is an extension of the eye...
FREE ISSUE #1 - 2019 CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF GROK
HEADS OF DESIGN
Hayley Thoms Scott Higginbotham
DEPUTY EDITOR Max Vos SUBEDITORS Ailish Delaney Belicia Tjendera Daryna Zadvirna Maria Cristina de Vicente Capua Urbi Khan
CONTRIBUTING DESIGNERS Cameron Whiting Evelyn Swindale Hayley Thoms Jamie Simcock Lola Baldsing Natasha Provan Sally Henderson Scott Higginbotham
Ailish Delaney Amber Joy Weir Danica Spear Daniel Patterson
COVER ARTIST Cameron Whiting
Isabella Clarke Jo Newman
Kenith Png Luisa Mitchell
Maria Cristina de Vicente Capua
Max Vos Talya Hammond
CONTACT grokonline.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org
State Library of WA
grokmagazine issuu.com/curtinguild @grokmagazine
contents NOTE FROM THE EDITOR
FROM THE PREZ
50 YEARS OF GROK
THE FUSS ABOUT PILL TESTING
LOCAL ACTS YOU SHOULD ALREADY KNOW ABOUT
ALTERNATIVE TRACKS TURNING 10 THIS YEAR
WHY WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT BLINDESPOTTING: THE SHOULD'VE-BEEN AWARDS SMASH MOVIE
DISNEY OG'S GETTING A NEW FACE
NON-VIOLENCE IN VIDEO GAMES
IS IT OK TO HOLIDAY IN NORTH KOREA?
WHY WOMEN RETIRE WITH LESS MONEY
STEP UP FOR SUSTAINABILITY: HOW STUDENTS CAN DO THEIR BIT TO COMBAT FAST FASHION
FROM SPACE TO SPACESHIP EARTH:
THE NASA TECH IN OUR DAILY LIVES DESERT STOMACH: YOU CAN HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO
N OTE FROM T HE E D I TOR
“TO UNDERSTAND THOROUGHLY, AND I N T U I T I V E LY; T H AT I S T H E M E A N I N G OF GROK, THAT IS WHY WE ARE HERE.”
During my time at Grok, I have been privileged enough to work alongside an incredibly diverse and talented bunch of people. Without them, this paper would not exist. To Grokians of the past, present, and future—thank you. As Editor, it is my duty to be open minded, for every opinion I come across, is the opinion of a student that I am here to represent. However, I recently read somewhere that we should care less about conservative and apolitical students. I do not agree. Conservative can mean many things. It can mean that you hold traditional values, that you favour social conservatism, or perhaps that you favour free enterprise and private ownership. Being apolitical also means different things to different people. You may be disinterested with politics, or maybe you just prefer not to be involved. And in this current climate, I would not blame you. For fifty years, Grok and the Curtin Student Guild have done our best to represent the student body. Because that is our job. It is why we are here.
As Editor, it is my job to be impartial, because our campus is as diverse as our country, and I am here to represent the interests of all students, not just the ones I agree with. It is not my job to say that my views are right and yours are wrong. It is my job to let you know what’s happening on our campus, to hold those with power accountable, and to answer to you, the students. That is the job of any person elected to represent the people. As a representative of Grok, it is my prerogative to say that this is what I will fight for, and this is why you should stand with me—but it is okay if you disagree. If we act divisively, it will divide us. And if the future is to be as grim as some believe it will be, then we will need each other. For 50 years, Grok has stood by and fought for students, and for 50 years you have supported us. Here’s to 50 more.
Amber Weir Editor-in-Chief
from the prez Hello friends! Welcome to the newest print edition of Grok Magazine! We are proud to celebrate 50 years of Grok and 50 years of the Curtin Student Guild. For the last half-century, both Grok and the Guild have been important parts of the student experience here at Curtin, as we both bring students together to form the wonderful community and distinct sense of identity among the student body. In recent years, although the Guild’s budget has reduced— largely due to increased retail competition on campus— our representation and support services continue to engage and assist students as they have for 50 years. Although Grok does not have the finances it once did, we’re thrilled to see that the passion and drive of the students involved with Grok has meant that it continues to produce fantastic content. While the Guild’s budget is tight, we remain committed to supporting Grok, and we are proud of the amazing display of creativity and talent among the Curtin student body that is displayed through Grok’s unique contribution to Curtin University. After 50 years, the Guild continues to produce amazing outcomes for students. This year, these are just a few of the things we’re focussing on: Expanding our network of student representatives by introducing a Course Representative system;
Improving the educational experience at Curtin by seeing the number of exams across the university significantly reduced, changing the rules around word counts and advocating for a more lenient late assessment policy; Developing Equity Committees to make our Equity Departments as active and representative as possible; Creating more professional development opportunities for clubs and societies, and; Constantly investigating ways we can make our events bigger, better, safer and more accessible. While we’re working hard to achieve these outcomes, we’re also keen to hear from you on what you want to see from us. Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with any of our student representatives about the issues that matter to you. Our 50th birthday is already shaping up to be a huge year for us, and we hope you’ll engage with us along the way, whether it be by coming to our upcoming Annual General Meeting in May, reading Grok, sending us an email, observing a Guild Council meeting, chatting to us at one of our regular Grill the Guild barbecues, coming to a Tav party, or all of the above. Enjoy this amazing edition of Grok, and I’ll see you around!
Standing up for students on the issues that affect our lives, such as climate change, increasing rates of unemployment and poverty, and all forms of discrimination and inequality; Seeing the “Consent Module” rolled out in an effort to address sexual assault and harassment in the Curtin community;
Finlay Nolan 50th Guild President
Design from ‘Grok’ 1972, Volume 4, Number 5.
Words: Luisa Mitchell Design Cameron Whiting
After a final semester of 2018 that can only be described as ‘traumatic’ and ‘out-of-my-depth’, I was a bag of mixed reactions when I heard that Curtin’s Student Guild wanted to hire myself and other Grok staff to work on another project over the holiday break. Mostly the reaction was positive, because despite the million-and-one other jobs that I took on last semester, this work involved researching Grok’s history, and looking at political, social and cultural events spanning over 50 years: all things that I thoroughly love and enjoy exploring. So, as of December, the Guild wanted us to work on a project that celebrates half-a-century of their organisation—under which Grok, our beloved student magazine, also resides. I was about to go on a journey of discovery to figure out what Grok really means for students and local politics, from its inception in 1969, to now, in 2019. Keep reading to find out what I learnt.
HOW MUCH LIFE HAS CHANGED SINCE 1969 As a student publication, Grok has covered Perth, Australian and international news and current affairs for 50 years. It has become a portal through which we can look back in time and see the shifting form of Australian culture and society. After it moved away from its conservative beginnings under the title of Aspect, Grok became what it is now: a progressive, insightful publication seeking to tell diverse stories and increase our understanding of student issues, concerns, and lifestyles. The 1970s were a completely different time; the Vietnam War was in full swing until 1975, and young Australian men were being conscripted into a violent conflict that some disagreed with. The growing death toll and atrocities committed against the Vietnamese people by the allied Western powers troubled many. In 1972, Cole and the Guild Welfare Committee Chairman Paul Bridges wrote a call-out in Grok asking people to offer up their homes to hide people avoiding conscription, people who were “dodging the draft”. Despite the seemingly never-ending tirade of ‘bad news’ that we see and read every day, the articles I read on life in the '70s revealed to me that we have come so, so far. Women’s Liberation and Gay Liberation movements were only just beginning to be sparked as conversations in isolated Perth, with Grok reprinting speeches by feminist groups like Dolle Mina, and reporting on birth control and the opening of women’s sexual health clinics in nearby suburbs.
Grok was the talk of pure revolution then. Other topics included protests against police brutality and South African apartheid; the beginnings of Aboriginal land reform and political rights; support for the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the complicated mess of Middle Eastern politics; the looming threat of the Cold War, and the unceasing, ever constant threat of continued funding cuts to education across Australia. While we still have a long road ahead of us, there is much to be celebrated. In 1984 the Federal Sex Discrimination Act became legislation, making gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment illegal. Throughout the '80s and '90s women took on high positions such as Speaker of the House of Representatives, federal political party leaders, High Court judges, Chief Ministers, and premiers, to name a few. Indigenous women, too, increasingly became involved in leading positions on a national level. All of this change culminated in Australia’s first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, being sworn in in 2010. In 1972 Grok was reporting on the Aboriginal Tent Embassy being established outside of Parliament House, Canberra in 1972—the same year the White Australia Policy was abolished—and so much has happened since then. The Racial Discrimination Act was passed in 1975, and Aboriginal Land Rights were formed, which began to recognise the dispossession of Aboriginal people. A Royal Commission was finally established in 1987, to investigate Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Tens of thousands of Australians marched and protested on
HOW MUCH GROK HAS CHANGED SINCE 1969 Australia Day on the bicentenary of the invasion of Australia, in 1988. A historic decision was reached in the High Court to overturn terra nullius, the idea that Australian land was legally uninhabited when European colonisers arrived. And in 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said “sorry” to the Stolen Generations. These are but a few of the ways that change has slowly but progressively culminated in a more egalitarian and just society for all Australians. Unfortunately, while society at large has improved in many ways, life for students seems to have slowly gone down-hill, particularly since 1989 when the then Labor Government under Bob Hawke re-introduced university fees, or HECS, to what had previously been free education in Australia. In recent years, funding for universities continues to be cut under Federal Budget changes, while fees for studies continue to rise.
