, giving a blow job to some guy on the street - who was actually another neighbour cross dressing. We shot the whole thing in one take on King Street. And you can hear a car accident happening in the background......

This is what happens when I'm politically confused. I dragged Anna to the relationship equality rally on saturday arvo. I was dressed in gingham, meringue and corset. (I really shuld have worn more makeup) Anna Looked like "Animal" from the muppets. We are married
(if you can call our freaky cult wedding a marriage) and we have definitely undertaken a considerable amount of legal paperwork in both our contries of origin to gain legal recognition of our relationship, but we didnt' want to be aligned with the straight queers.

And looking at the CSAHHH or CAAHH, or whatever stupidly long acronym they have (I just followed the link from someones email) website - I kind of cringed.........
check out:

Objectives: The objectives of the Sydney event are to contribute to the national day of action for marriage equality by conducting an event which will assertively and confidently affirm the value of comitted, loving LGBTIQ relationships and communicate that value to the wider community in order to advance the campaign for relationship equality.
What is it? :

  • A celebration (of what???? institutionalised homophobia? that's why I'm on the streets - if I wanted to celebrate I'd stay in bed)
  • Fun (we did our best but most of the marchers were about as interesting as the festival of light at a mardis gras parade)
  • Inclusive - open to all who support our objectives (dodgy working there)
  • Looking forward, but not ignorant of the history of August 13 (people in management positions actually should be have their fingers wired up outside of the office)
  • Apolitical, but not ignorant or unappreciative of those who support our objectives politically
  • (HELLO!!!!!!! wot tha fuck?????? what exactly does it mean when the two major POLITICAL parties LEGISLATE against couples gaining STATE recognition for their relationships?
What it is not :

  • A protest rally (could have fooled me)
  • A partisan political event (unlike the ALP closet event one in the morning)
  • An event purely for the gay community, or seen to be only for that community (Great so Lesbians were allowed to attend - thanks guys)
  • An event to promote causes other than relationship equality (What's that old saying from the Nazi holocaust - "first they came for the pinkos but I wasn't a pinko, then they came for the queers, but I wasn't queer, then they came for the jews, but I wasn't jewish but then they came for me and there was no one left to defend me")
I am SO glad I didn't look at this dross unitl after the rally - because If I had read it I would have stayed at home like so many other fair minded queers (and friends).

And I would have missed out on Kerryn Phelp's great speech, and Kerry Nettle's, and Clover Moores, and that other scary girl who said that her friend just killed himself that week coz of homophobia (and I was wondering if she was exaggerating just a bit - and maybe she could have encouraged him to think less of the struggle and more of psychiatric intervention?????)

ahem I digress. those speeches were good.

Abel Seaman and the other guy with the bow tie didn't wow me. (I had my head bowed - I mean I'm not sure If I'm into giving anyone the right or obligation to kill others - and the question of human rights is very very abstract in such cases.............. I'd rather hear from a prison inmate) I liked Tanya Pliberseks speech - but why is she in a the same party as a bunch of right wing catholic arseholes? (and that is what half of the ALP consists of). If changing things from the inside works - then why don't queers all go to the nunnery???? Why don't we talk more about old queers, poor queers, refugee queers, prison queers - rather than the weirdly aspirational mirroring Kel&Kath queers of AME. How fucked would you be if you were an Afghan lesbian on Nauru???? Well not very. why don't these rally talk more about Fucking????

But it was good to see the queeruptors. and REALLY good - to walk down Okker street on a satterday arvo yelling "we're Here, we're queer, we're not going shopping!!!" But - I felt very very awkward for promoting the rally to queercores Glen and Liz - when it was so obviously a pink picket fence affair. As Liz said "I CAN marry my partner but I'm against it, so why am I here?" (or words to that effect - sorry if I've misquoted you). L&G are very actively involved in constructing communities that are about resisting and challenging the nuclear family model of emotional control and ownership - and so asking for their solidarity on the right for some queers to have access to some benefits of state recognition is a big ask..........

