Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Media Statement from Mutitjulu

Leaders of the Mutitjulu community today questioned the need for a military
occupation of their small community.

We welcome any real support for indigenous health and welfare and even two
police will assist, but the Howard Government declared an emergency at our
community over two years ago - when they appointed an administrator to our
health clinic - and since then we have been without a doctor, we have less
health workers, our council has been sacked all our youth and health
programmes have been cut.

We have no CEO and limited social and health services. The government has
known about our overcrowding problem for at least 10 years and they¹ve done
nothing about it.

How do they propose keeping alcohol out of our community when we are 20
minutes away from 5 star hotel? Will they ban blacks from Yulara? We have
been begging for an alcohol counsellor and a rehabilitation worker so that
we can help alcoholics and substance abusers but those pleas have been
ignored. What will happen to alcoholics when this ban is introduced? How
will the government keep the grog runners out of our community without a
permit system?

We have tried to put forward projects to make our community economically
sustainable - like a simple coffee cart at the sunrise locations - but the
government refuses to even consider them.

There is money set aside from the Jimmy Little foundation for a kidney
dialysis machine at Mutitjulu, but National Parks won¹t let us have it. That
would create jobs and improve indigenous health but they just keep
stonewalling us. If there is an emergency, why won¹t Mal Brough fast track
our kidney dialysis machine?

Some commentators have made much of the cluster of sexually transmitted
diseases identified at our health clinic. People need to understand that
Mutitjulu Health Clinic (now effectively closed) is a regional clinic and
patients come from as far away as WA and SA; so to identify a cluster here
is meaningless without seeing the confidential patient data.

The fact that we hold this community together with no money, no help, no
doctor and no government support is a miracle. Any community, black or white
would struggle if they were denied the most basic resources. Police and the
Military are fine for logistics and coordination but healthcare, youth
services, education and basic housing are more essential. Any programme must
involve the people on the ground or it won¹t work. For example who will
interpret for the military?

Our women and children are scared about being forcibly examined; surely
there is a need to build trust. Even the doctors say they are reluctant to
examine a young child without a parent¹s permission. Of course any child
that is vulnerable or at risk should be immediately protected but a
wholesale intrusion into our women and children¹s privacy is a violation of
our human and sacred rights.

Where is the money for all the essential services? We need long term
financial and political commitment to provide the infrastructure and
planning for our community. There is an urgent need for 10¹s of millions of
dollars to do what needs to be done. Will Mr Brough give us a commitment
beyond the police and military?

The commonwealth needs to work with us to put health and social services,
housing and education in place rather than treating Mutitjulu as a political

But we need to set the record straight:
ü There is no evidence of any fraud or mismanagement at Mutitjulu ­ we
have had an administration for 12 months that found nothing

ü Mal Brough and his predecessor have been in control of our community
for at least 12 months and we have gone backwards in services

ü We have successfully eradicated petrol sniffing from our community in
conjunction with government authorities and oil companies

ü We have thrown suspected paedophiles out of our community using the
permit system which our government now seeks take away from us.

ü We will work constructively with any government, State, Territory or
Federal that wants to help aboriginal people.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Black, White and shades of Grey

The Australian Prime minister is making another
attempt to remove Aboriginal People from their lands.
These are very dangerous and frightening times, and
it's almost unbearable to read the local press
coverage of this issue.

Below is the text of an article by Jennifer
Martiniello which will be forwarded to major
newspapers in Australia. Please pass on to your

Jennifer Martiniello is a writer and academic of
Arrernte, Chinese and Anglo descent. She is a former
Deputy Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait
islander Arts Board of the Australia Council for the
Arts, and a current member of the Advisory Board of
the Australian Centre for Indigenous History at the

Howard's New Tampa - Aboriginal Children Overboard

Howard's new Tampa children overboard are our
Aboriginal children.

The Little Children are Sacred report does not
advocate physically and psychologically invasive
examinations of Aboriginal children, which could only
be carried out anally and vaginally. It does not
recommend scrapping the permit system to enter
Aboriginal lands, nor does it recommend taking over
Aboriginal 'towns' by enforced leases.

These latter two points in the Howard scheme hide the
true reason for the Federal Government's use of the
latest report for blatant political opportunism.