The first print run of Grok, then called Aspect, was 5000 copies, printed for $458. In 1982, Grok and 6NR, Curtin’s Radio station, had a joint publication budget of $15,000, which would be around $40,000 today. In the 1990s, many of Grok’s prior editors and contributors talked of it being the ‘golden era’ of the student magazine. According to Adam Connors, the Editor in 1995, Grok was distributing around 7000 magazines on campus and around the city, with the magazine being one of the most prominent alternative publications in Perth, alongside X-Press. Flash forward to the present: Grok’s printing budget in 2018 was approximately $2800, with a distribution of around 600 magazines over the entire year. This is a drastic drop from previous years. Taking into account that the Internet is the main forum for news, publishing, and the spread of information in general, it may be no surprise that Grok only printed two print editions last year, as well as one special women’s edition, Athena (drawing the budget from the Women’s Department). As former Grok Editor from the early '90s, Tim Wallace, relayed to me in our interview, Grok was supported and invested in by the Guild back then. "This was because", said Connors, “some of the smarter ones [from the Guild] realised that Grok getting great exposure, meant the Guild was getting great exposure.”
Design from ‘Grok’ 1972, Volume 4, Number 5.
Grok 1972, Volume 4, Number 6.
It is disappointing to see that despite Grok’s growing quality, size and recognition at Curtin, we continue to be undervalued. Over the years, our budget has risen, only to fall again, and the size of our paid staff members continues to diminish. Only three staff members were paid for working on Grok last year: the Editor-in-Chief, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief (myself), and our Artistic Director.
As Graham Senders, Grok’s Editor in 1986 wrote, “GROK is the newspaper of the Student Guild. It boasts this quite proudly and openly. It is not, however, the mouthpiece of the Student Guild, something quite different. Contributors to GROK may criticise the Guild, they may laud the Guild, or they may ask what the Guild is and what it is doing.”
Previously, Grok not only had its own office, but had multiple editors and reporters who were all paid Guild employees. 2007’s Editor Melissa Davey referred to their working space as a kind of “rogue side office”, with “stacks of CDS and film passes.”
Such was the Guild’s support in 1987, that Grok was able to pay not just its staff, but also unemployed and irregular contributors, at a rate of $12 per every 100 words, with an $80 limit (at current adjusted rates).
Now, Grok’s area is one desk in a cubicle-style room full of Guild employees; certainly not our own office where our independence, and independent reporting is encouraged. Matters were made worse when the Guild held a council meeting last year and implemented a ‘Grok Charter’, which stated that the Guild President should have final say over Grok’s content. Last year's Grok editors were not informed of the meeting or invited to attend, and the decision was made without allowing a chance to dispute the decision. While many join Grok for the experience, it is imperative that the Guild understands that for Grok to continue improving its journalistic content, it must be supported and valued. This should mean increased funding and distribution opportunities, and an understanding that for Grok to be a democratic, quality magazine, it must be independent from the university and Guild administrations. Our only loyalties lie at the side of the truth and of the students on campus.
If anything, looking over the history of Grok has embedded in me the belief that Grok is a highly important, historical archive on West Australian life, and should be encouraged by the Guild to remain so.
HOW IMPORTANT GROK AS A COMMUNITY HAS BEEN FOR STUDENTS AT CURTIN Those who I spoke to said that the newspaper was often their strongest memory of their time at university. The 1972 Sports Editor, Garry Feeney, said that the paper’s staff was a group separate from everyone else, saying, “Then there was us: the people who were in everything. We did the parties, the drugs, the protests and demos, student politics, the student newspaper and the dramatic society. There was a lot of crossover… It was heady and exciting because you really felt like you were a part of what was happening in the world. It was an illusion. This was Perth—the second most isolated city in the world. Nobody gave a damn what
what we did or said, but for a while there it felt like they did.” Connors viewed Grok in the highest regard, stating that what set the publication apart was that it was “the get-yourself-in-trouble, push-the-boundaries, tackle-the-hard-topics-around-student-unionism- andsexuality, and hold-the-Guild-accountable [magazine].” Although throughout the years Grok’s sense of community has fluctuated, what hasn’t changed has been our tendency to self-idolise; we have always loved to party and celebrate ourselves, and so over the decades various ceremonies have been organised to enable this. Most recently was our own ceremony, ‘The Golden Groks’ of 2018; but who could forget the ‘Golden Wang Awards’ for journalism students in the early ‘80s? Under the leadership of Jay Anderson in 2017/18, Grok has transformed from the skeleton frame of its former glory, into a renewed, thriving community of passionate writers and close friends. When I first gained a sense of the history of Grok, it was when I told my Mum that I was going to write for their Art and Film Department in 2017. She laughed
and told me that she remembered Grok ‘back in her day’, and couldn’t believe it was still around. She was an Arts student at Curtin (then known as WAIT) and had submitted a couple of drawings to the paper herself. It was then that I realised that Grok has contributed to and changed so many people’s lives; at least for those who came into contact with it regularly and particularly those who wrote, edited, and designed for it. There are some traditions, like Grok, that we should continue to treasure. So, as I sit back and reflect on this time, first as a writer, then editor, and now as a researcher, I feel thankful that I have been able to be part of this great experience: the student magazine— the Great GROK! I am now reminded of the word's meaning: ‘to understand thoroughly or intuitively… to have full understanding.’ As we begin another year at Curtin, and I prepare to say goodbye (at least for now) to the paper, I have come to reach a certain level of ‘grok’ myself; and I couldn’t have done it without this magazine or the people who run it.
To understand profoundly, intuitively, or by empathy.
Grok Magazine is Curtin University’s studentrun media outlet. The writers, editors and designers of our six departments (Student Life; Politics and International Affairs; Music; Science and Technology; Art and Film; Economics and Business) cover the good, the bad and the ugly—delivering a variety of content to keep you informed. We publish regularly through our website and produce a glossy print edition each semester, which you can pick up at Guild outlets and across campus. To make sure you don’t miss a thing, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram. If you’re interested in contributing to Grok as a writer, editor or designer, or if you have a scoop you want us to cover, hit up the editors at email@example.com
And if you need to be convinced, some of our gang members are flogging their experiences for this advertisement: “Grok has given me a brilliant platform to share my thoughts and opinions on something I’m deeply passionate about and I’m eternally grateful for that. Not only do I get to write about what I love, but I’m always finding new ways to improve my writing practice thanks to a constantly supportive editing team.” —Daniel Patterson, Art and Film Writer “Having the opportunity to see a design piece you’ve worked so hard on in the flesh is the best uni memory! The ability to have your work printed before even leaving uni is an experience that is invaluable and will really teach you so much about design and your own personal style.” —Elyssia Burton, Designer "Writing and editing for Grok has been eye-opening about the creative and managerial world that exists out there for people such as myself, who started uni without knowing where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. Now, almost two years after joining Grok, I can say that not only have I gained invaluable experience for any career path I choose, I have also definitely shaken my own expectations of how much joy you can get from being involved in student-led collaborative projects like this one.” —Luisa Mitchell, Former Deputy-in-Chief Editor “I joined Grok because I wanted to write about economics. At the moment [economics] has a bit of an image problem partly because many people don't know what it is, so I wanted to bridge that gap—I wanted to show students that economics is empowering. I love writing for this magazine, but it's so much more than that. Grok is the family I never knew I wanted, each writer contributes a unique perspective—there is so much diversity of thought—and being a part of that is privilege.” —Amber Joy Weir, Former Economics Subeditor “I won’t mince my words: the impending doom of post-graduation made me concerned about the state of my CV, so I joined Grok for the experience and planned to put in a few months at most. But it’s been nearly two years because, not only was I unprepared for the passion I would develop for writing, editing and curating content for students, I was also sucker-punched by the sheer joy I would gain from collaborating with a bunch of groovy students. I will never be able to express enough how grateful I am for everything I have gained from Grok.” —Jay Anderson, Former Chief Editor
WHAT IS PILL TESTING , WHO SUPPORTS AND OPPOSES IT, AND WHERE DOES WA STAND? Words: Isabella Clarke Design Evelyn Swindale
Since September there have been five deaths from suspected drug overdoses at NSW music festivals. Each time Australia sees another young person die, debate on the solution to this problem is reignited. It circulates the media for a bit, is the subject of a couple of political addresses, and then fades away... until another death. Since illicit drugs are unregulated, there is usually no real way to tell what you have actually been sold. Many drugs are cut with other substances known as ‘fillers’ which can range from antihistamines to toothpaste — something which makes the composition of the drug, and therefore its effects, unknown. Pill testing is a harm reduction measure which tests a sample of a drug to determine its chemical makeup, aiming to minimise the uncertainty. Australia’s first festival pill testing trial took place in April last year at the Canberra leg of Groovin’ the Moo (GTM). The testing was run by the STA-SAFE consortium; an independent group made up of the Australian Drug Observatory and a number of harm reduction advocates and health organisations. The report on the GTM trial, published in June last year, revealed that out of 83 samples tested, two of them turned out to be deadly. In one of these, the dangerous and rare substance N-Ethylpentyone was detected, providing valuable information to authorities who were alerted to its presence in the territory.