I'm still confused by the changes in australian society. I realise that 2 'straight' relationships I had in the past (first boyfriend was a vietnamese boat person - sponsored into a country town) and last major affair was with a permanent refugee for 5 years ( not the 3 of a TPV). I was able to gain some benefits of state recognition of my homosexual relationship - but only on condition that it conform or heavily dissemble a conformity to an extremely rigid and financially controlled version of emotional custodianship.

Its one that we are still suffering from today. tonight actually, right now as I write its 1am. I've been awake since 7am, and I'm tired, but If I don't write I'll cry, and eat more biscuits. Actually my stomach is hollow. I exhausted myself riding my bicycle yesterday - after spending most of the night before sobbing and reading until 4am. You'd htink my life would be challening enough wihtout this extra shit. things ain't good on the saphhic side right now.

There's a very nasty epidemic in the dyke community that begins with A and ends with M. There are a few others related to eating disorders (why are lesbians either rake thin or fucking fat?) but the piss thing is a worry. I was attracted to Abel initially because she was the first woman I'd seen in a dyke bar who had a healthy looking (muscular, yet curvaceous) body. Ohhoo hum, pity about my own chemical anaesthetisa at the time so I missed the other glaring problem. and then I found she had pretty much intrjected her mothers own anorexic standards of parisian sveltine. Shit.

After we received the first Temporary permanent residency - one of our closest friends said "I hope this means you guys can start to have a normal relationship". you know - independant, not dependant, co-dependant - or without the ridiculous power imbalance that the initial sponsorhip process thrust apon us. But old habits die hard - and bad habits that prop up old habits die much harder. Abel's passivity was reinforced by alcohol. Mayhem cultivates a mask of immovable passivity to hide her growing panic. I sit in my room at night gnawing, and my eyes flood with tears. If I sleep my stomach jolts me awake with searing pain. time to see that stomach surgeon again. Maybe. I know what this feels like. 11 years ago, when I looked 10 years older than I was. The same bodily symptoms. No libido (so she blames me and drinks more). Hair turning grey (It turned black again after the last time). Knife weilding stomach churns. the So I drift off more remote and more controlling and things just get more fucked. Drunk she is from hell. Angry at me, and I can't respond. this feels old, so fucking old. Something deeply atavistic from centuries of Irish peasantry takes over within me. I cower and hunch my back against her insults "Ta Geule! tu me Fais Chiant! Tu m'emmerde! Ta Geule!" I press my lips into a thin saintly silence, and feel my pink bits turn white with rage. Old fucking fierce rage. Hot tears burn my eyes, and I swallow and cower and my stomach hollows out to hold more of it in. No wonder I have gall stones. No wonder the Irish diaspora have been such fierce and feral colonisers. Centuries of drunks and martyrish frigid females let loose in english colonies. I blame the ancestors - because I did not grow up in an alcoholic household and wonder where the hell I learnt to act like this? to put up wth this shit? to cower and cringe and take all this in? Meanwhile she uses the studio as an excuse, and produces muddy excesses of her own sodden kingdom of the self. you think I'm being savage? Its myself I hate. Because every relationship I've had has been like this. Except for the nymph and I hated her for it. I am my own worst enemy. Is it because of my childhood? Yes. Mine was fucked, but how long can I keep blaming my parents? I've had 15 years of my own life, and I'd like to think that 4 years of therapy sorted some of the old shit out.

so its time to take stock and declare myself a fuckup and a failure and that its time to seek change. big change. Probably not thought field therapy or liposuction - or even permanent hair removal (eeeuuuuw! - imagine a life with NO BUMFLUFF?)

I'm going to become one of those Lesbians that advertise for a NS, ND, NA, BSOH in personals ads. This will take some time. and in the meantime?

