a couple of months ago, the howard government in australia declared a state of emergency in northern territory aboriginal communities, claiming that widespread child abuse required nothing short of massive state intervention - including confiscation of land - to ensure the safety of aboriginal children. this is the same government that, since its election in 1996, has been steadily eroding state assistance to these remote indigenous communities, including passing an amendment to the aboriginal land rights (northern territory) act last year which explicitly states that "The principal objectives are to improve access to Aboriginal land for development, especially mining".
I participated in the international conference of Women in Black, www.womeninblack.org. It was held in Valencia, Spain, during four hot and intensive days. 400 women from more than forty countries discussed about the peace movement, the role of the lesbians in the feminist issues and the need of new strategies. The most interesting was to hear women from countries ravaged by war and misery, they were strong and kept great integrity. There were women from Afghanistan, Tjetchen and Irak, Colombia, Pakistan, Israel and Palestine.
I was discussing with a friend the vitality of the postcolonial debate, the viability of a discussion where we looked into many of the wars of today as remnants or consequences of the colonial rule, the division of the world by a few super powers and the control of strategic resources. Not only oil, but drinkable water, harbours, metals, food, woods. By mail I got a letter from some Palestine activists. They belong to Al Awda, an organization working for the right of return and supporting Palestine children in the refugee camps. They had received a letter from some Canadian activists who wrote about the Algonquin nation and their struggle with the Canadian law. The Algonquin don't want let their lands digged for uran and other metals, they feel they are the caretakers of the land and not the owners.
This morning I finished translating the last text for a catalogue for an exhibition in Berlin. A group exhibition. A special group exhibition: a "family" exhibition. Working on the catalogue texts, I was amused and intrigued by the different ways in which the authors attempted to come to terms with the idea of "family" and an entire five-person family of artists exhibiting their work together.
As more and more personal memories began floating to the surface of my mind, though, I began to wonder if it really does justice to this group to consider them as a more or less isolated phenomenon, a kind of anomaly, without the context in which they live and work. Because the reason why I translated these texts is that I share that same context, and working on these texts made me more aware of how important this context is.
this evening i've been enjoying the lunar eclipse, amongst other things. here in brisbane we saw it as a beautiful deep dark orangey-red colour, i have never seen such a bloody moon before! it was obscured from time to time by cloud but for a lot of the evening it was very clear. soon after 9pm it started to go back to normal, with the brilliant white contrasting dramatically against the blood colour. apparently it wasn't so colourful everywhere - my brother in karamea said there was a shadow but no red.
My 16 year-old sister got her exam results this week. She did brilliantly well, and the whole family were celebrating with her this weekend. Everyone was jubilant, especially as she had often been told by her teachers that she wasn't trying hard enough, that she was going to fail (particularly in sciences) - which she eventually aced.
Someone brought out the newspaper and triumphantly pointed out her school, which came number 4 in the league tables of state schools for GCSE results. I then heard her speaking about the other students in her class. She knew what each of them had got, and rattled them off: 'Alistair got 5 A's, 3 B's and a C, the same as Corrie and James, Ellie got 7 A*'s and two A's, the bitch...' then finally this degenerated into 'She got 2 more A*'s than me, but she's got a huge arse, and I know I did well and everything, but all my friends did too and they're thin!'. I should point out that my sister is a beautiful size, perfectly normal and healthy for her age.
inane story on the radio -- dancing around the pop-media-has-discovered-the-promotional-hype-of-ubiquitous-computing-research (still?) -- about the installment of sensors on house plants that will send wifi info about their condition.
who sets up this network? who maintains it? who interacts with it? when and why is it interacted with? under what conditions is it necessary to interact with it? or is it ever necessary to interact with it? those people who are so interested in spreading digital networks somehow forget the necessity of deployment, installation, configuration, and, especially, maintenance. not to mention the actual (life-)time necessary to interact with the data being gathered, tweaking it if necessary or even possible to a form that is understandable and useable to the idiosyncratic self, NOT the generic Everyman (who is the Grail of the data collectors).
* Struggling home along the trolley-wobbling pavement of Green Lanes in North London. Dank, gray skies and chaotic, always-divergent, multicultural masses are in sharp contrast to the rarefied air of the mountains of Banff.
i've always fancied the idea of a tail, and last night my dream came true. out with a group of artists on our ponies for a gallery crawl, i was secretly admiring and coveting the impressive long black swishing tail of one of our company, nonnatus. after some time i plucked up the courage to compliment him on his appendage, which it turns out he made himself, and he generously offered to give me one.
Calls for support have been circulating around various related mailing lists for several weeks now, and I hope that many, many people will sign the online petitions calling for the suspension of §129a proceedings and the release of those imprisoned in Germany: open letter
The charges against Andrej H. are especially outrageous and clearly pose a threat to the freedom of academic research and political engagement, and a wave of protests has responded accordingly. I wholeheartedly support these efforts on the basis of my own political convictions, but also for personal reasons.
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