The report also stated that after the pill testing process, an estimated 19 per cent of participants chose to discard their drugs. 18 per cent said they would no longer use any illicit drugs, and 12 per cent said they would modify and use less. Shelly Smith is the campaign and policy coordinator at Noffs Foundation, a drug and alcohol rehab organisation for young people, and a part of the STASAFE consortium. She said that getting the trial up and running took ten years of campaigning. “In the ACT we actually worked really closely with government and law enforcement, and both of those bodies were really supportive, so that was a huge advantage for us. So we had all of the external stakeholders – the government, law enforcement and festival promoters,” she said. ACT Health Minister, Meegan Fitzharris, saw pill testing not as condoning the use of illicit drugs, but as an opportunity to educate users about the health risks and give a final discouragement. The University of Canberra, the festival site, as well as GTM’s organisers, medical services, and the ACT police, all supported the trial.
If we look beyond the politics, there is real action happening at a grassroots level in the community. Early this year Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia (SSDP), also part of the STA-SAFE consortium, launched its ‘Be Heard Not Harmed’ campaign—a national, youth-led movement for the implementation of pill testing services. A WA branch of SSDP kicked off last year out of ECU and are building towards introducing harm reduction strategies at festivals over here. The group have already begun consulting with a major rural festival in the state (its name is not being disclosed at this stage) which requested their assistance for a ‘trip sitting’ or ‘chill out zone,’ to provide a safe, educational and friendly space for festival goers, run by peers. Vice President of SSDP ECU Becky Black said, “There’s nothing worse than no education around it, and I think that’s what we’re aiming towards the most, is just getting that education out there, because I think it is inevitable that people will choose to do drugs.”
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Being pretty much the hub of Aussie music festivals over the summer, NSW has all attention focused on whether it will introduce its own pill testing trials following the lead of the ACT. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is holding her steadfast position against the idea. Following the two drugrelated deaths at the Defqon.1 festival in September, the Premier vowed to ban the festival from the state and convened an expert panel to advise the government on the issue. Based on their recommendation, tough
licensing regulations have now been introduced for festival organisers. However, arguments are arising that this is becoming too restrictive. NSW Police Minister Troy Grant stands with the Premier, writing an article for the Sydney Morning Herald in which he said, “I certainly can’t support a program that sends a message that taking illegal drugs is somehow OK.” Emergency medical specialist Dr David Caldicott, who is a pioneer of pill testing in Australia, disagreed, saying: “You will not be told at any stage that your drug is safe.”
On ABC’s Q&A programme, Dr Caldicott stressed that a major part of the pill testing process is not the results themselves, but the discussion of these results between the user and a drug and alcohol counsellor. “This is the safety net,” he said. “This is the last chance that a potential consumer of a drug has before consuming that drug.”
"THIS IS THE LAST CHANCE THAT A POTENTIAL CONSUMER OF A DRUG HAS BEFORE CONSUMING THAT DRUG"
Australia’s second pill testing trial is set to take place this year once again at Canberra’s Groovin’ the Moo.
In April 2018 Triple J’s Hack conducted a ‘Census for Young People’ involving 11, 000 participants. Regarding drug use, 55 per cent said they had previously taken drugs into a music festival, and 83 per cent said they would use pill testing if it were available.
In announcing the second trial, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said, “Governments have a responsibility to not only try and prevent drug use but also to support initiatives that reduce the harms associated with drug use.”
Pill testing also has the backing of the majority of health organisations around Australia, such as the Australian Medical Association and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Ms Smith believes “[i]t’s only a matter of time before this spreads to other states once governments and law enforcement can see that it actually can work and that it does make a difference, a positive difference.”
So will WA be trialling pill testing anytime soon? Police Minister Michelle Roberts said that “pill testing is not something on the Government’s agenda... The State Government has a comprehensive response to drug use throughout our community, which involves reducing the demand, supply and harm of drugs.”
LO C YO U A K N OW
CA L AC T S SH O U L D A L R E A DY W A BO U T Words: Danica Spear Design Jamie Simcock
S PAC E Y JAN E Fremantle four-piece Spacey Jane is the quintessential garage rock band you need in your life. After making their way into the Perth music scene in 2016, followed by singles Still Running and Feeding the Family being released in 2017, Spacey Jane have quickly proven themselves to be an unstoppable force. The band went on to release their first EP No Way to Treat an Animal in the same year, followed by the release of a double A-side, In the Slight, in 2018. With contagiously energetic performances, gritty guitar riffs and catchy lyrics, there’s absolutely no doubt about how these indie rockers have made their way to sold out shows and a national tour. Sharing the stage with the likes of Nothing But Thieves, Alex Lahey and The Stems, not to mention multiple festival appearances, their electric performance abilities haven’t gone unnoticed. Comprising of Kieran, Meils, Caleb and Ashton, Spacey Jane is consistently making the kind of music that you can’t help but dance and sing along to.
GREAT GABLE If this is your first time hearing the name Great Gable, then you must have been living under a rock for the past few years. The alternative indie-rock band consisting of Alex, Matt, Callum and Chris, began releasing music in 2016, with their first single Only for You and a self-titled EP, GG. Great Gable then went on to release a second EP in 2017, titled Modern Interactions, as well as
some killer singles over the previous few years. Originally hailing from South West of WA, the band has made their way from small local gigs to international tours, heading to New Zealand later this year. Attending a packed out Great Gable show is an unforgettable experience, and their smooth, beachy vibe will leave you wanting more.
MAL DE MER With a funky, indie-pop sound that you can’t help but groove to, Mal de Mer is making waves in the local music scene (with their name translating to ‘sea sickness’, this is to no surprise). After releasing their first single Wet Socks in 2018, the band comprising of Saskia, Claudia, John, Emma and Regan,
have become steady performers around Perth. While we can only hope that an EP is on the horizon, listeners can indulge in their latest single Sunshine and Thunder in the meantime. Be sure to check out this funky ensemble live to witness their dynamic stage presence and unquestionable talent.
JACK DAVIES AND TH E BUSH CHOOKS Hailing from Fremantle, indie folk songwriter Jack Davies has a knack for telling stories and entwining them in beautiful melodies. His folk style is both charming and reminiscent. Whilst Davies initially performed solo, the addition of The Bush Chooks was warmly welcomed, with the group releasing its first single, Vegemite Sandwich, in 2018. Be sure to check out their latest single Rosemary Mushrooms; with intricate, wistful lyrics and a melancholic tune, it will make you wish you got into folk music sooner.
J.F.K There’s no question about how six-piece garage rock band J.F.K have taken the West Coast by storm. Anyone who’s witnessed J.F.K play can attest to the fact that their lively stage presence is unbeatable. With effortless, energetic dance moves, lead singer James Knox oozes a type of cool and confidence that crowds can’t help but attempt to replicate. Musicians Conor, Rob, Tim, Alex
and Anthony make up the rest of this larger-than-life band. Following the release of their debut EP, Stages, in 2017, the band has skyrocketed. Their politically charged song A Boy and a Boy, earned the band the 2017/18 WAM Rock Song of the Year award, and their 2018 EP, IT, is filled with some killer tracks that’ll have you lining up to be at one of their live gigs.
CARLA GENEVE Carla Geneve is an Albany born singer-songwriter, producing alt-rock music with a folk influence. After being announced as one of Pilerats’ ‘18 Artists to Watch in 2018,’ Geneve released her debut single Greg’s Discount Chemist. This long-awaited release was met with an overwhelming response, which led her to become a Triple J Unearthed Feature Artist in 2018. She’s since released two other singles, Listening, and most recently 2001, which have further cemented her role as one of Perth’s top acts.
AIRLINE FOOD So, what’s the deal with Airline Food? Jack, Tom, Sean, and (another) Jack, are making the indie psychpop music of your dreams. Producing a mix between ‘60s psych rock and ‘80s synth pop, Airline Food has created a dreamy sound that’ll leave you in a trance. After releasing their first EP, Sunscreen Dream, in 2016,
the band has gone on to release a tonne of impressive tracks, taking influence from artists such as Mac de Marco, Tame Impala and Homeshake. Their latest EP release, Fragments in Green is the psych/jazz inspired music that’s currently missing from your life.
Oh, 2009. It’s hard to think that the time of MySpace, emo haircuts, and Hannah Montana, is actually a part of history now. For a bit of a nostalgia trip, we’re looking at some of the best songs of the 2009 alternative music scene—ten years on.
