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Write a short paragraph in prose or verse ending with the line “Wherever I hang my knickers- that’s my home.”

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I travel in the Summer

When the grass dulls from green to brown.

And my world is wrapped in light-

illuminated.

But I am lost in the hot unknown.

I journey in the Autumn

When the leaves dance to their graves.

And my world reaps the benefits of the harvest-

fulfilled.

But I am lost in the crisp unknown.

I transit in the Winter

When Earth wears her icy coat.

And my world rejoices for provided shelter-

protected.

But I am lost in the barren unknown.

I voyage in the Spring

When trees become godesses in bloom.

And my world is reborn and bright-

inspiring.

But I am lost in the blossoming unknown.

I ponder in the Evening

When the quiet consumes my thoughts

And my world realises that I am not

Lost.

For wherever I hang my knickers- that is my home.

“Defense of the Indefensible”

Give an example from our own times of the way political speech and writing is “the defence of the indefensible”. 

Using language, one could describe to you a force that kills victims who do not know how to escape; surrounding their whole body, filling their lungs, forcing out the air and suffocating them. A force that can both burn and freeze victims with its properties. Or one could describe a life giving force that enables plants, animals and people to survive and flourish. Both of these statements are true of the same force, water. This demonstrates the way that radicalisation of a concept can completely alter the way in which one thinks about an issue. While the altering of perspective in relation to water has no dangerous effects, the way in which we use language for political purposes can be an easy way for society to ignore an issue or to control the way people think about the world.

In George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language, the concept of political language as the “defence of the indefensible” is explored through historical examples of Russian purges, British rule in India, and the dropping of the atomic bomb . While these examples clearly use language as a way of sugar coating reality in the past, this “technique” is still very relevant to the reasoning behind political statements today. A current and ever-changing issue in Australia is government policy towards Ashley Luke seekers or, as the government likes to label them “Illegal immigrants”; a phrase incriminating people who are fleeing from war-fighting for their lives. This term not only stereotypes the men, women and children, but gives the government a reason, a facade, to hide behind when violating their human rights and failing to address their diverse needs, both mentally and physically. This term, along with the poorly used term “boat people” dehumanises them, making it easier to distance oneself from the horrors of their experiences and their very human needs.

The indefensible act of ignoring the needs of those in desperate need for help is also defended by the Australian government by claiming that they have no way of knowing whether asylum seekers are involved in terrorism. By utilising one of the current fears of the Australian public, not only do politicians convince themselves that they are in the right, but the Australian public also. This results in a lack of care for refugees as well as severe prejudice and exclusion towards those who make it out of the detention centre system. Through the carefully selected word choice when describing refugees, political speech becomes an easy defence to the indefensible. Not only does this act dehumanise and fail to recognise the needs of asylum seekers, but it strikes false fear within the Australian public against people who are not committing a crime, but are fighting for their right to exist.

Dear Virginia Woolf…

Write a letter to Virginia Woolfe telling her how much you like her ideas about writing a kind of fiction completely unconstrained by the rules of the past.

Dear Virginia Woolf,

I am sure you will agree with me when I say that the diversity of life is often blatently ignored in fiction due to the desire of the author to have a successful novel that ticks all of the boxes so to speak. I say this because this is a conclusion that I have come to based on your ideas about fiction writing conveyed by your essay Modern Fiction.

The ideas that you have expressed through this work spoke to me on a personal level as often when reading fiction, one realises that rather than an intricate set of characters with entirely unique lives given to them by an author, stock characters and stereotypes control the outcomes of the story. This makes these works predictable and somewwhat meaningless and the true emotions are removed and replaced by whatever an author thinksthe audience will like so as to sell the piece. You pose the important questions of “Is life like this? Must novels be like this?” which inspired my thoughts on this issue. In the immensly diverse world we live in, no two people are the same, no two experiences are the same, and no two thoughts are the same- so why so often is it that in literature, the character acts in the way that they are expected to act and the plot carries on in the same fashion; an orientation, complication and conclusion? This is obviously not an accurate reflection of life as many authors are afraid to leave the confines of expectation.

I think that as a young author, I should strive to break such confines and focussing on, not expectations, but expressions of complex situations, characters and emotions who break boundaries in their own fictional world but could also be legitimatw within our world. Rather than writing characters based on expectations, it is vital that “likeness to life” is considered in such a way that characters are unpredictable, allowing the character to lead the author in new and unexplored directions. The ideas you have presented are not only well-fashioned, but highly inspiring to young authors ready to break the boundafries set in the past and begin writing unpredictably and unashamedly. Thank you for your insight into the issues surrounding modern literature.4

Kind regards,

Tamara Sibbald.