It has been an openly stated agenda that Howard wants
to move Aboriginal people off their lands, and has
made recent attempts to buy off Aboriginal people by
offering them millions for agreeing to lease their
lands to the Federal Government, e.g. Tiwi Islands and
Tangentyere in Alice Springs. There was also the
statement by the Federal Government that it could not
continue (?!) to provide essential services to remote
communities, which raised an uproar of responses in
the press. The focus on the sexual abuse of children
is guaranteed to evoke the most emotive responses, and
therefore command attention, just like the
manipulation of the Tampa situation. But while the
attention of the media and the public is being
emotionally coerced, what is being sneaked in under the covers?

Two issues specifically - mining companies have
applied for more exploration permits in the Northern
Territory, the Jabiluka uranium mining operations at
Kakadu have already hit the media because of the
mining company's applications to the Government to
expand its operations, including establishing new
mines at Coronation Hill, and another critical issue -
nuclear waste. The Howard Government has already
mooted that nuclear waste should be dumped in the
Northern Territory, on Aboriginal lands. Aboriginal
traditional owners are absolutely opposed to this. We
have a long history of deaths and illness from
radiation, from the atomic tests at Woomera in the
1950s to the current high incidences of carcinomas in
the community at Kakadu near the Jabiluka site. The
main obstacle to the Federal Government's desired
expansion of mining operations in the Northern
Territory and nuclear waste dumping is, of course, the
Aboriginal people who have occupancy of, and rights
under the common law to, their traditional lands.

Following the stages of the Howard Government's usual
modus operandi (defund, blame, eliminate), defunding
of Aboriginal community projects began in July 2004,
with coerced changes to funding contracts, and monies
for critically needed youth and health programs in
remote areas being the first dollars to go.

Take Mutitjulu for example, which was notoriously
profiled by the ABC's Nightline program. I say
notorious because one of Senator Mal Brough's personal
staffers was the so-called ex-youth worker interviewed
on that program, and the content of that interview was
laden with myths and mistruths. The staffer in
question failed to appear when summoned before a
Senate inquiry to explain and the Senator's office is
yet to issue a statement. When the community lodged a
formal protest to Government, it was raided and their
computers seized. But the program did show the effects
of the Howard Government defunding of essential
programs on particular the youth centre and health
centre. The Mutitjulu also just happen to be the
traditional owners of this country's most lucrative
tourist attractions. The Howard Government would not
like us to ask who benefits by the people of Mutitjulu
being forced off their community. Under the amendments
to Native Title made by the Howard Government, once
Aboriginal people have left their traditional lands,
forcibly or otherwise, their rights under the common
law that every other Australian enjoys over their land
are significantly impaired.

Progressive defunding of Aboriginal art centres has
also begun, with a range of community art centres not
having their funding renewed by DCITA in July 2005 and
2006 in the Northern Territory, from communities in
Arnhemland to mid and southern Territory communities.
The art production facilitated by those Aboriginal art
centres are the only means through which members of
those communities can actually earn a living, as
opposed to being on welfare. But then, dependent
people are easier to control by means of that
dependency. The Howard Government's failed Shared
Responsibility (SRAs) have also been the catalyst for
further blame shifting and progressive defunding, take
Wadeye for example.

Our Aboriginal communities are being squeezed further
dysfunction and disenfranchisement by carefully
targeted political engineering, the systemic and
ruthless roll-out of a planned agenda. It is no
accident that Howard's scheme to address what he calls
the urgency of the Little Children are Sacred report's
97 recommendations was trotted out so very quickly,
and addresses so very few of those recommendations. It
is sheer political opportunism to advance an already
in motion agenda, and to score points in an election

After all, The Little Children are Sacred report is
not the first of such reports, nor are its findings
and recommendations new. The Federal Government has
had the 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997 and 2002 reports
gathering dust and deliberate inaction on its shelves.

Perhaps Mr Howard has been saving them up for a rainy
election year?

And of course Mr Howard's scheme targets only
Aboriginal communities, despite the fact that the
findings specifically state that non- Aboriginal men,
that is, white men, are a significant proportion of
the offenders, who are black-marketeering in petrol
and alcohol to gain access to Aboriginal children.
What measures is the Howard Government going to take
about non-Aboriginal sex offenders, pornographers,
substance traffickers and the like? Nothing according
to the measures announced, but then, they're not
Aboriginal and they don't live on the Aboriginal
communities where

So who are the real victims here, the silenced
victims of John Howard's scheme? Aboriginal children,
of course, who will be subject to physically and
psychologically invasive medical examinations,
irrespective of their home and family circumstances,
and who will deal with the mental and emotional
fall-out from that? Aboriginal men, too, who become
the silenced scapegoats, painted by default by John
Howard as all being drunken, child-raping monsters.
Perhaps the fact that almost every picture shown of
Aboriginal men in the media these days shows them
drunk, with a slab, cask or bottle under their arms
leads Mr Howard to expect that one to pass
unchallenged, irrespective of the fact that statistics
show that only 15% of Aboriginal people drink alcohol,
socially or otherwise, compared to around 87% of
non-Aboriginal Australians.