Words: Kenith Png Design Hayley Thoms
D OG DAYS A R E OVE R : FLORENCE + THE MACHINE Hailing from their debut album Lungs, signature track Dog Days Are Over still gets played a decade after its initial release. The album was written about a breakup, containing cosmic metaphors and what frontwoman Florence Welch described as “big, tribal goth pop”. Welch told Mojo magazine that the song was influenced by a text installation of the same title in South London by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. “It’s a reference to the dog star, Sirius: when it was closest to the Earth, all the animals would get languid and sleepy; when it moved away, they’d wake up,” she said.
T H E O N LY EXC E PT ION: PA R A M O RE Nashville group Paramore was one of the punk-rock heavy hitters of the 2000s, well-known for head-banging songs about teen angst and relationships. Well-received by fans, The Only Exception was a complete change from their usual overdriven rock sound, delivered in the form of an acoustic song wellfit for a campfire, with the familiarity of frontwoman Hayley Williams’ powerful voice. It was a song Williams wrote about her fear of love and, conversely, the hope of a special lover.
CRYI N G LI GHTN I NG: ARCT IC M ON KEYS Before the emergence of the slicked back Monkeys the world would love in AM, the band displayed a darker and more creative sound in the album Humbug. Less straightforward than the nightclub scenes of their previous tracks, Crying Lightning showed Alex Turner developing a more personal narrative approach to songwriting, which is evident throughout the whole album. The Turner-penned lines constructed a cynical approach to a strange girl, with the song’s title likely referring to the imagery of running mascara.
19 01 : PH O E NI X During the same year that Jay-Z released Death of Autotune, French indie-pop group Phoenix released Grammy-winning album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The track ironically featured heavy use of vocal effects like autotune, chiming guitar, and had a large synth presence. The album's most popular song was 1901, which topped at number one on the Alternative Billboard Charts. The song, as frontman Thomas Mars told Spin Magazine in 2009, was an upbeat track about a romanticised time. “Paris in 1901 was better than it is now, so the song is a fantasy about Paris,” he said.
YOU'VE CH ANGED : SIA Moving away from her mid-‘90s R&B roots, singersongwriter Sia released up-tempo pop single You’ve Changed as part of the album We Are Born. The song is about a lady killer who has literally “changed for the better”. It was released during a time when Sia was still comfortable in the spotlight, working behind-the-scenes as a writer for Christina Aguilera. A bit different from the Sia we know today, who wears face-covering wigs during live performances, and doesn’t get recognised in public.
SH O OTI N G STAR : B AG R A I D ER S In 2009, the Sydney production duo released a song that was fairly popular, reaching number 18 on Triple J’s Hottest 100. It was influenced by 2000’s R&B, like Rihanna’s Umbrella and featured an appropriation of the mosquito-esque lead of Ciara’s Goodies. The song became an international sensation in 2017, after YouTube user All Ski Casino posted a video of a man nose-diving off a bridge amid cosmic backdrops, culminating at the song’s drop. The aftermath of this video saw people all over the internet reproduce clips of a similar manner on a massive scale, and the song shot to a new-found relevance.
BULLETPROOF: L A ROUX Synth-pop duo La Roux released this hit as part of their debut self-titled album. Peaking at number one in the Billboard charts, the song became a staple of the 2009 electronic music scene. Speaking about the song, singer Elly Jackson said, “it’s a relationship song about being fed up”. In 2018, Jackson protested when US television channel Fox Business used the song while reporting on bulletproof backpacks. “I have never, and would never approve my music to be used in this way”.
PARLEZ VOUS FRANCAIS?: ART VS SCIENCE Sydney electro-rock group Art vs. Science released one of the best Australian dance tracks of 2009 with Parlez Vous Francais? from their debut EP. The premise of the assertively groove-driven tune is essentially: “if you speak French, then take off your shirt”. Well-loved by Australia, this high-energy track scored runner-up in Triple J’s Hottest 100. Art vs. Science later won an ARIA Award in 2011 for their debut album The Experiment.
COI N L AUND RY: LISA M ITCHELL Coin Laundry was a laid-back folk-pop track, extremely fitting for the soft style of Aussie singer-songwriter Lisa Mitchell. It was part of her debut album Wonder, which debuted at number six on the ARIA Album Charts. Written in a South Melbourne launderette, this song unveils a fictional romantic exchange between two people in a less-than-romantic location. It also cracked Triple J’s Hottest 100 at number seven.
LI T T L E L I ON MAN: M U MFO R D AND S ONS This song won Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2009. The first single released by the UK group from their debut album, Sigh No More, is an acoustic folky track with the aggression of a messy breakup. Little Lion Man is solemn, reflective, and cathartic expression of a less-than-perfect time. It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song.
WHY WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT
BLINDSPOTTING THE SHOULDâ€™VE-BEEN AWARDS SMASH MOVIE
Words: Daniel Patterson Design: Scott Higginbotham
BLINDSPOTTING HAS BEEN SEARED INTO MY BRAIN SINCE I FIRST WATCHED IT. ITS MOST LIKELY A 2018 RELEASE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN, OR EVEN HEARD OF, BUT IT’S A LOT MORE THAN A MOVIE; IT SHINES A LIGHT UPON NUMEROUS SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES, DELVING INTO EACH THEMATIC BEAT WITH THE IMPORTANCE AND POTENCY IT DESERVES.
THIS IS WH Y W E NEED TO TALK A BO UT BL I NDSPOTTI NG WHAT ON EARTH DOES BLINDSPOTTING MEAN?
WHY OAKLAND IS A CHARACTER IN ITSELF
No, it’s not trying to be a reference to Danny Boyle’s 1996 classic Trainspotting. It is in fact a reference to the famous optical illusion Rubin’s Vase. When you look at Rubin’s Vase, what do you see first? Is it two faces, or a vase? It all depends on perspective.
Oakland is one of the most ethnically-diverse major cities in America. The screenplay for this movie was written by the film’s two leads Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal over a period of ten years, incorporating real issues from their lives and the city of Oakland. They wanted to show Oakland in a more authentic way than they had seen in other films. As Oakland is one of the most ethnically-diverse cities in the whole country, Miles doesn’t fit in as a white man the way he would in so many other places in America. He is the one who feels the need to fit in more than Collin does, otherwise he believes he’ll be singled out by those around him. It’s such an interesting idea, yet if you think this film focuses primarily on the white protagonist, you’d be wrong. We see throughout the film that Collin just wants to make it through his probation, but Miles’s actions and short-temper puts him in danger, as it often has done throughout his life. This is where the title of the film comes into play.
The term ‘Blindspotting’ is defined by notable reliable source Urban Dictionary as “when a situation or an image can be interpreted in two different ways, but you can only see one of the interpretations”. Once again, it depends on perspective. But we’ll get back to that later.
WHAT’S THE STORY? We follow Collin Hoskins—a parolee with only three days left of his sentence—and Miles, his short-tempered best friend. They’ve been friends since childhood, living in Oakland, California their whole lives. When Collin witnesses a racially-charged police shooting he starts to question everything around him, including his safety as an African-American, and his closest relationships.
THE BLINDSPOT Blindspotting—the term and the film itself—is all about perspective. Who Miles seen as: A cultural appropriator A man who’s trying to fit in A father Collin sees Miles as a father who cares for his young child and someone who has tried desperately to fit in, but when they go to a work party at a large Oakland mansion, he’s seen as a culture-vulture, whose desire to fit in with traditional African-American culture seems blatantly obvious. Miles’s anger erupts to the surface when he sees the same Oakland tattoo he has on the party host’s neck, despite him only having just moved to the city. He’s shown as the stereotypical hipster who doesn’t appreciate Oakland for the place it really is, leading us to another one of the film’s main themes: gentrification. This is defined as “the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste”. Miles feels like his city is being stripped of its culture and identity due to the influx
of upper middle class, mainly white citizens, and feels his identity is being eroded. His conforming to AfricanAmerican culture throughout his life through language choices and stylistic look—which includes golden grills and chains—is seen as merely desperate, despite new Oakland citizens having no awareness or understanding of the struggle he has faced to fit in his whole life. I’m not done with gentrification, but I want to talk about gun usage first, as it provides one of the most gut-wrenching moments in the film. While at home, Miles’s son Sean picks up a loaded gun that Miles had recently bought. The terror on his face shows us why gun usage is an incredibly dangerous thing. It may be seen as the norm, but seeing a young child hold such a dangerous weapon as if it’s a toy is a harrowing sight. Along with that, Collin teaches Sean how to react if a policeman holds him up with a gun. They do that with a smile on their faces, Collin not knowing that he will soon be a victim of such harassment. Who Collin seen as: A felon and thug A wise-headed friend Miles does not come forward after seeing the murder of a fellow African-American at the hands of a police
officer. This results in him having vivid visions of men in hoodies in a park, along with a nightmare of Collin in court, where the jury is made up of hooded men and Miles is the prosecutor. During a virtuoso rap Miles says, “stop being those you are not,” connecting to his arc. While Collin is the person who went to jail, this was as a direct result of Miles’s hot-headed nature. Miles sees him as a wise best friend who he looks up to, but in a tense sequence with a cop car stalking Collin, he is seen simply as an African-American walking around alone at night, who is nothing but a danger and a hazard. They’re completely unaware of his fractured and frightened interior.