I have given up a lot of hope. I don't think I or our relationship in its current state can challenge Abel to become less of an alcoholic. It's not only her stubborn french mind. She let herself go from one safe situation of permanent adolescence to another. she says I project my maternal desires onto her as a child/object - but she doesn't see how infantile and adolescent she is towards me (and most people around) - which isn't helped by being a migrant. I don't think our relationship could ever really work in australia. she'd have to go home and grow out of adolescence there. And all the good influence she has had on me, no giving me physical and emotional security is being eroded with every fucking drink she has (that I notice at least). So I don't know. we have a great house, and ostensibly a pretty good lifestyle here in Australia - and we do fun stuff like crazy films and art exhibitions, but at what fucking cost?

What I've written here is airing my dirty laundry and I'm sorry for the blush that crosses any readers who know and love us well - but I'm sick of being silent and stoic for the sake of people sidealised version of what our relatinship looks like from the outside. I am bigger, louder, more confident, more domineering from the outside - but inside she's the one holding the cards. she is the one who can and probably will leave - whenever she gets sick of art school, sick of australia or sick of me not being what she wants. I won't leave her - because I am loyal and loving and probably incredibly lazy ...... (says she with her 3 careers). I woulnd't wnat to inflict this relatniohsip onto children and I don't want to continue to inflict it on myself.

Its such a pity - becasue the work f our relationship the life work - has been incredible. Yesterday I interviewed a 90 years old aquaintance - who knows anna and I as models. He's a WW2 veteran, a bit sexist, conservative in s many ways - and yet he quite clearly made statements giving tacit understanding and support of our relationship. the muslims at our local Epicerie have also done the same. Despite john howard and co. there are many many spaces outside the gay ghetto where we are acknolwedged and welcomed as queers in the community. And its very very hard to do this sort of work outside of a seemingly stable, visible (and reasuringly hermetic) relatioship. single queers are a threat - because of the weird public/private roles of sexuality and seduction - and the threat of our desire to others within heteronormativity........... Most people are like my mum and school firends when I was 19. "How do you know if you're bisexual if you havne't slept with a woman?" "You just want to be trendy". The single lesbian is not a secual being. We are eunuchs - sad single spinsters waiting for something to happen to us.......... Oh god, Its enough to drive one to drink.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Can't Face the office

Can't Face The Office

I had this idea to do this as a massive billboard - just to show how much bureacrats suck

but then i realised how much of my Phd is presently unwritten


My brain at the moment is made from prridge.

I've had a completely useless day.
so useless I even painted my nails.
fuck o fuck

I'm stuck in pink trakkies and pink uggies with mint frost nail polish.

Still using pencil on the brows - post schapelle shaving.

I don't think I know who I am anymore..........

I've been interviewing models and teachers for the tome that will be.
PArt of me thinks it must be exciting. I keep telling people "God! this is so exciting!" and they say "Wow! that's so exciting - are you going to publish a book on this?"

"Yes" I say. "thats why I've enrolled at uni - so I can be paid to write the book I want to write".

Oh fuck. What book?

I've set myself a target of 2 papers by the end of the year. I have to have one as a work in progress in 4 weeks.

what was it on?

as an undergrad - a 5000 word essay felt like a piece of piss. No. thats a lie. It never did.
Well it hasn't changed.

And I don't want to read anything, or think hard about stuff.
or put words together.
And interviewing people is really hard.

Most people watch television and trat interview situations like some sort of talk show. So it ends up as a cat and mouse and I'm meant to be Jana Wendt.
I'm like andrew denton at best (bespectacled with a flat head)

Certainly not cut out for interview stuff - If people don't want to talk about things, why should I make them do it?

and am I somehow being 'wrong' if I dont' ask the same poeple the same questions?

and whats the point?

why don't i just write my memoirs? (coz its so boring I haven't even written it yet).

I'm thinking maybe focus groups could work.