The greater majority of Aboriginal men are good,
decent people. Perhaps the media would like to rethink
its portrayals of Aboriginal men? How about some
photos of the other alcoholics, you know, the white
ones. There's more of them.

And what of our communities? The Howard Government
also hasn't mentioned that the majority of Aboriginal
communities in the Northern Territory are already dry
communities, decided and enforced by those
communities. But then that would spoil the picture Mr
Howard wants to paint of our Aboriginal communities.
Other large communities, such as Daly River, have
controlled the situation by only having alcohol
available from the community's club and enforce a
strict four can limit.

Also forgotten in the current politically
opportunistic furore is the fact that Aboriginal
communities around Tennant Creek and Katherine have
been lobbying Governments and town councils for
decades to restrict the sale of alcohol on Thursdays,
when Aboriginal community people come to town for
supplies. So far their pleas have been rejected.
Nothing in Mr Howard's plan to facilitate that,
either. Or about the control of alcohol when those
people, once forced off the communities into the
towns, bring their problems with them, child abuse or
alcoholism and all the rest. Of course that would make
access to Aboriginal children a lot easier for white
offenders, they won't have to go so far to find a

One last word on focus of attention. In the famous
Redfern Address, the then Prime Minister, Paul Keating
asked perhaps the most important question for all
Australians to consider. He said 'We failed to ask the
most basic of questions. We failed to ask - What if
this were done to us?' What if this were done to us -
Average Australian, to our schools, youth centres,
health centres, access to medical care, communities,
homes, children, grandchildren?

After all, current national health reports from a
wide range of health organisations name sexual abuse
of non-Indigenous Australian children as a crisis area
in need of urgent attention. And the numbers of
victims are higher. National reports into mainstream
domestic violence, alcohol and substance abuse also
call for urgent action, again the issues are at crisis
level, and the numbers of victims and abusers are far
higher than in the Little Children are Sacred report.
None of the recommendations in all of those hundreds
of national health reports recommend compulsory sexual
health tests for every Australian child under sixteen.
Not one of them recommends that a viable solution is
closing down youth and health programs, in fact they
all advocate that more are needed. None recommend that
the victims' or the offenders' communities and homes
should be surrendered to the Federal Government and
put under compulsory lease agreements, and none
advocate processes which would lead to either the
victims or the abusers losing their rights under
common law to their property as measure to control or
remedy the occurrence of abuse. Would the Howard
Government even dare to contemplate such as that? I
think not. It would be un-Australian, and the
Government it would expect immediate legal
repercussions on the grounds of impairment of human
rights, extinguishment of rights under common law,
discrimination, and a raft of other constitutional

Besides, Mr and Mrs Average Australian don't, for the
most part, live on top of uranium and mineral deposits
or future nuclear waste dumps.

But seriously, the most critical question for all
Australians to ask themselves in the lead up to this
year's Federal Election is just that - What if it were
done to us? With full acknowledgment of what has
already been done to workers, trade unions, student
unions, public primary, secondary and tertiary
education, elderly care, palliative care, medicare,
crisis health care, nurses, teachers, multicultural
affairs, migrant groups, women, child care, small
businesses and artsworkers, among the many, through
the exercise of policies of social engineering and
fear, your answer at the polling booth may just
determine whether it will be done to you, or continue
to be done to you. As reported in the Sydney Morning
Herald 25th June, the Howard Government last week used
the military to seize control of 60 Aboriginal
communities in the Northern Territory, which are now
under military occupation. This is not Israel and

The Northern Territory is not Gaza or the West Bank.
This is Australia - but is it the Australia you
thought you lived in? Walk in our shoes, Aboriginal
Australia's, and ask yourselves, what would it be like
to have this done to us? And then, walk with us.