WHY GENTRIFICTION ISN’T THE BEST THING In 1980, African Americans made up nearly 50 per cent of Oakland’s population. In 2010, that figure was at 28 per cent. It has been said that by 2030, if trends continue, that Oakland's African American population could fall to as few as 70,000 people, making up only 16 per cent of its population. Gentrification allows for housing and new developments to conform to traditional middle-class taste which in turn drives up prices and results in heavy displacement,
often among African Americans. This not only results in displacement, but it creates a change of culture which has been created over many decades. In what might be considered a little-known fact, Oakland was home to a jazz and blues scene in the 1950s akin to what Harlem was for the east. While making a neighbourhood conform to middle-class tastes may seem decent on a tiny glance, a 2016 report by Urban Habitat found a damning revelation that between 2000 and 2014, the shift in the African American population from the inner to outer Bay Area resulted in an increase in poverty. While there has been movement in recent years to strengthen renter protections in Oakland along with other Bay Area neighbourhoods, where a Tenant Protection Ordinance prohibiting landlords from harassing tenants was passed, more still needs to be done to make sure African Americans have homes without being forced out of them, and as Blindspotting touches on, the culture of its previous majority is preserved. While Blindspotting may not have got the awards love I think it deserved, there’s no doubt that it deserves your attention and awareness. And more importantly, it speaks to the issues far too many ignore in the US, the ones we know about all too much.
FILM & ART
D ISNE Y OG S GET A NEW FACE
Words: Kellie Balaam Design Willow Springate
Once upon a time, there were two little sisters snuggled up on the couch in front of a poxy, black box that was known as a television, bubbling with excitement to gobble down sweet and salty popcorn while they waited for The Little Mermaid to begin. Fast forward to present day, and movie night no longer consists of rewinding the VHS tape or wiping the DVD clean—kids can watch movies almost anywhere, anytime. And with the rest of the world going digital, Disney is too. According to NT News, the company has announced they will be closing their ‘movie vault’ for good, and by the end of next year, the streaming platform ‘Disney +’ will be the only place to watch the OGs.
But this isn’t the only thing changing for Disney. New and improved film production techniques have created the potential for iconic Disney characters and their fantasy worlds to come alive again. We’ve already seen successful live action film remakes, such as Alice in Wonderland (2010), The Jungle Book (2016) and Beauty and the Beast (2017)—and there’s a lot more to come from Walt Disney Pictures.
Let’s sneak a peek at what will be hitting the big screen.
ALADDIN Thirty-one animated feature films later, we come to one of my all-time favs: Aladdin. Released in 1992, it was the most successful film of the year, and was the first Disney movie to win a Grammy Award for best song. From Robin Williams’ amazing vocal talent and Aladdin’s mischievously handsome looks, to the Arabian adventures had with the equally mischievous furry pal Abu—the upcoming remake has some big boots to fill. So, can we expect more flying magic carpet action and iconic songs in the remake?
But there’s more. In an article by Independent from January 2018, Disney was accused of painting white actors brown so they would ‘blend in’, resulting in outrage that has supposedly disgraced the film industry. Disney responded with a statement saying that this cast is the most diverse they have ever assembled. Putting all conflicts aside, Guy Ritchie is the director, with the rest of the title cast composed of Mena Massoud as Aladdin, Will Smith as the Genie and Marwan Kenzari as Jafar.
"THE UPCOMING REMAKE HAS SOME BIG BOOTS TO FILL" Despite the plot to be told as a non-linear narrative, original song writer, Alan Menken, will reprise his role and co-write new songs with the La La Land songwriters. With a mix of new songs as well as the old-time favourites, this film is sure to be a hit, right? Well, since 2017, Disney has experienced a lot of hate, with some sparking accusations that the film is ‘whitewashing’: a casting practice where white actors are cast in character roles that are originally scripted for non-white characters. Naomi Scott is an English, half-Indian actress who is playing Princess Jasmine and according to Inquisitr in July 2017, people are angry because Scott is not of Arabian descent.
Cringe worthy or a total diamond in the rough, let’s hope the sense of adventure and danger remains true to the original!
THE LION KING Get ready for a whole lot of Simba cuteness as this live-action remake looks to be exactly what Disney fans have asked for. The Lion King premiered in 1994 and was the first Disney animated feature to be an original story. The soundtrack to this film is no doubt one of the best. Elton John co-wrote the iconic songs “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Hakuna Matata”, scoring two Academy Awards. Set in the African savannah, native Swahili language is embedded into the songs and the characters’ names. Did you know Simba means lion? Pumbaa and Rafiki also translate to ‘foolish’ and ‘friend’ respectively.
The original really raised the bar for animated films. To put this into perspective, the wildebeest stampede used the most cutting-edge CGI of the time, and even required special coding before being put into the film. With never attempted narration and camera techniques now in the past, Disney is at a new level, incorporating photorealistic CGI and cinematography tech at a greater degree than was seen in the 2016 film, The Jungle Book.
" E X A C T LY W H AT DISNEY FANS HAVE ASKED FOR" The live-action remake is set to arrive in cinemas on July 19 this year, under the direction of Jon Favreau, and featuring a star-studded voice cast. Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) is Simba, Seth Rogen takes on Pumbaa, Beyoncé will voice Nala and James Earl Jones is Mufasa. This adapted cherished Disney classic just got real (cue the tears).
MULAN Released in 1998, Mulan is based on a Chinese legend dating back to the fifth century. Hua Mulan, meaning ‘magnolia’, was a warrior who disguised herself as a man so she could take her elderly father’s spot in the army. Traditionally, the tale was passed through generations orally, so it is hard to find historical written evidence that Mulan and her story existed. However, many people believe she was a real woman and it is still a beloved folk tale in Chinese culture. During the development stage the creative team was sent to China for three weeks to soak up inspiration. The animators and designers took an approach different to the previous Disney films, as they were influenced by Ancient Chinese watercolour paintings, achieving the film’s harmonious visual appearance.
Since a few Disney films have already been accused of ‘whitewashing’, an online petition ‘Tell Disney You Don’t Want A Whitewashed Mulan!’ was made and received more than 10 thousand signatures. Undergoing a global search, more than enough candidates were found. Fitting the criteria of credible martial arts skills, clear English and star quality, the cast was finalised with Liu Yifei in the role of Mulan, alongside Donnie Yen, Jason Scott Lee and Tzi Ma in supporting roles. Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeeper’s Wife) is the director and is the second female to direct a Disney film with a budget over 100 million dollars. Caro told Moviefone in 2017, “It’s a big, girly, martial arts epic. It will be extremely muscular, thrilling, entertaining and moving!”
"MUSCULAR, THRILLING, ENTERTAINING AND MOVING!" With filming for the live-action remake wrapping up late last year, the scheduled release date is March 27, 2020. It is expected to follow the plot of the original and include new and adapted characters. Mulan’s sexy boyfriend Li Shang is being replaced (*sigh*) and Mulan gets a sister (*gasp*).
Words// Mitch Bennett Pics// Ophelia Roberts
NON-VIOLENCE IN VIDEO GAMES Words: Max Vos Design: Winnie Foss
YO U K N OW W H AT ’ S W R O N G W I T H S K Y R I M T H ES E DAYS ? E V E RYO N E I S O B S ES S E D WITH DEATH. Everybody has heard the age-old argument claiming that video game violence causes (or can be strongly linked to) violence in the real world and, while they may be mistaken about that connection, they aren’t wrong when they say that many video games are violent, or feature combative play styles across the board. The YouTuber Jonathan McIntosh (AKA “Pop Culture Detective”) found when researching for a recent video titled ‘The Unfulfilled Potential of Video Games’, that 82 per cent of games shown at E3 last year were combat-focused, or had combat as a central mechanic that other mechanics supported. In this way, even tame role-playing games like Breath of the Wild were understood as combatfocused, as the other aspects (cooking, exploring, gathering) supported armour and weapon upgrades, and missions usually focussed on combat of some kind. However, there is an increasing trend of non-violence in video games, where players are being given options other than combative interactions. Sometimes the more interesting question video game violence (or lack thereof ) can pose is “what would you do, given the situation and a choice?”
Kill or be Killed? A lot of video games are being made nowadays that feel more like novels and are focused on the phenomenal narrative potential that interactive mediums have. Games such as What Remains of Edith Finch, Firewatch, Journey and Tacoma are examples of thoroughly entertaining and innovative games that tell a fantastic story without the draw of “you get to shoot stuff”. If you still like violence in your games, then there are plenty of survival horror games out there with no combat mechanics—see the Outlast series, Soma and classics like Amnesia—a clever play on the horror genre that removes a player’s autonomy for some great scares. Other games have become renowned (or at least popularised) for their ability to tell a story wherein the player has a choice between violent or non-violent paths; games like Undertale and its successor Deltarune, and Detroit: Become Human are examples of these. Non-violent paths in video games have become popular, giving the player agency in how conflict is resolved and the story progresses.
