Monday, April 18, 2011

Feeding time....

My brain is a bit schermuzzled lately, due to rigours of wjerking life and other stuff.
I've seen a bit of A R T - most notably Sarah Fields show (sigh) at Gallery Smith - not to mention Adam Norton's ghostly reminders of non-lieus past and present. I'm tempted to digress on a tangent of pataphsyics and nostalgia, but want to hold back, just a bit.
Recent delights included visiting the White Elephant Gallery garage sale and scoring a BAT SUIT! The perfect outfit for watching TV on the beanbag during a full moon! not to mention running around at night in. Once I work out how to cycle in it - BELIEVE ME I'LL BE UNSTOPPABLE!!!
And on a brief foray to my northern home, i had the joy of discovering PLUMP GALLERY, an artists' run space full of incredible delights. I saw the work of the running artist, Willurei Kirkbright Burney in 2006, and wrote about it here. So I was pretty delighted to see her running an entire space.

and oh! the divinity of sugar wax crystal dripping, chocolate doll music box turning, with freaky ninja dudes in background, multiply performative, hair in my cake, extreme delight was intoxicating and a perfect way to end my thirties.

Back in Melbourne I had the delight of attending the Peril launch at Hares and Hyenas. I wandered in just as Benjamin Laird started his poetry performance. I've linked to the printed version of the poems here, but I'm not sure how it conveys the richness of the words, shimmering and his voice's cadences and pauses actually worked to expand the spaces between the words, where meaning emerged and expanded beyond itself into other possibilities. My dear friends, this is the space of poetry, and probably the first time I've ever witnessed it being performed so eloquently.

Despite the lack of Schappylle Scragg stage birthing, this launch was mercifully free of pompous black skivvied white male poets driveeling stylised conceptualist xenophobic prattles. However there was a slightly similar beige shadow of cringe, passing over Rosemary's John's reading. I don't think I'm particularly enlightened on the racial front, but I'm regularly astonished by the continued exoticisation/eroticisation orientalist twang of other white writers. Is Edward Said really that obscure? or, you know, Belle Hooks? When pale hands type what blue eyes see about the bodies and spaces occupied by those with differently pigmented skin, surely it's not too much to expect just a little critical reflexivity? huh?

Funnily enough Lia Incognita's performed parts of her publish essay in a manner which did include a lot of critical reflexivity and aside from my ethnophenomenological gushings, made me wonder why it is that this attentniveness to positionality and the nuances of identity, and of self and others - only comes from those observers and writers whose position in the world is made so blatantly uncomfortable.

And Thuy Lich Nguyen's piece got me thinking about where I'm living and what I'm doing here. I wonder a lot about the Footscray whitewash, as I stroll scowling past the new wine bar on the corner - which looks like a weird apartheid fishbowl of white only clients, in a street full of south asian eateries, crammed with bodies of multiple hues and sizes....And as much as I like to laugh at the juxtaposition of Braybrook trailor trash and Yarraville gay boys rubbing shoulders at the central west plaza, or about the time I heard Parisian tourists in Braybrook Aldi, I look at my own pale skin, consider my own status and that of my professional partner in the home that we own, and I wonder about our own implication in the changes that are taking place here. hmmmm, but that is perhaps a story for another space.

Back to whingeing, I've witness a few celebrations of some of my Melbourne friends and aquaintances and connections; weddings, baby showers etc. significant emotional formal times - where biological and chosen families congregate to mark traditional moments in non traditional ways. And I wonder about this need for novelty, to break away from traditional ways of doing things, the ways parents or grandparents would have done them..... within contexts and social groupings that are entirely homogenous in class, sexual orientation and cultural/ethnic background. Renaissance wife were trying to discern the vomit factor in looking at the pictures of a straight white couple in a quasi Hindu Bollywood outfits for their straight white wedding. Not to mention the invocation of Hawaiian chants and singing among a circle of young white urban hetties - for god only knows what purpose. I didn't get to ask if any of them wanted to hold the party at Smorgys or in a Tiki Bar or some more established (and aesthetic) setting for white appropriate of Polynesian culture. and then I was totally bamboozled by THREE or FOUR references to gifts of African Beads as a way of honouring a woman's 'earthiness'.... Because, you know, I was in Australia at the time, with no Africans or clear reference to Africa or Africans that were evident, axcept for my random speculation that the referees thought Africans are dirt or dirty perhaps?

So - as my 2 year posting as a visual ethnographer among Culturally and Lingistically Diverse communities comes to an end, I'm still curious about how and where and why I am in the world as I am, and what kinds of connections I am/could be/want to be fostering, when so much racist inequality still exists and thrives.

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