Jennifer Martiniello

Monday, June 25, 2007

Blue and Green

Blue and Green
should never be seen
except with something in between

Her body, her thorax, gashed through with ultramarine blue, luminescent as her flesh ebbed into the green oxide. Strange slight demarcation between body and space, bodies echoing in space around, odd flesh traceries, screaming into colour, light vibration, possibility, no, impossible strangeness.... Maybe only a painter can know what the pigments mean: ultramarine blue – is sapphire, transparent, light moves through it. Diluted it is air, space, perpetual light, but pure. It has to be, because the slightest touch of any other colour – except carmine perhaps – muddies it. Against yellow ochre it recedes back into darkness, deep velvety shadows that you can’t help but want to enter, to plunge your hand into, to stroke with your eye. Green oxide is getting harder to find – so is increasingly a synthetic substitute. It’s a funny colour. Based on copper oxide, its a cheap heavy mineral pigment, and sits opaque against the luminous blue but it’s not as mucky as ‘sap green’ or heavy as viridian which bores like a hole through the canvas – or diluted – sits on top, squatting like a large frog. And neither pigments are like the phthalocyanide blues or greens – heavy unwieldy big pigments – which stomp all over everything around. On her figure it reminded me of a skin, partly flayed – but not in a painful way – more as something opening up to the world around – and the blue furrows – mimicking cicatrices met my eyes like those of a lover.

Dunno why it is that My Favourite Consort Cure has this effect on me, but her company seems to evoke my own intense embodied connection with paint, with space, with flesh. After a weekend wandering with two dear friends through crazy bushland, grey rocks, that mad dark blue of midwinter sunshine, watching their eyes change from blue, to grey to green, watching them dilate with pleasure, ring with fatigue, well with tears, crinkle with laughter as we frolicked and flirted and fucked and muttered every type of madness under the sun and dredged strange things from the darkness, I was and am impossibly, delighted, ecstatic, comforted; with them, with me, with my life, with the world, with colour and sense and smell.

I was still flying high doing my last interview for THE TOME, with an eminent aussie painter™and inspired, ecstatic, delighted, stimulated by all measure. He said he'd been painting the same thing for 60 years. Trying to paint – not so much bodies but how they, and we emerge from and merge into space and light – how land and space permeate us, enter into us. How in painting we eat our world and disssolve into it. He said he’d done the work in London which he found mind blowing but impossible to paint. He had to imagine he was somewhere else than where he was at that time. London. Mind blowing. I smiled and thought of My Favourite Consort Cure and the sheer weirdness of strolling around my barrio having the same conversations we'd had strolling in blighty a few months ago. I thought of Rothgo and looked up at the red in front of me. then I wondered where the hell I was.

I didn't mention Louis Kahn. I giggled some stupid smirk about Goethe, then hated myself for banal posturing. His new works, again breathing this strange embodiment into paint, light, space and old traceries over bodies, his body, her body, an eye, a mind, a hand, a desire moving onwards through time outwards into space. I guess he must be in his ‘80’s, deep golds and luminous reds sang colour and life and energy of a young man I was going to say but I don’t want to close this down into something that looks like it could only be done by a certain type of person, a certain gender, a certain gender, a certain poise, especially when there are so many young male painters whose work has no life or joy or energy, just a stylised beige coldness…..

I cursed the narrowness of my topic, the lateness of my research, the fact that I'm meant to be in the phase of pulling all the threads together of the tome that will be, not opening up and expanding. Rounding off, packing up. Assembling THE ANSWERS into a nice linear format….. Of course I want to write about a thousand other things, than my topic. Of course I want to discuss his painting, his life history, take a quote, or an anecdote for a walk, a long, long meandering stroll into something else entirely – not assiduously tap out the interview and extract the required and received information, and turn into a nice astute observation on something really quite marginal.

Last week, nestled in the temporary bush retreat of The Estimable Colleague, (and one of the dear friends above), staring into the depths of my stupidity trying to finish a chapter – and extracting sentences one by one – I decided to grab one of her books and sit in the brief afternoon sun. Imaging her Erotics is a familiar book – a collection of writings and images by and about the performance works of Carolee Schneemann – but seeing it again brought tears to my eyes. I’m amazed that such people exist, have existed, and that I’ve met them. I’m amazed by The Estimable Colleague, the mad imaginative flights between conversation, smut, theory and imagination – her playful delight in her body, in performance, in play, in dressups. At once completely absurd and so deadly serious.