Politics and Peace One of the most important things to know about non-violence in the real world is that it isn’t simply a refusal to fight. Non-violent direct action and resistance always have a key goal in mind which typically seeks to demonstrate the unmeasured and immoral violence or rules of oppressors and powerful rulers. Political non-violence takes plenty of different forms, including symbolic acts, civil disobedience, non-cooperation, strikes and so on. At its core, non-violent philosophy is concerned with three main ideas, writes Howard Ryan in the book Critique of Non-violent Politics: From Mahatma Gandhi to the Anti-Nuclear Movement: opposition to violence; opposition to all forms of oppression, including capitalism, sexism, racism and so on (classified as social violence); and certain philosophies of human relations. The philosophies of human relations involve the beliefs that reconciliation and persuasion are more effective and permanent in resolving conflict than force; means are inseparable from ends and that the “power of rulers depends on the obedience and consent of the ruled”. Many theorists on political philosophy believe non-violence to be ineffective and unrealistic and, as Stokely Carmichael puts it: “In order for non-violence to work, your opponent must have a conscience”. Fighting an enemy who doesn’t care about the violence they cause through non-violent action is not going to work. If we’re going to look at the cores of non-violent theory, then we must turn to Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace and somebody Gandhi called a “guide”. Tolstoy believed in “non-resistance to evil” (that it could not be resisted with evil/violent means) writes Abdusalam Guseinov for Philosophy Now, and which was “by no means a passive or escapist measure to cope with evil [...] but is quite a positive or aggressive position”, writes Tetsuo Mochizuki in Non-violence by Tolstoy & Gandhi: Toward a Comparison through Criticism. So how do video games deal with such morally complex philosophical/political questions?
Easy Street The choice between violent and non-violent paths, in video games and in real life, have consequences, and the ways games deal in these endings tell you what you need to know about their position on both sides. At the end of the aptly-named “pacifist” route in Undertale, where you talk yourself out of every attack and never cause injury or harm to NPCs, you are told by the character Asriel that “not everything can be resolved by just being nice [...] don’t kill, and don’t be killed, alright? That’s the best you can strive for”. The game also punishes players who are committed to the “genocide” route with phenomenally difficult boss battles. Certainly, this idea is echoed in the critiques of non-violence practice. Undertale acknowledges that nonviolence in practice is not always the solution, and other games take a less nuanced approach to this subject. Detroit: Become Human is David Cage’s latest game, and (if you’re familiar with Cage’s work) it’s about as subtle a commentary on violence and activism as Pepsi’s dreaded ad. The only way to get the true good ending and keep all the characters alive is to choose pacifist protest during several points in the game.
In an interview with The Verge, Cage said that he was interested in telling a story where the androids “were the good guys, and maybe we [humans] are the bad guys”. Despite the overtones of civil rights and racial conflict in America—it’s set in Detroit for god’s sake, and has androids piling in at the back of the bus and being identifiable through triangle emblems and armbands—Cage told Kotaku that his game was still primarily about androids. It feels like we can contest the death of the author on this one: at one point, one of the androids remarks “violence is the only language that humans understand”, and the game gives you multiple opportunities to take violent action towards the emancipation of your fellow robots. Clearly, it’s about the roles of (non)violence in revolution. So not only does Become Human get confused in its message, it also confuses the choice between violence and nonviolence as a simple one. Non-violence obviously isn’t easy, and some games understand that better than others.
"T RAV E L IN G TO K N OW N DA N G E RO U S P L AC E S FO R REC RE AT IO N A L P U R P OS E S "
IS IT OKAY TO HOLIDAY
I N N O RT H KO R E A ? An eth ical dil e mma CHINA
Words: Tayla Hammond Design: Hayley Thoms
NORTH KOREA SOUT H KOREA
The process of getting into the world’s most isolated dictatorship is simple; you obtain a tourist visa into the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by making a booking with a state-authorized tour group two weeks in advance. This can be done at any North Korean consulate, none of which exist in Australia. Your best bet then is to buy a ticket to Beijing, where most trips to North Korea are routed through. Upon arriving in the country, you are required to register your entrance within 24-hours to government authorities. If you do not do so, you are likely to be detained and held for questioning. If you do, you will be led around the country, with no room for independent travel. All media materials will be monitored, and stealing propaganda posters can lead you, like Otto Warmbier, to be sent home in a coffin with sudden brain damage. The appeal of travelling to places of historical tragedy can be understood. Travellers can cement these places of historical horror into personal memory, ponder over how civilization could stoop so low, and hope such mistakes will not be repeated in the future. We can, therefore, rationalize this somewhat irrational behaviour—the desire to travel to places where large populations have been murdered, tortured and suffered. In the same way, similar conclusions may have been reached by those questioning the motives of tourists in North Korea. Overlooked is the fact of whether we should be travelling to such places at all, for the sake of all those involved. We put our lives at risk, fund a regime which has threatened to start the contemporary Cuban Missile Crisis, to satisfy our own morbid curiosity. How and when do we choose to travel?
THE ETHICAL DILEMMA OF TO U R I S M : DA R K TO U R I S M & EXPLO I TATI ON
by German-linguist Peter Hohenhaus and was a sideproject after leaving academia. Each link leads to a description of personal experiences and what made it a location significant enough to be included.
According to the UNWTO 2018 report on tourism, it is currently one of the leading industries in today’s current global economy, making up 10% of the world's GDP. Offering countries with no natural resources a viable industry, as carefully monitored global tourism can be an opportunity to help sustain local communities.
“If you get a weird kick out of socialist realism monumentality and cult-of-personality excesses, then North Korea will be your El Dorado. If not, you'll get much less out of travelling to the DPRK,” Hohenhaus said.
When left unchecked, whole industries can run on the exploitation of vulnerable locals—such as the global sex tourism industry—and can be set up to the detriment of local populations. Tourism can also aggravate already fragile political situations. Al Jazeera reported in Palestine, tour companies Trivago and Expedia led hordes of tourists into occupied West Bank proclaiming it as Israeli territory. Some tours take travellers to the world's most grizzly places associated with death and war. This is known as dark tourism. Dark-tousim.com is a website which lists over 900 locations in 112 nations considered ‘dark tourist destinations’. This comprehensive taxonomy is run
Hohenhaus rejects the idea of dark tourism as psychologically deviant and makes a distinction between dark tourism and danger tourism (more commonly known as war or disaster tourism) in which travellers intentionally travel to places known to be dangerous due to social, political or environmental turmoil for recreational purposes. The distinction is ‘no one is put in harm's way’, and proposes the carbon footprint created through air travel is more of an ethical conundrum. This wealth of information provides a realization that maybe it is not what is ‘ethically correct’ that is important but knowing enough information about what we are about to undertake beforehand, to see it in a sober, non-judgemental manner.
A FRAMEWORK FOR ETHICAL DECISION MAKING To make our lives easier (and more ethical), the Markkula Centre of Applied Ethics created the app Decision to guide the technological generation in ethical decisionmaking. It takes users through a five-step process which question the utility, rights, justice, common good and virtue of a specific decision. Making ethical decisions whilst travelling is not about being correct all the time, or holding an encyclopedia of cultural knowledge in your memory. In fact, the Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics rejects the idea that ethical decisions are based on behaving in culturally-appropriate ways because often cultures do not provide ethical options. Instead, they are based on the standards which we apply to specific situations. One of the first questions asked is "What are the facts of the case?", "What is unknown?" and "Do I have enough information to decide?" Matt Reichel, a co-founder of the Inertia network, a tourism company which offers experiences in destinations off the beaten track, wrote of his experience as a tour organizer in North Korea. “How is the money spent? Well, just like in any other country, tourist dollars go to hotels, restaurants, museums, and activities. Each location you visit as a tourist earns a piece of your tour fee, as the operators must pay them for each visit,” wrote Reichel. People’s initial conceptions about North Korea often show a sensationalist portrayal, which isn’t to say there is no truth in parts of the stories told or to throw caution to the wind. The money used in these travel transactions is used in a predictably mundane way: operational costs and wages. But what about the staged actors posing as everyday citizens? “Mostly untrue. Major tourist sites and monuments are extremely sterile and wellorganized, as they honour the State Ideology and Leadership, and are pilgrimage locations for local people. There are strict scripts presented by local guides at these locations for visitors to hear the State’s version of their importance, and again, these are more targeted at local visitors than foreign tourists.”
SO, IS IT ETHICAL TO BE A TOURIST IN THE WORLD'S MOST ISOLATED DICTATORSHIP? Ignorance and the joy of learning something new is part of the reason we travel. To learn something new, different from ourselves yet warmly alike. It has never been a clear line of exchange, in which both parties leave smiling and sterile. It is awkward, fumbling questions into Google Translate, or hoping a smile and nod is a sufficient response to the waiterâ€™s question. North Korea is a nation which has a unique situation and the decision a traveller comes to should be personal.
