Editorial: Failure

Recently, I’ve been thinking about a photo I saw on the internet, of a pizza hut aflame. In the image, which is low resolution, the building sits in an empty carpark, set thoughtlessly in space. The building’s squat red roof is caving in under a thundering mass of smoke. The image is unintentional. It documents an event. And yet, there’s something about it and its presence online in an inventory of other images of those weird culturally hybrid structures burning to the ground…something about something…

Now, we talk often of the failure of capitalism.

In the issue: ideas about failure that are funny, sad, irreverant, potent, portent

the F A I L U R E to make a mark, to adhere to the guidelines, or know what those guidelines are, not composing your images, being unable to find words, or having too many … read more

Inside Issue #34

ambient palette

Susie Anderson

sandstone is the colour of this coastline. jutting ochre cliffs, gridded by tide, layers built and broken by water. those colours remind me of Gariwerd. one place in particular with rock suspended overhead, an important site for Jardwajali. approaching Billimina shelter with visiting friends, silence falls. natural occurrences naturally incur silence. stunningly, they appear without explanation, no visible date of production. words like immutable approach some sort of meaning, but what use is that when we’re talking about things from before that will go on after.

it seems that as one thing ends another begins. the preparation for change is more difficult than the change itself. crosses my mind that at some point I won’t be here to see any more beginnings, yet right now the world is opportunity. the word is could: things I could do, places I could go, people I could meet. and when endings have occurred in my life – or to others around me – I have kept going. out of necessity and habit. sometimes we are told to take comfort in the fact that it will all continue on without us.

After Ends, or, A Funeral for the Wrong Corpse

Tendai John Mutambu

Your dead are buried, ours are reborn You clean up the ashes while we light the fire They’re queuing up to dance on socialism’s grave  – The Mekons, This Funeral is for the Wrong Corpse (1999) ‘The end of history’ was a phrase that came to dominate Western political discourse following the summer of 1989.

Times I was particularly undesirable

Natasha Matila-Smith


I stood next to A. She was plain but perfectly plain. A dirty blond ponytail. Her long sleeve gathered in her fist. Petite. A

good aim, she was a natural with the firearm. I sulked that I only hit my target once. Afterwards, we ate sausages on bread

for lunch. His Dad cooked them as we watched the rugby on a large flatscreen

Obnoxious Urban Behaviour

Barbarella Karpinski

  I am a failure. I will never be Gwyneth or Nicole. I am neither thin nor blonde. I will never sob while accepting a Hollywood award. Recently, I was rehearsing at PACT Theatre as part of the Stephen Cummins and Performance Space intensive. Bhenji Ra, a contemporary dance artist and proud non-binary identified practitioner

the night shines like the day (failed sonnets/fail compilation)

Faith Wilson

dear god   when you abandoned me in the lounge room of the stranger’s house   i was staying at in canada i drank lots and started smoking and i thought   shit i’ve been feeling emotions so strongly my entire life   and all this time i could have numbed them! –   self-fulfilling

Shireen Taweel: Copper and Light

Sarinah Masukor Shireen Taweel

Shireen Taweel’s practice is not about failure. On this, she’s clear. But as a craft person working in an experimental way, accident and chance are a natural part of her process. Her handmade copper installations draw from the Islamic architectural designs of her Lebanese heritage and combine the method of the artisan with the conceptual framework of the artist

A merchant, a miner and a bushranger walk into a pub: John Young Zerunge and Jason Phu

Joanna Bayndrian

Recent headlines on the results of the 2016 Australian census claim a first: the first-time Australia is more Asian and less European.[1] But history holds the misleading future-gaze of this kind of commentary to account. In the mid-1800s, there were towns in New South Wales’ Central West with more Chinese men than European. The anxieties

The moment before you hit the ground

Kathleen Linn

Swerve recklessly, choose irrelevant topics, work without ‘critical’ rigour: all of these actions can be considered as setting yourself up for failure. Failing, going the wrong way or getting lost can generate space for growth and astute critical reflection, especially with regard to art making and exhibiting. Sydney-based artist Jelena Telecki commented that “failure in one system might not be failure in another”[i] making the crucial point that what constitutes failure rests upon point of view and the parameters set around these judgements. Cultural theorist Stuart Hall has suggested that a view from below allows for the development of alternatives and ideas that do not fit neatly into existing structures. This performed criticality, that can occur when occupying the ‘unsuccessful’ position, allows greater freedom to explore ideas and concepts in depth

Failed State

Misael M

1. The latest attempt involved the creation of 439 ibex-goat hybrid cloned embryos made by inserting the cell nuclei of the ibex’s skin cells into the egg cells of domestic goats which had their own cell nuclei removed. Of these cloned embryos, 57 were transferred into surrogate mothers and seven resulted in pregnancies, but only one goat gave birth and the newborn clone died after seven minutes as a result of lung deformities

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