One of the astonishing things about NYC in meeting older straight (well, ostensibly hetero at least) women who have the same sense of their erotism that I thought only dykes had. For me sex isn’t just fucking, about taking and being taken. Not the stupid infantile girl need of approval and sating – but a miraculous response to the sheer impossibility of its existence – a decidedly queer contingency. Just as life is the space carved from an awareness from and a flight from death,– desire is a response to prohibition, to control, to restriction – to impossibility. It’s not just a reactive transgression against the law of the father, but a very tangible way of moving between states, conditions, memories and sensations that get compartmentalised, separated, regulated and controlled. Against the striated space of bourgeoise sexuality, queerness promises a mad line of giggling flight into absolute crazy connections – firing off each other; hand, smile, head, twig, ear, navel, banana, finger, giggle, toe, whisky, cunt, noodles, knees, hair, fist, earth, butter, nose, nipple, water, fist, vegemite, beer, armpit, cheese. Time to feed the dogs/cats/fish/birds/libido. Coffee anyone?

Schneemann’s performances have the same mad energy that embraces desire, life, connection, flesh and possibility with a distinct lack of ego, and her words make me cry. And I hate myself for having SUCH A TINY TOPIC – and that I have to slowly and painfully weave so many mad broken threads together. It’s like weaving a hair shirt at times – strand by bloody strand, and hair is such a fiddly, prickly recalcitrant thing to work with.

The tome has been and is a space for incredible, unbelievable discovery, for connection, for remaking and reviewing the world – for ASKING QUESTIONS rather than finding answers, but as a fire and brimstone anti-determinist – this phase of writing up, of proving AN ANSWER, a solution, a new party line…. Well it sucks just a bit.

My life is so amazingly happy at the moment – I’ve got so many miraculous delights occurring. TEDG showing me an astonishing essay by a student – writing ficto-crit porn deconstructions involving Deleuze. At the moment I have a delightful home, that is a real home, and a harmonious compound and a barrio where i've lived half my life and woven innumerable stories, connections and sensations between my body, other people, and the funny little sunburnt streets around. I know lots of mad brilliant women and funny sweet men, wild breathing art and great great books.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Everywhere but Here

The "new towns" of the technological pseudo-peasantry clearly inscribe on the landscape their rupture with the historical time on which they are built; their motto could be: "On this spot nothing will ever happen, and nothing ever has." It is obviously because history, which must be liberated in the cities, has not yet been liberated, that the forces of historical absence begin to compose their own exclusive landscape.

From Guy Debord: the society of the spectacle, (ch7, p177)

Now I know it must seem hopeleesly posey to be citing Debord and whingeing about suburban ennui from my little dystopic patch of trendoid bliss in Newtown. And it's probably just because there's been a patch of rain lately and I'm feeling a little bit glum, huddled in front of my bar radiator, drying out various drenched bits....

It's been just over a fortnight since I landed back home. the weather was mostly sunny, warmer than europe, but not too hot, and fun happy pleasant easy etc. I'ts still fun happy pleasant easy etc. but it's also pissing down and the sky and streets are dark by 5pm. Yesterday I staggered out to paddy's - desperate for some veggies that weren't double the price of the bloody UK (fer feks sake!) and not encased in styrofoam gladwrap from a supermarket......

And laughed at the mild humid temperatures and sydney people rugged up in puffy parkas, and grimaced at the crazy SUV drivers mistaking their metal sheaths for sugar based skin compound and zipping madly along George street, and grimaced as my favrouite pearl pink brolly blew inside out and flew out of my hand whisking my scarf away with it.......

Inside the shell of paddy's I smiled at the market sellers flirting and haggling in bahasa and english in the one mouthful - and the others screaming out in thickly accented strine and others easily shifting between english and mandarin or vietnamese - and it felt so foreign, so familiar and nothing like the tampere kauppahali, and yet so strangely like it too.

Sydney - such a funny strange asian city/english colony built and rebuilding itself on black land and white lies - o so many damn lies, divine lies, endless erasure, disclosures, ruptures..... Terra nullius being the first founding words for generations of exiled honkies to write down made stories that excluded somehow the non honky identifying exiles equally living out strange dissonances....

my own dissonances meeting my ex-expat aussie friends at the local pub last night. drinking shite aussie guinness (stout for the fosters generation to swill on St. pats day in their sweaty green singlets - a disgrace but all they had on offer) and cursing at it being the double the price of a decent thick black alcholic creamy pint back in blighty, and cursing the plasma screen blaring sport, the aubergine beige renovations of the bistro, the orange peroxide renovations of the female patrons and feeling strangely at home amid the cursing of what could have been what was, what is, somewhere else but here.