WOM E N LESS R ETIRE WITH
MON E Y
Words: Amber Weir Design: Sherlyn Chang
On average, when a woman retires, she will have lower savings than her male counterpart. This is largely because she will contribute less to her super fund over her working life, not because she wants to, but because statistically speaking, she gets paid less. I’m not talking about less money for the same work—that’s illegal—but about the gender pay gap. The gender pay gap is the difference between the average weekly full-time earnings of men and women. Australia’s gender pay gap currently sits around 21.3 per cent, with men on average taking home $25,717 a year more than women. In Western Australia it’s even worse; at 23.1 per cent, it is the state with the largest pay gap. While these figures are astonishing in themselves, lower wages will impact women over their life-time in many ways, especially when it comes to retirement.
LOWER LEVELS OF SUPERANNUATION According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, Australian women overwhelmingly work in low-paid part-time jobs. With more time out of the workforce and higher rates of part-time work—predominantly due to having children—women often retire with far less superannuation. In 2015-16, the difference in superannuation between men and women was 38.8 per cent, with the average man’s superannuation balance being double the average woman’s—a difference of around $43,354 (WGEA). This is known as the Superannuation Gap.
RETIREMENT SAVINGS AND TH E S UPERANNUATION GUARANTEE An individual’s retirement income (super) can come from three sources: voluntary savings, the Age Pension, and mandatory employer contributions under the Superannuation Guarantee. A recent study published in the Journal of Feminist Economics, titled ‘Why Women Have Lower Retirement Savings: The Australian Case’, examined how different levels and patterns of super contributions lead to the superannuation gap
Superannuation Account Balances By Age And Gender Age 25 to 29
30 to 34
35 to 39
40 to 44
45 to 49
50 to 54
55 to 59
60 to 64
They listed two main factors:
W H Y DOES IT OCCUR?
Because contributions are tied to wages, women save less (because of typically lower wages).
Women will typically leave the work force to have children; while out of the work force, no super contributions are made and when she returns (typically part-time) her contributions will be less than before.
Retirement income is based on the amount saved on the individual’s behalf—plus interest—over a lifetime of paid work. This means that women’s disadvantages in the labour market (i.e. part-time work, lower paid roles and disrupted careers) are reflected in the amount of retirement savings they have.
Since 1992, Australia has had compulsory employmentbased retirement savings (the third source of retirement income). If you’ve ever had a job, you would have nominated a fund or let your employer choose one, into which they pay a certain fraction of the money you earn while employed there. Currently, for employees earning over AUD$450 per month, employers must contribute 9.5 per cent of salary. These superannuation savings are preserved, and are accessible from age 60 without tax, once retired. The proportion of people without superannuation has been decreasing; but men are more likely than women to have superannuation coverage. In 2013–14 about 75 per cent of women between 15–64 years had superannuation coverage, while men in the same age group had 80 per cent.
In their study, Feng et al. (2019) noted that the gender gap in superannuation savings is observable from early in a person’s career and it gets worse over time. An insight paper published by the WGEA suggested that the current superannuation system includes built-in biases that impact women’s economic security in retirement. The system is tied to paid work, and assumes that people work continuously to collect enough money for a comfy retirement. Because women are more likely to take primary responsibility for unpaid care work, and are more likely to return to work part time and in lower-paying roles, women’s superannuation contributions are significantly lower compared to those with continuous full-time employment.
There have been calls for the abolition of the lower minimum income hurdle for Superannuation Guarantee contributions to accommodate more parttime or low-paid workers, however Feng et al. (2019) suggests that this is not enough to get to the heart of the problem: women live longer and retire with lower savings than men.
WO M E N IN R E TIREM ENT In Australia, the average retirement balances for men and women aged 60 to 64 in 2013-14 were $292,510 and $138,154 respectively (ASFA). At 65, the average Australian man will live another 19 years; the average woman can live a further 22 years. Women’s savings are often not sufficient to support them in retirement; they live longer, with less. While poverty rates among pensioners have declined since the aged pension was increased in 2009, in 2012, 38.7 per cent of elderly single women compared to 33.8 per cent of elderly single men were living in poverty (WGEA). Census data from 2016 reported that 15.8 per cent—over 900,000—families were single parent households, and 81.8 per cent of these parents were women. This suggests that there is a significant proportion of retired women with inadequate retirement savings.
CLOSING THE SUPERANNUATION GAP To solve this issue we need to address the gender imbalance in unpaid care work and in the paid workforce. Organisations should take a role in addressing the superannuation gap by implementing policies that encourage return-to-work programs, retention, and opportunities to progress for promotion—including flexible working arrangements, for all genders. Employers should pay women superannuation while they are on parental leave; although some already do, there is no legal obligation to do so. They should also make sure the same amount of parental leave is accessible for all genders. Currently, working dads and partners only get two weeks of paid leave at the national minimum wage, which is quite frankly, a joke—both parents should be entitled to the same amount of parental leave.
We need to address both the superannuation and pay gaps. Doing so would dramatically improve women’s economic security and wellbeing, and improve the equity of our society overall. You cannot change the implications of a centuries-old culture overnight, so fixing these things won’t be easy and our ability to do so shouldn’t be overstated; in
a perfect world that is rid of bias and creates equal opportunity, some women will always have to take time out of the workforce. It’s biology, baby. But that doesn’t mean it’s fair that women are financially penalised because of their gender. And it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t fix the things that are within our capabilities.
STEP UP FOR SU STA IN A BIL IT Y: HOW STU DENTS CA N D O T HEIR BIT
W E BUY A N D W E B U Y A N D W E BU Y, AN D T H E N W E T H R OW AWAY. Words: Ailish Delaney Design Sally Henderson
Our current fashion climate is fuelled by the constant desire to have what is new and “in style”. We are faced with pressures to keep up with the latest fashion trends, feeling the need to wear whatever is in season. This desire to be up-to-date has created an environment where we rely on fast fashion. Fast fashion is the term used to describe the influx of low-quality clothing at low prices that comes with the constant change in trends. It drives the modern fashion industry, but most people don’t think beyond the purchase of their cheap t-shirt. What are the environmental and social effects of this purchase? Is something that’s sold this cheap produced ethically? According to the ABC, Australians buy, on average, 27kg of clothing and textiles per year, which is twice the global textile average. More accessible and affordable shopping means that consumers are shopping more than ever before. We throw away clothes like they are nothing; 41 per cent of millennials have thrown unwanted clothing and 24 per cent have thrown away clothes because they were bored of wearing them. Around 1.7 million Australians are buying at least one pair of jeans a month, but when Kmart jeans cost around the same as a cheap take-away lunch, why wouldn’t you? Recognising the consequential effects of fast fashion isn’t as hard as it may seem. Owner of Instagram second-hand clothing store Does Your Mother Know Vintage Maisie Evason said she started her store due to her overflowing wardrobe. She found the more she learnt about fast fashion, the more she wanted to encourage people to buy second-hand. “It’s so important to
promote and support stores that have clothing that is made ethically and sustainably,” she said. Maisie resells the clothes she no longer wears, aiming to reduce the amount of clothing sent to op-shops and landfills. The constantly updating cycle of clothing is not environmentally sustainable. Two thirds of clothes and textiles bought are made of synthetic fibres derived from petroleum. These fibres do not decay and remain in landfills for years on end, with polyester-based clothes taking up to 200 years to break down. Fast fashion also uses an immense amount of water; taking 2,720 litres of water to make one t-shirt—the same amount an average person will drink in three years. The effects of fast fashion don’t stop there. The constant demand for cheap clothing traps a generation of young women in the fast fashion supply chain. Around 75 million people work to make the clothes, and 80 per cent of them are women aged 18 to 24. The fast fashion industry perpetuates poor work conditions by overworking and underpaying staff in factories, with many workers making less than three dollars a day.
Pu rchase with powe r and step up for sustainability In comparison, sustainable brands place a focus on creating a more ethical workplace, both environmentally and socially. Remi Lane, a WA fashion designer, said her company strives to be as ethical as possible, using only two factories, one in Jakarta and one in Bali. They ensure that all workers get paid above award wages, have holiday and sick pay, get the equivalent of a pension, are paid health care and have safe work standards. “With child labour, low wages, environmental degradation, and animal cruelty, it’s very important for the fashion industry to change its way of thinking,” she said.
WH AT CA N YO U D O ? As students, it may seem daunting to try and fight fast fashion, but it doesn’t have to be. Supporting charity and op-shops is a great place to start. WA St Vincent de Paul’s Deanna Watson noted the importance of donating high quality goods to charity stores. “In the 2017/18 financial year, Vinnies received 303 tonnes of useable clothing. It cost us $70,000 in tipping fees disposing of items we couldn’t sell in our shops or give to people … money better spent on giving support to the 40,000 Western Australians that Vinnies helps
each year,” she said. Charity stores want people to consider donating higher-quality goods. “It’s the lower quality items that go to the landfill,” she said. Another option is to support more ethical and sustainable companies. Sustainable fashion may be more expensive, but it is clothing that is designed to last. Designer Remi Lane recommended students “save for a little longer than you usually do for a clothing item and spend it on a garment that you will appreciate, love and last”. In her eyes, buying from a sustainable brand actually works out cheaper in the long run. “It’s a subconscious mind trick,” she said. “It seems most cost efficient in the short run to buy multiple cheap clothing items (that will break a lot faster) instead of investing in more expensive pieces that will last years and will end up saving you money.” If saving for sustainable fashion seems a bit out of your budget, try and do your research on the brands you are supporting. “If you actually look around, there are a number of stores, especially online and Instagram stores, that promote ethical and sustainable fashion,” she recommended. A great place to research brands is Baptist World Aid’s ethical fashion guide or the Good On You app. Fighting fast fashion does not have to weigh down on your wallet. Think about the clothing you already own before buying more. Check out op-shops instead of heading straight to a cheap online store. And try to sell your clothes or donate the better value stuff when you’re tired of it. Purchase with power and step up for sustainability. After all, is the cheap t-shirt really worth it?
