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Issue
#31

Editorial: The west as an endless road trip

West in most dictionaries is described first and foremost as a directional term, a position to be derived from the setting of the sun. However, almost immediately the complexity of the term as an idea and a construct is implied by the presence of ‘common’ synonyms such as ‘the Occident’. West is an idea more often than it is something tangible; an idea loaded with value judgements that are spatial, political, historical and cultural. Accordingly, in throwing this term out to contributors, what we have received for this issue is a reflection on the diversity of what the word implies in a contemporary Australian and international context. The common thread throughout these contributions is a kind of political agency that goes with a suspicion of the term, and the binaries it implies.

Abdul Abdullah and Sophie Hoyle have both provided compelling and articulate interrogations of the construction of an oppositional position of ‘West’ and/vs ‘Other’, specifically Muslim other. Their essays seek to counter with much needed critique the hyperbole of fear and terror that is fuelled by the media circus and conservative vote-blinded politicians. read more…

Inside Issue #31

The Rhetoric Around Radicalisation


Abdul Abdullah

According to the late political scientist Joseph Overton from the United States’ Macinak Center for Public Policy, public policy is developed in an agreed window of political correctness. The website for the self-described ‘think tank’ states: Joseph Overton observed that in a given public policy area, such as education, only a relatively narrow range of potential policies will be considered politically acceptable. This “window” of politically acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer, but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election. In general, then, the window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them read more…

Sonnets in Noongar – The Task


Kylie Farmer [Kaarljilba Kaardn]

In ‘April 2012’, Yirra Yaakin Theatre Company presented six of Shakespeare’s sonnets in the ancient Aboriginal language of Western Australia’s southwest –the Noongar language – at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Yirra Yaakin also presented Sonnets in Noongar at the 2013 Perth International Arts Festival and this year the work has spawned a school education program. Adapting Shakespearean language to an Aboriginal Australian language for performance could be interpreted as a politically charged act. Giving voice to the words of the colonists’ great bard on his own London stage as colonised people using our own endangered language certainly draws attention to Aboriginal Australia and the legacy of British invasion. read more…

Territorial Encounters


Adele Sliuzas

Adele Sliuzas speaks with photographer James Tylor about his engagement with Australian colonial history in his 2016 exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia and Alaska Projects.

Colour and form – the work of Sandra McGregor


Chloé Wolifson

Thickly painted in bright colours, McGregor’s papier-mâché sculptures of animals are wild but not in the sense of being true to nature, suggesting instead toys or cartoon characters. A pastel pink cat with dark pink and orange spots is adorned with yellow and lavender ribbons around its neck. A koala sits pensively by a tree whose foliage is a tight green lump reaching barely higher than the animal itself. A rabbit or bilby wears a red ribbon around its neck in the manner of certain Easter chocolates, the Easter suspicions confirmed in a pink egg adorned with a bow resting in nest of shredded paper. read more…


Critical Perspectives on the construction of the (Australian) West with and through the Middle East


Sophie Hoyle

An element of my artistic practice and academic research explores the geopolitical ideology in the (ongoing) cultural construction of the West in relation to the Middle East and North African (MENA) region. Growing up as part of the Arab diaspora in the United Kingdom, I began to see my experiences within wider histories of post-colonialism and migration between the Middle East (and globally) as impacted by Western foreign policy, Neoimperialism and the motives of the military-industrial complex that perpetuate a ‘permanent war’ in the region for purposes of political power and resource extraction. read more…

Staring down complexity: A contemporary survival skill


Melissa McGrath

Wrapped in a blanket on a chilly Adelaide afternoon I click on a link from artist Analise Minjarez who hails from El Paso, West Texas, sent with the instructions: ‘To set the mood, please view this video.’ The animated gif unfolds a panoramic view from atop the Franklin Mountains that stand watch over her childhood home. The gentle notes of sixties Latin pop drifts across the dark mountains, brown planes and endless blue sky. Minjarez and fellow textile artist Sarita Westrup are daughters of the Rio Grande River, growing up on either end of the Mexico-Texas borderlands. read more…

WA: Without Memory or Desire


Francis Russell

There is a persistent narrative that would characterise the contemporary art scene in Western Australia (WA) as parochial and isolated, a narrative that is supported by the slew of closures that have occurred in recent years [i]. This narrative is significantly challenged, however, by the host of artist-run spaces such as Success gallery—alongside the gallery’s sister space Moana, and the ARIs: Free Range, Paper Mountain, Adult Contemporary and Pet Projects [ii]—developing exciting exhibitions, and embracing media like video, media that can easily traverse geographical borders, to further open up Perth to a broad range of contemporary international artists. Such a challenge raises the question of whether Perth is becoming more cosmopolitan, or whether it is fated to languish behind other cities when it comes to culture and the arts. read more…

Merrylands, Punchbowl, Auburn, Guildford


Katie Green

I think of myself as a community worker and advocate before I think of myself as an artist. Art flowed from what I had seen and heard, because with art you can take risks and reject censorship; I came to art making as the only possible means to communicate. For the last four years I have been immersed in asylum seeker policy and politics, in a job where I have worked on a daily basis with people who arrived—by boat or by plane—to seek asylum in Australia. read more…


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RUNWAY <3 LIVEWORKS // writers workshop callout

Interested in performance and writing? Performance Space and Runway are offering seven participants the chance to participate in a free full day writers program in association with the Liveworks 2016 program, Saturday 5 November 2016. Experimental, interdisciplinary and emergent practices offer unique challenges to writers and critics. Treading ever-shifting ground between forms, this intransigence can make for thorny

FAIRFIELD FOOD SAFARI // presented by Runway and PYT

Saturday 24 September 2016 Join Powerhouse Youth Theatre Artistic Director Karen Therese and local artist Bashar Hanna on a very unique tour of Fairfield’s food and cultural scene. Meet at Fairfield station at 11:40 (train leaves Central at 10:57) Tour continues to 3pm (train departs Fairfield to Central at 3:20) $20 general / $15 Runway

RUNWAY REGIONAL TRAVEL BURSARIES

Be our 2016 TINA or ARTLANDS reporters! **Proposals due Friday 16 September** Runway is looking for NSW based arts professionals to attend This is Not Art, Newcastle (30 Sept-2 Oct) and the Artlands 2016 conference in Dubbo (27-30 Oct). We want you to be our eyes and ears on the ground and so we are offering offering


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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