In the loos - texting my friends in a non sodden melbourne - dancing and laughing at a bestiality themed dance party (where was sex pig?) and a now steamy summered finland, and a sunny new york - I have no idea what time it was there, here or anywhere else... it was text time, it's always text time, time for text to take me away from here, from now - into another space where I'm with someone else doing something different, doing something.

I wonder about my text addiction - this constant need to be removed from the present. I'm standing on the threshold of writing up a chapter.... shivering at the waters edge - sticking a toe in and desperately looking around for a reason to stay out of the water...... the chapter- appropriately enough - is an earnest attempt at a geneology of Sydney, of Sydney art education - a nice spatio temporal discursive tracking of where people have stood still and imagined they were somewhere else - and how they have done it, where and why.......

So, reading, confused about time. not wanting to tie things down with a neat tight well told narrative - i go back to favourite theory boys for solace. Debord of course, maybe even Walter B. try to remind myself why this matters. try to remind myself why i'm here, alone, grumpy, underfucked and overfed, scowling at the weather, scowling at myself. trying not to escape into fantasies of sex, smutty texts, porn, wanking, recipes, paintings, long counselling conversations with whoever.Dear blissful distractions - but yes - only distractions......

I actually like writing and like my research and find it interesting. but the 'pressure' of writing, of working, of focussing on the tome - is about the conscious exclusion of everything else in that moment of writing. Of only doing that project, of closing things off, of only allowing myself to occupy one mental space at one time. and anticipating it - that's the worst. the space is - not here, not on my bed, wiht the rain beating agains thte window - mad cackles of a gaggle of girls strolling past in the street, flatties singing, planes screeching. it's not about my stiff neck and sore bum and pickeable nose and filthy ears - it's a strange retelling of other spaces - me taking my mortal coil into transcribing, describing, assembling, reviewing, and despite my little heideggerian dillemmas - re-presenting a set of stories and impressions and histories that people have entrusted to me.

Last week - I drew one of my interview subjects - who did a series of incredible poses - which I felt, at first, compelled to somehow represent, acccurately or elegantly or faithfully. the faith being - to somehow communicated my gratitude, awareness of engagement with and delight in the sheer generosity of what she was doing in taking off her clothes and arranging and presenting her body - for a group of us - to look at. After an hour of gnashing my teeth at my ineptitidue and lack of practice - i relaxed. Realised the act of drawing has to involve a level of faith in my own capacity and fallibility - and that drawing, as a practice can only ever involve a trusting and honest engagmeent wiht myself, in that place, in that moment with all my limitations and desires.....

so i try to think about the tome like this. that the words, ideas, experiences, offered, performed, given by subjects, don't compell me to a defninitive representation of 'them' or of the historical narratives they may cite or trace or describe - but to something else.... which I don't know how to describe yet.

shit! that was almost a perfect analogy!

hence this post.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Pressing Immanence

got this from a dear friend the other day....

Come drench your cunt in liquids divine
at the shrine
of Betty, who is Camp,
In Melbourne.
We will wash away those dusty cobwebs in an orgy of
fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun fun.

The prospect of AKSHUN with lusty SOuthern Babes has
got to be motivation.

And what's a few more days of coldity?
Hell - there'll be sunshine and summery goodness in
patches at least - (4 seasons, any given day...)

How can you deny the ladies/humans of Smellbourne the
joy of your flesh?

Share! Comrade! Collectivise your flesh, comrade!
Submit your pleasures to the will of any randomn
collective of comrades, comrade!

Camp Betty - is the nashnool kweer gathering held on occasion of HRH Betty's birthday - ie this long weekend.

and promises to be a week of radical sex and politics

or is it radical politics and sex?

Decided sex pig would be the best option for hiding from psycho bunny while on prowl for lady flesh in spewtown. found pig masks and copper hats in the ONE SHOP! how cool is that?

OK - so here's a pic of me, fantasizing alone, avoiding study - or anything even slightly serious - under the pretext of looking for my yoga tights - ya know I just randomly uncovered my love-police outfit (not the sunnies - hence the pig mask)

And - decided that If I wear it up to the buzz bar I can entertain Kathellism, extort money from patrons in amuzing manner and have good excuse for not going and getting maggotted at sly later - coz those fetish boots are bloody hard to dance too (note to self: leather daddies dance that way for a reason; boots are too damn heavy)

So - yeap - will head home, stay home, work at home, write the tome and be a GOOD GIRL......

ditto for this weekend. weekend of anticipated girlswot goodness will hopefully be relieved by smutty phone calls from wonder-boi


oh, and a posse venture out to Gurlesque of course. Unsure whether to go as sexpig or pig princess or evil tango master.......

