EDITOR’S NOTE ‘Til next time! Emma
Bondy 500 is the HSA’s very own Amazing Race around the Gold Coast. Get involved on Saturday November 19 (end Week 10) for guaranteed out-of-yourcomfort-zone challenges, potential public mortification, and the chance to win awesome prizes. Tickets on sale under the arch during Week 10!
Want to contribute to Insight? Send through your work to firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Emma Devlin Designer Emma Devlin Cover Photo Jacob Lambert
Weâ€™re often told that volunteer work can do as much good for us as it does for the cause we are helping. Here, Caleb Connor shares his reflections on what he put in to, and what he go out of, a recent volunteering stint with Save the Children...
HEADIN’ WEST At the beginning of this month, 14 Bond students flew into Kununurra, Western Australian for 12 days of volunteer work with a local non-government organisation, Save the Children. From day one, it was probably the most intensely eye-opening and enriching experience any east-coast kid could have, sheltered as we are from the realities of our vast country. Before leaving, it was discussed that even just trying to tell people how unique and challenging this time of our life was would be truly unachievable…so I won’t start with you, dear reader. Instead, I’ll opt for a couple of FAQs: Where did you go? Kununurra is in Western Australia, about an hour’s flight from Darwin and just a mere jump west of the Northern Territory and north of Lake Argyle. To sum up its location, Kununurra is pretty much the only significant town in the good few thousand kilometres between Katherine and Broome. Unless you want to head to rough-as-guts Halls Creek for the night, if you were somehow driving through this part of the country seeing the sights or lining up your next backpacker to carve, you’ll probably end up in K-ra. It was built by the outback’s best friend the mining companies, and the town falls on a number of overlapping Aboriginal communities. According to many locals, that’s where the problem starts. Oh, and the film Australia was filmed there. Tru fax. The hell were you doing out there? Bond alumnus Ed Brockhoff, famed for his soirees at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and satchel-carrying exploits with High Court Justice Kirby, is currently the Youth Development Coordinator for the Save the Children office in Kununurra. Why does like K-ra need its children saved? The Indigenous population in Kununurra embodies all of the negative stereotypes we see in the media: dilapidated housing, extremely public problems with drugs and alcohol, crime, nuisance, and a youth suicide rate that’s through the roof compared to the rest of Australia. Kids as young as three or four years old can be seen walking on the street at all hours of the night, either because that’s just what they do for fun, because they don’t want to go home, or because they actually can’t spend any more time in households that are abusive, destroyed by alcohol and cheap drugs, or where a good night’s sleep is impossible in such intense conditions of overcrowding. In the WA school holidays, Save the Children wrangled a community youth centre for the whole two weeks. We were there to help run a comprehensive program of activities for up to 50 kids, including ball games, fishing trips, boat rides and discos. I’d say we showed them how to party, but you put on “Party Rock Anthem” and 20 small children will redefine shuffling for you. What did you do with the kids? Pretty much everybody out that way operates on “Kimberley time”. They say it’s because it’s hot and you can just take it slow. We would say it meant you couldn’t plan or arrange anything with anyone, because you never knew how many kids would turn up. Still, we managed to do a range of activities, which I must say the kids dominated at. They showed us how to fish, dance, paint, backflip, and they even took a few of us swimming to a place where a German tourist was eaten alive by a gigantic crocodile just last year. Of course, they didn’t mention that when trying to get us to take them there. Cheeky buggers…
What was it actually like? To put it in perspective, Save the Children aims to do three things: reduce rates of juvenile crime, keep kids off the streets, and provide a positive influence in these young and disadvantaged lives. Essentially, they’ll admit the first two are unfeasible; all you can hope for is that by running activities during the day for children who might not show you one speck of appreciation, you might have an impact on one or two right decisions. A little needs to account for a lot. With this in mind, most of the kids that turned up to the centre each day were bright, sweet, sharp, and so happy to have you there to make fun of and beat at Frisbee, even if they didn’t admit it at first. These children were amazing, but the conditions in which many of them live gave the impression of a third-world country. At the start of each day, we would drive a bus and a land-rover into the Aboriginal areas to pick kids up. This involved navigating through a landscape awash with beer cans, landfill, mangy dogs and decrepit houses, from within the kids would run after they heard us coming. Some of them didn’t change their clothes the entire week. Others were covered in scabs and bruises and boils and cuts. To spend a day with these kids and then drop them home was actually heartbreaking. I’m running out of room, so I’ll finish up with a few things we learned on the trip: 1) The Australian bush is incredible. It is nature on such an incomprehensibly grand scale that even the slickest SLR could never capture what it’s like to hike into a 100m high Kimberley waterfall, or to crank to reggae and go booming through the country at 150km/hour in a land-rover. Get there. 2) Christian missionaries are fucking useless. Sorry to anyone I offend, but if a kid breaks their arm on a skateboard, you don’t give them a hug and a prayer.You make good with the morphine and send them to hospital. Christ… 3) Kim Brown and Adam Roberts are boss. I’d like to once again thank everybody involved in organising and donating towards this trip. I think that, after six semesters, I finally understand what philanthropy is: this is the kind of studentorganised activity that you want to get involved in, and also help others experience down the track. 4) Ignorance is bliss. We are so far removed from the worst of our country’s most entrenched social problems that there might not even be a need to care. Many locals we met during our time seemed bitter and removed, a mood that reflects how alienating a problem we truly face out west. For a minute, forget your Southeast Asian orphanages. Take the African refugee camps down a notch. We have problems associated with our own passport. What’s more, they accord to the fundamental provision of basic human rights, a problem that is faced in Pakistan, Burundi,Vietnam, and all the other developing countries that Australia stands ahead of. I didn’t realise the scale of the problem. And I can’t help thinking, what if the world knew? But we all still have hope. We hope that drugs and alcohol will not steal this current generation. We hope that traditional ties to the country and the elders really are still strong. We hope these kids can keep their heads above the water, get through school, and help their community. We hope that a little really does account for a lot.