 

Art and Manifestos

What and how does this compilation of Manifestos show us about the forces at work in our world today? As a work of art itself, does this Manifesto, point to anything that we in the 21st  Century need to be responding to?

Manifestos in relation to art, I believe, are a reflection of what is valued at the time they are created by the person they are created by. They may be a reflection of the will to conform, rebel, confuse, provoke; the will to produce any number of responses within the audience through the way art is expressed. The compilation of Manifestos demonstrates the various reasons for art and the emotions they provoke from the viewers depending on the matching manifesto.

One example of this is the push for deep symbolism within art that ocurred in the 20th century as a rebellious response to the idea that emerged in the 19th century that art can exist for its’ own sake. Similar forces exist in the world of art today as it is continuosly changing as a result of predecessor’s ideas about what art should and should not be. The constantly moving world continuous to alter the ways in which we choose to express ourselves and the reasons for expression. Today, this is easily seen online as the rapid communication allows for ideas and art to spread more quickly and allows others to respond and discuss this with ease.

Today, this Manifesto continues to encourage us to be critical of the art we view and consider why it is presented in a particular way and whether we agree with its message and meaning; it is also important to consider whether it does have meaning or if it has to have meaning at all. We need to constantly be responding to the art of those before us by engaging with the ideas it promotes and discovering whether we agree with such Manifestos, or if we need to construct our own to express the values that more accurately describe our current society.

 

Nude in a Rocking Chair

Describe the Picasso painting above. In other words paint his picture IN WORDS. Say briefly what makes it “modernist”.

Picasso’s Nude in a Rocking chair. Rejects all certainty. Shuns traditinalist ideas as outdated. Rejection of realism. The embodiment of modernist art.

Sickly green as the blackness comes in; creeping, consuming. Yonder, a glimpse of something blue, the colour of past certainties with no place in this picture. In this world. Memories of curves and smooth lines of yesterday- now only angry lines and crosses.

A warped figure- the naked woman. Mal-alligned shapes merged, no, forced into a being- but not a human being-for what does it mean to be human? Vibrant all-consuming colours contrasting the pale figure of a woman. Placeless and lost in the ever-changing path that is life.

Faceless and naked. Anger resounding through the think lines of her breasts and stomach- a new kind of face to put on for the world. Not an ideal beauty, but a beauty nevertheless for society has no bearing on this world.

Truthful. Crude. Modernist.

Picasso.

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Nude in a Rocking Chair. Picasso 1956. Art Gallery NSW.

Three Bathers

Which work in the gallery left the deepest impression on you. Can you describe the work in detail and say why it left that impression on you?

Ernst Ludwig Kirchne’s painting, Three Bathers, left a large impression on me during my recent art gallery visit. Initially, this painting may not seem as symbollic as the abstract work of Picasso or as confronting as Lucien Freud’s work, however, the strong meaning behind this painting captured my attention.

Painted two years before the outbreak of World War I, this painting captures the impending doom that war will bring to everyone whether they are fighting or left at home. This is depicted through the three women being presented just moments before a large wave is to arrive; symbollic of the events to come and the destruction and impact they will have on the women. The nudity of the three symbolises their helplessness to the situation and their inability to prevent it as they do not have to means to do so. The colours used in the painting further highlight the fear and insecurity in relation to the state of the world- yellows and oranges acting as a symbol of uncertainty. Not only do the colours depict this fear, but the expressions and posture of the three women highlight the uneasiness of the time period.

Through such symbolism, the painting effectively presents raw emotions- a feature present through countless works of twentieth century art due to the circumstances of the time such as the rising tension before the outbreak of war. These three women become a symbol for those who are effected by war without having any choice in the matter or having their voices and concerns heard. I also found it very captivating that this piece was crated by a German artist as in my previous studies of the wars, German emotions and fears were never the focus as an English, American and Australian story is the one that is usually told. Because of these multi-faceted messages presented in Kirchne’s work, I am able to understand the emotions depicted in the artwork and have been able to connect with this painting specifically.

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Ernst Ludwif Kirchne’s Painting- Three Bathers

Beetles

Do you have your own special event (like Kat and Paul’s Goose roasting) that sings in your mind as one of the most memorable experiences in your life? Tell us about it.