Latter needs a wig now my 'natural' hair colour has become cloaked in layers of chemicals......

Even tho disguises ain't particularly anonymous - they hopefully are scary enuff to scare off straighty pink-picketters like stalkergirl - and masks are a great way to hide obvious eyeball panic/fury if I clap eyes on her.....

Sunday, June 03, 2007


Cancer treatment is a stop/go journey.
Find something wrong, chop it out. Wait.
Find something else wrong.
Try and find someone who'll chop it out.
Chop it out.
Wait until, inevitably, something else goes wrong.
Can't chop it out this time.
Cry a lot. Get dead. Zzzzz.
My story has been played out in a million other abdomens and I've never heard about them.
Maybe it's like mine.

Maybe there's something mysteriously toxic about life modelling for blokes.

the quote above came from my friend Pred's blog - sometime in may 2004, which was the last month he lived... and the last 6 days of it were pretty fucking sparse.

tomorrow - well 4 hours strine time is his deathversary - or at least when Abel & I got the call from Stacy - whose bike had been stolen from outside the hospital where she'd kept a vigil.

how fucked is that?

mind you - if you're being shat on by an elephant you tend to notice it less if you tread in a dog turd.....

My mum says that people only swear if they feel powerless - and maybe this explains the profusion of swearwords in my current rants about the big D.

yep - I feel powerless about the big D.

anyway - I returned to Australia and discovered that another life model, CLive Stanbridge, is dying of pancreatic cancer.

Clive is incredibly physically agile and strong with a face that reminds me Samuel Beckett. I modelled with CLive a few years ago for a winter course taught by David Fairbairn. We did a series of short poses, getting longer and longer, and then ending up in some strange durational state of extended discomfort - enmeshed in a series of furniture style props - while students did large scale charcoal drawings all around.

the drawings were bad auerbach messy things - but OK you know - with a bt more life in them than poncey academy style scratchings. I imagine all these big messy drawings rolled up under people's beds or in their garage - not fitting nicely into a framed wall piece above the sofa and it makes me smile.

for me, thinking of clive - I have a distinct physical association. not just form drawing him, and remembering his poses - but remembering his smell, his touch, his physical presence. I barely know the guy at all -and yet do know part of him intimately.

Life modelling is a bloody amazing special occupation and I feel so glad that I was able to do it. I'm also glad I could get out of it. clive was a full time model for 20 something years - and has no super, no health fund, no pension. He's fucking sick, he's dying, he's shit poor - and has had to work himself into the grave - or into his bed.

Apparently the NAS has a collection box for him to help cover some expenses, and the compound sketch club also passed around the hat last week.David Fairbairn is apparently coordinating the fundraising activity, and also apparently drawing him at his bedside.

I don't know how i feel about that.

kind of icky.

so i've chucked on a bit from a paper I wrote 3 years ago a few months after Pred died..... coz it shows my ownpainful grapplings with the horrible strangeness of touching, imagining, remembering flesh that we see, we touch, we love, and that we lose.....

As an artists model I have a social circle of friends who are models and artists, some who are models only. I have modelled with some friends, and drawn others, and others have drawn me. So I am familiar with a type of mimetic exchange and comfortable with it. The last ‘doubles” gig I did was with a friend, with whom I’d collaborated on guerilla theatre performance projects and also drawn. We’d done a series of crazy poses, standing on our heads, pretending to throttle each other, whip each other, writhe on the ground and culminated with a six hour tableux vivant from Gericault's Raft Of The Medusa. He was crouched in a slump of despair while I slid off the dais in contorted death agonies using a type of shoulder stand where I rested on his shoulders. All fun stuff and a very intimate and precious experience, because models posing together have a type of complicity.

Because we are performing “silent” models are able to speak, quietly, and implcity in the double modelling are the quite comments, gestures and squeezes where we feel each others pain thresholds and physical limits. Talking is a great distcraction from pain and discomfort of extened poses. Anyway the next time my accomplice modelled, I persuaded him to be tied to a crucifiix and pretend he was jesus dying on the cross. A few weeks alter he was diagnosed with cancer. I found at that point impossible to imagine drawing him, because I knew that all I would be seeing would be his corpse.