I hate using the phone, but not many models use the internet.

anyway I thought I'd write some paper on the "paradoxical' role of textiles in the practice sof nude modelling. so far I haven't found anything even slightly interesting on this score at all.

some models use a robe - and are quite attached to their robes while others couldn't give a shit. Models are also pretty blase about the hair thing........... some shave, some don't, mostl people trat it as a non issue.

I need to read "journal of mundane behaviours" for inspiration. The every day is important. small things can reveal big issues.....

I try to think of Bourdieu - but he has become way too suspicially trendy of late. If read 3 aspirational academic blogs whihch quote the big Pierre.
Jesus christ.

Big Pierre - knew of the link between academia and activism - because he was an activist AND an academic. Like he hung around lecture theatres AND rallies - and so waas entitled to discuss both.

ONe thing that makes me turn silent as I swallow my spew is listening to my esteemed colleagues ernestly discuss their own critical conscioussness as acticist academics.
I ain't NEVER seen any of them at any sort of political protest (rally, meeting, online petition, offline petition or anything that don't look good on a CV), and I dont think any of them are members of the NTEU - and I'm not sure if any of them have even spent extended tim on the dole!
Critiques of 'the left' from the safety of the sandstone tower are pretty abstract - and pretty irrelevant to actual activists........ or the right wing fuckers that fuck things up.

I'm blithering. I'll stop talking about others.

Academia is not activism. Its a nice little career path for clever wordsmiths.
Its beats the fuck out of life modelling - at least for social prestige.
It certainly beats the fuck out of the Public Service (for sustainable delusions of intellectual autonomy - tho some people don't even have that as wots the point?)

I think there is a way that a person can be a socially conscious academic, and even an activist academic. but it does not involve writing eloquent essays on social ills and how to think of them in more rhizomatic terms.

It involves forming networks with other marginalised interlopers (like women and the great WC)

It means - getting involved in campaigns for preserving the autonomy and working conditions of white collar workers insteadof sucking corporate cock.

It also involves teaching in a manner that is inclusive, transparent and equips people with the intellectual tools to CHALLENGE academia.
This may involve teaching outside of the academy - and or doing unpaid work for community or activist groups.

It aslo involves doing research - that is just not about translating (and exploiting) the experiences and knowledges of reasearch subjects - in whihc to build our own expertise in an innovative research area, but err.........

.....yeah - well this is the bit I'm having trouble with.

I try not to forget where I come from, and how I was treated as a subservient, mute, casual employee, and to realise that what seperates from from my former fragile economic existance is a very thin veil of fate. (It's called an APA award).

I earned my stripes as a model by working HARD (30 hour weeks) for 3 years, and by being involved in a models union - where we all tried to negotiate better conditions. So I am i a privileged position to write as a model and to present a dialogue with (rahter than an interrogation of) other models.

I think the informal knoweldges and experiences of models are fascinating and interesting - and should be included in academic discourses about observation, voyeurism, objectification, obscenity - because they are related to actual experiences.........

I know from experience that many artists models do interrogate their own practice and experiences - I remember the conversations had on the phone, on the dias- in coffee breaks at institutions - and they (arguably) surpassed a lot of the blather about objectification and "the gaze" that I read in art journals and tomes on feminist theory.

But its hard - in a critical milieu -where what I'm tyring to write about - opens up as a big fat lacuna. The life class in the twentieth century barely exists. The lives of models exist - but not descriptions of what they do or did in the studio/classroom/podium.

Someone - was also describing life drawings - as essentially pointless. They aren't interesting to look at, work from or to frame and sell. (and where people do that -they invariable look kitsch). Most artists and almost all students throw out most if not all their life drawings.
So why bother?

For me - the pointlessness is an attraction. the ephemera of every day culturla activities - dancing, singing, (karaoke), coversation, drawing - or any activities that don't generate some sort of commodifiable product - are sites of resistance ....... so why then do I want to pick apart such a site - and leave it open for the vultures of information management????