The important thing about Kat and Paul’s goose roasting is not the action itself, but rather the emotion and deep meaning behind it. An almost mundane activity being carried out in the midst of war not only had a binding effect on the solidiers, but taught them something about the world. The memorable experience that I am about to explain had a similar effect in my life as although it may seem incredibly insignificant to any reader, it is an event that has remained ingrained in my memory for almost fifteen years…

As a child, I was an incredibly nature-loving being; I collected snails as “pets”, spent all of my time outside, and went out of my way to protect small creatures. One windy afternoon, when I was about five years old,a small green bug (most likely a christmas beetle, though my memories fail me) happened to arrive on my verandah of all places. To the aforementioned “nature-loving being” that my five-year-old self was, befriending this beetle was ofcourse the most sensible thing to do. I sat for what must have been hours on my sister’s skateboard watching the beetle, playing with it (also known as letting it crawl over my fingers), and trying to feed it cake; all the while, strong winds blowing around me. In my childlike mind, the bug was having fun too, enjoying my company and loving the cake; which, in hindsight, it most definitely was not eating. For me this was not just a bug, but a friend; my mum was too busy to play and my older sister was at school already- this bug was just as good company as any person could be to me and maybe even better in some ways. I wanted to share the news of my newfound friend with my mum who was folding clothes inside so I got off the skateboard and moved towards the door. The wind kept blowing. In a cruel twist of fate, this particular gust of wind was enough to turn the wheels of the skateboard I had previously been sitting on and as it rolled, the life was squeezed out of my beetle. My friend. Uneaten cake crumbs still lying there, the deathbed of a creature who had been such a comfort to a child. Tears flooded from my eyes not only when it happened, but many more times afterwards as I felt that it was my fault the skateboard had taken the life of an innocent beetle. To this very day, the death of that particular beetle still upsets me though I’m sure I have killed many since then with no remorse.

While the death of a beetle does not change the world, that memory has stayed with me for some unexplainable reason. Maybe because it was my first experience of something I cared about dying or because of the knowledge about how quickly things an be turned upside down. How short life is. Whatever the reason, this tiny experience made a huge impact on my world and the way that I viewed it making this event special not through what happened, but through what it meant.

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Probably a distant relative of the beetle I befriended. (southcoasyherald.co.za)

A Modern War Poem

Take the first line of any one of the poets studied this week, and in the style of that poet, compose your own poem about the horror of wars as you might imagine

For my creative piece this week, I decided to take the first line of Wilfred Owen’s “Anthem for Doomed Youth” and write my own poem. I thought that rather than writing a WW1 war poem, I would subvert the line and use it to write about a “war” in our world today; this “war” being Australia versus refugees that are rejected and vilified.

Anthem for Asylum Seekers

What passing bells for these who die as cattle?
-Only isolation and being unwanted.
Enduring endless injustice and an unfair battle
For those who carry on, exhausted.
No memorials of their hardships; no relent
Nor a voice of reason resounding.
Instead excuses we, ourselves, invent-
Prejudice, racism and fear abounding.
Why is their humanity replaced with alienation?
The lives left at home and lost in “sanctuary”-
Australia, with false pride in an egalitarian nation
Refuses the outcasts when help is necessary.
Through cries of help and tragic goodbyes,
The world turn away with covered ears and closed eyes.

The Present

To “….compel men entranced by the sight of distant goals to glance for a moment at the surrounding vision of form and colour, of sunshine and shadows; to make them pause for a look , for a sigh, for a smile…” Do you think this is a noble aim for any kind of artist (novelist, poet, musician, painter)?  Discuss in a short paragraph.

Today, society is often so concerned about the future that they find an inability to appreciate the small joys in the world and as a result, miss out on truly living. An artist who strives to “make them pause for a look, for a sigh, for a smile”, in many ways is aiming to bring life to the almost lifeless haze that people live in what “entranced by the sight of distant goals.” These goals, whether they be monetary, material or social prevent society from reflecting upon their emotions and the state of the world around them. Through “form and colour…sunshine and shadows”, an author may create such emotion and reflections about the present that otherwise would be missed in such busy lives that we all strive to keep up with. Due to this, it could be argued that the communication of emotion and the ability to recreate these within the audience is the most vital part of any art form because of the way it gets an audience to stop, feel, and reflect- actions very rarely carried out due to these “distant goals” that we set for ourselves. By communicating the importance of this to the audience, an artist helps them to recognise what matters in the present; the envirnoment and emotions created through this. This pursuit to compel the audience to address the present is therefore a noble andeven admirable aim as it allows the audience to feel and grow within the present which then improves this distant future we are so concerned with.