Earlier this year he had to go into hospital and his partner (also and artist and model) kept a vigil by his bedside and took her watercolours. Abel and I decided that spending time with him was the best way we could show out support, and as we always acarried pencils wiht us, we ended up sitting around drawing each other pretty much because that's what artists do. when Pred saw this he was horrified at the thought that we would draw him in hospital bed, and expressed it as a violation. He wasn’t presenting himself to us, he wasn’t in control of how he was presented before us, and he wasn’t in control of his body, or able to understand or articulate what was happening, at all. My last memory of him is of a type of wild eyed terror and rage, a desperate rage to cling to life.

Actually my last memory of him was the last time I read his weblog from april, and the last brushmark I put on a painting of him that I finished after his death. What art objects do (like written texts) is they change temporal order. Time doesn’t proceed in a sequence but loops backwards and forwards, in th way that memory does. The way we carry objects with us, horde, discard, exchange, destroy, create and collage them is a similar way to how we actualise our experiences and memories. I think that this looping, this disrution of the continuum off birth, life, death is a way we have to try to mediate death, to cheat it, to alternate it, even generate a simulacra of it that can be exchanged.

Pain is that which destroys language and destroys meaning. Witnessing pain is horrible because we are witnessing someones own incapacity to articulate or contain their affective sensation, and we are taken into a space where meaning no longer operates according to the rule of simulacra (a representation of a representation of a representation. All of which function as units of exchange) but into a space of death, death being a finality that cannot be exchanged. As Foucault says dying is a pure event that can never verify anything. It cannot be exchanged, or reversed and cannot really be represented. Death is a great unnamed unbearable mysetery that is only really cognicised in the individual trauma of grief. As Lingis writes however, death is the immanent condition for living, and life is the activity which we carve out of death. Lingis also described the importance of being with those who are passing form life into death, of bearing witness to the most singular and isolating experience that exists. This is where I start to wonder about what spectatorhsip is, what is bearing witness, and what is appropriating or violating someones experiences by representing it, or what is giving it expression. If pain (and death) is characterized by its own unspeakability, it's un-representatilbity then for someone to depict or represent someone elses pain is to a certain extent to speak for them, which is problematic.

three years later - i still hold onto the mantra that the immanence of death is what propells my own movement forwards, into life, confusion, movement, exchange.

for me, grief is in every breath - but it's about breathing, letting tears flow and gasping out sobs. I'm so glad now to have my brother's photo on my desk where I write, to be able to listen to jazz and smile, and to have spent time in NYC with his ex - healthily speaking about and cursing him with tears in our eyes...

I hope I don't sound too sanctimonious tho. One of the reasons why I modelled full time for 4 years - was that i was in mourning (for my brother) and paid enforced stillness, the ritual death play of reciting, posing as a corpse gave me the space to sit and learn to endure my unendurable feelings.

In the 4 years since, of thrying to theorise the bizarre practice of posing as a statue of playing dead for a group of people who sit and draw and ostensibly seek to represent that performance..... I've managed somehow to negotiate that dillemma.

kind of. I'm less interested in the act of drawing as representation, as visualisaiton and as the capturing of a fleeting moment of life - or death - but as a way of entering and extending certain relationships.

As much as i cherish my mad paintings of pred on a crucifix with a flouro orange cock and a crown of bougainvillea - I cherish more the flesh memory of his shoulders supporting mine. where I could feel the air through both our frames as we lay and talked. talked madly about science, politics, sex, porn, catholicism, stupidity, squatting, anything to take my focus off my aching hips, my numbing legs, the increasing pressure of blood in my temples.

Walking past the yuppie dog boxes at the end of the street, takes me back to the day of posing - coz it was the same day that Pred had just opened them as a squat - OK - not the dogboxes but the balloon factory that was on their site. i remember the social centre party that weekend, the spray paint, the beer, the kids, the music, the laughter, the fucking brilliant mad life that surrounds every memory of Pred and of so many mad brilliant people around him.

so for me - life drawing is always the start of something, of a connection that moves me into life, into engaging with people, with paint, with play. Drawing is drawing breath, drawing water, drawing life. It's opening up lines, and bodies and viewing into things that are incomplete, strange, unseen, barely imagined, uncoordinated, and deliciously mad.