L IT R ES
FROM S PAC E TO S PAC ESH I P EA RT H : TH E N ASA T EC H I N OU R DAI LY LI V ES Words: Jo Newman & Maria Cristina De Vicente Design Lola Baldsing
Every year, NASA publishes Spinoff—a report that celebrates all the ways in which NASA technologies developed for use in space are adapted and applied to use here on Earth. Since the first Spinoff publication in 1976, a total of over 2,000 technologies have made their way into the yearly reports. Some of these we can encounter every day and others may not be as familiar to us, but they’ve been extremely influential and beneficial for the lives of many people. Here are eight ways NASA has improved people’s lives:
Memory foam: keeping your body nicely cushioned as you hurtle through the atmosphere and into the vastness of space since 1966. It’s officially called Temper foam, and was developed as a shock-absorbing material. It was first used in NASA’s aircraft seats, and its uses have since expanded to include pillows, mattresses and shoes’ soles!
Those little sticky-uppy bits on the end of plane wings? NASA research on aerodynamics led to their invention. Also, they’re called ‘winglets’, and save planes between 4-6 per cent in fuel. It may not sound like much but for a typical Southwest Boeing 737-700 airplane, that is about 455,000 litres of fuel each year. This little winglet provides up to a 6 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions and an 8 per cent reduction in nitrogen oxide.
Keeping babies healthy with astronaut food! While developing life support systems for Mars missions, NASA-funded researchers discovered a natural source for an omega-3 fatty acid that is now incorporated into more than 90 per cent of baby formulas on the market. With such widespread use, the company estimates that over 24 million babies worldwide have consumed what could have been space food.
Cardiac pump: it really is rocket science. NASA’s work simulating fluid flow through rocket engines has been applied to biological problems. A unique collaboration between NASA, Dr. Michael DeBakey, Dr. George Noon and MicroMed Technology, Inc. resulted in a lifesaving heart pump for patients awaiting transplants. The MicroMed DeBakey VAD®, is a ventricular assist device that functions as a "bridge to heart transplant" by pumping blood throughout the body and has resulted in hundreds of critically-ill patients staying alive until a donor heart is available.
Ambulance air purifiers: this developed from NASA trying to grow space lettuce. The aim was to help astronauts grow their own produce, but growing plants in enclosed spaces resulted in the production of an undesirable gas called ethylene. NASA tried to find a way to develop an ethylene scrubber for the International Space Station, and the ‘scrubber’ proved capable of purifying air on Earth from all kinds of pathogens and particulates. This has been particularly useful since it came to ambulances and hospitals, preventing the carrying and spreading of various bacteria.
This one’s straight out of science fiction; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) developed FINDER, a device capable of detecting the faint movements of human breathing and heartbeats beneath rubble. FINDER can detect humans through thirty feet of dense rubble with 80 per cent accuracy—which is pretty damn high. It also takes an infrared image to capture any possible body heat signature. In 2015 two FINDER prototypes enabled the rescue of four people who had been buried in rubble following an earthquake.
A Martian Garden—this one’s my personal favourite. NASA researchers found some dust in the Mojave Desert that is morphologically and chemically similar to the surface of Mars. NASA’s JPL uses this soil to test rovers bound for Mars—but you can also purchase Martian Garden kits and have a go at growing plants in Martian soil! Just like Matt Damon in The Martian. Though maybe don’t use human refuse as fertiliser.
This last one is of particular interest for sleep-deprived students: NASA wanted to find a way to allow astronauts on the International Space Station to have a decent night’s sleep while having 15-16 sunsets and sunrises every 24 hours—talk about unhealthy sleeping patterns. The National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), funded by NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, developed a paired ‘portable lighting device’—spoiler: it’s a lamp—with a linked phone app to help reset and re-train disrupted circadian rhythms. It was found that the colour of the light that we are exposed to could affect our sleep patterns, so they developed a closed loop system that adjusted lighting based on biofeedback. Good night’s sleep, here I come!
We don’t often consider the amount of work that goes into many of the things we use every day, taking for granted that they’ve always been there. But behind every phone call, instagram scroll, dental appointment and trip overseas there are countless people developing the technology to improve our experiences. I'll leave you with some words from Stephen Jurczyk’s introduction to this year’s Spinoff edition:
“[We aim to] expand the boundaries of human knowledge and exploration through its space and aeronautics missions, and this cannot be done without continually pushing the limits of what we are capable of achieving.”
Words: Adilah Ahmad Design Natasha Provan
Dessert stomach, we’ve all experienced this sensation. It happens only every damned time we eat a satisfying meal. It’s the reason why we always have room for dessert and why we tend to go bonkers at buffets despite our better judgements. We have often joked that there is a separate compartment just for dessert in our stomach and as it turns out the science behind it doesn’t completely disregard this concept. Okay, so let’s firstly get the obvious out of the way—we definitely do not have two stomachs. Trust me, I have a degree in human biology. Dessert stomach is the phenomenon which occurs right after you have a big meal. Your stomach feels full, you’re unbuttoning your jeans, and you feel like you'll vomit if you take one more bite. But, post vomit-inducing, faceshoving meal, when the magical question comes along… “who wants dessert?” you invariably, and quite literally always, say “YES”. Is there even a different answer to that question? And when your dessert comes, your previous meal is a distant memory and you can definitely eat dessert, no problemo. So, why is that?
SENSORY SPECIFIC SATIETY According to Deakin University sensory and food science professor, Russell Keast, the reason for this phenomenon is known as sensory specific satiety (SSS). In simple terms, your appetite is renewed when you are exposed to new taste, while eating only one flavour makes you feel full more quickly. When we eat the same food, our stomach becomes sated or satisfied, and we get that full feeling. However, part of that satiation is a feeling of sensory boredom, the meal that promised us delight and happiness with every bite is now boring. So, when the promise of a new, stimulating and exciting flavour profile i.e. dessert, is offered, it renews our interest and anticipation. On top of that, we know sweet foods are a “guilty pleasure” (and indeed trigger the reward or pleasure centres of the brain), so it’s even harder to say no.
"Our bodies actually override that full feeling to make room for dessert." Professor Keast has performed studies where participants are provided with 300 mL of strawberry milkshake and they are forced to finish it in 2 minutes. After the forced intake, the exact same strawberry milkshake is given again, but this time in excess. Participants are given 700 mL and can choose how much or little they want to consume with no time limit. The next time participants come in, they are given 300 mL of strawberry milkshake, again forced intake in 2 minutes. After that
they are offered 700 mL of chocolate milkshake with no time limit. The difference in volume between the strawberry and chocolate milkshake is a measure of SSS. The results point to the fact that the new flavour is consumed significantly more than the same flavour, every time. A 2001 meta-analysis involving animal and human studies, supports these results and shows an increase in food consumption when there is more variety in a meal or diet… also associated with an increase in body weight and fat.
SUGAR REL AXES T H E STO M AC H The stomach is a flexible organ, its walls are made up of rugae, which are folds that allow for expansion when the stomach is filled with food. How full you feel is based on many factors including the sight and smell of food, chewing and swallowing food, as well as the pressure of food against the walls of the stomach. This last factor is linked with how much the stomach expands to take in food. In relation to the dessert stomach phenomenon is the fact that sugar relaxes the stomach. This is known as the accommodation reflex, so it can fill up to 300 - 400 mL more. So, even though you’ve just eaten a full meal, a sweet sugary dessert causes stomach relaxation (to a certain extent) and works with SSS to override the “I’m full!” and “Please stop eating!” signals the brain sends out when we are, indeed, full. So the next time you go to a pasta by the metre restaurant and feel so full you won’t have to eat for days, but then pass by a dessert bar and can’t help but order their pearl milk tea, crème brulee with milk gelato, and sago cracker dessert, just know, you can blame it on your dessert stomach and it’s a real thing (unlike this scenario I just completely made up).
GRO KO NLINE.COM.AU Inspiration from ‘Grok’ 1973, Volume 2, Number 4.
The first print run for Grok Magazine—Curtin Guild's student publication—in 2019. Celebrating its 50th year, the feature article of this iss...
Published on Apr 30, 2019
The first print run for Grok Magazine—Curtin Guild's student publication—in 2019. Celebrating its 50th year, the feature article of this iss...