Journalism student Melinda Jennings takes us behind the scenes of her internship with Gold Coast United Football Club...
The smell of sweat and grass is overwhelming. As players move busily around me, congratulating each other and swallowing water hungrily, I falter for a moment. My brain tells me I should not be here, that instead I should jump over the barrier ensnaring spectators as they push their upper bodies forward, desperate to have their yellow and blue paraphernalia signed. I belong on that side, not here on the football field amongst the Gold Coast United players, as though I was one of them. But this is where I am, this is where my media internship with Gold Coast United Football Club has brought me, and I am definitely not complaining. Even if I wanted to complain, I’m too shell shocked and giddy from excitement as I follow the Communications and Media Manager and my teacher, Neil Favager, around the field like a gaping fish, to articulate words. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing a live game of sport, the buzzing atmosphere of screaming fans and tantalizingly close shots at goal, then you’ll know what I mean when I say imagine that feeling and multiply it by ten, if you dare. That is exactly the feeling you get when instead of sitting in the stands, you get to walk directly onto the field after the match has finished, while the grass is still sending electricity through it. After only a few weeks of doing this internship, I can hardly believe my luck that this is what I’m doing. Let alone the fact that only minutes earlier I was in the press box, mingling with sports journalists who already have the job I dream of doing one day. I’ve heard people say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”, which always seemed slightly depressing after forking out so much money, time and effort on a Bachelor of Journalism. But this internship has certainly made it all worthwhile, where it seems I’m constantly shaking hands with another important contact. I don’t mean to discount everything you do at uni, however. Even though I feel as though my time at United has already reshaped and turned on its head everything I’ve learnt over the last two years, without that base of knowledge I would never have had the confidence to step out and do the things I have done. And that’s what this internship seems to have been about for me so far; stepping out, sometimes getting it right, more often getting it wrong, and learning something from the experience. Oh, and going to football games for free. That hasn’t been too bad either.
JOURNEY IN JOURNALISM
Brittany George has landed an internship with Australian Good Food and Travel Guide. Here’s her take on the benefits of workplace experience... Eight weeks. I could continue the countdown, breaking down into days, hours, minutes and seconds but to be honest, I can’t be bothered …well, that and I’m quietly peeing in my pants, mentally blocking out the fact that in eight weeks, I will be a graduate. After a series of midnight psychosis episodes in which I’ve convinced myself that working at Crazy Clark’s wouldn’t be such a bad future and stocking up with Ben & Jerry’s to become a bedbound wonder in case Clark himself won’t employ me, I have come to the realisation that I am actually quite prepared to step into the real world. My time at Bond has been filled with skills and practical experience from day one and for one of the world’s laziest people, I have racked up a portfolio of material to begin the journey. As a journalism student, it was essential for me to begin practical experience in writing and getting my work published on a variety of different media platforms at an early stage. Sure, I get the piece of paper telling me I’m a swingin’ bachelor at the end of it all but if I can’t string a sentence together, who the hell wants to employ me as a journalist? Interning was an essential and I took the plunge at the beginning of my fifth semester. Due to the fact that I’d already taken an alternate subject, my internship couldn’t be counted as a subject so I had to undertake it in my own time. I sent my email to my career advisor who passed it onto the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide and within 48 hours, it was happy days. I was taken as a copywriting and editing intern, working one day a week. Admittedly, I was a little overwhelmed during the initial training, which could be partially explained by my over-enthusiastic nodding of whether I understood how a content management system works when in all reality, I had about as much of an idea as a … well, I just didn’t have any idea, okay? Nevertheless, in the first few weeks I found myself getting the gist of website listings, editing site content, brainstorming at board meetings and improving my shoddy photoshopping skills. As it goes, I also began to understand a lot more about the audience my workplace has and how best to appeal to them. During my time as an intern, I have also been lucky enough to work with a young, vibrant team who have no hesitation in assisting or advising me with the writing or editing jobs I do. I have learnt how to constructively use advice (or criticism on more stressful days) in strengthening my skills and as a result, I now have the responsibility of writing a variety of accredited articles, book reviews and interviews published both on the Australian Good Food and Travel Guide website and newsletter. I have also been called in to work when other team members have been away to assist in the workload and as a result, have been given a paycheck in return (… am I allowed to say that?). As for the downsides, I suppose I can only say that it can be somewhat difficult to juggle this work along with a schedule of full-time study. Prior to starting my internship, I was also a web writer for another company in Sydney which I was undertaking as a freelance writer. I have now had to limit the amount of articles I write due to time restraints, but at the end of it all and in my head, I have a better chance of employment at my internship. The usual early mornings, writers block and having to use public transport are all crammed in the downside too, but they all subside with coffee, music and jellybeans. I have continued interning into my last semester (a bonus in not undertaking it as a subject, I guess) and am seeing my responsibilities increase to editing other interns’ work (haha). I’m also getting more articles published and notice my skills improving as time goes on. So, I urge you all Bondies, it’s never too early to start!
WHY STUDY COMMUNICATIONS? By Communication and Media Teaching Fellow Krista Mathis
As a former student of communication, I empathise with the frustration (and/or thinly-veiled rage) that accompanies your answer to the ever-present question of: “What are you going to do with that?” That, in this case, refers to your degree in communication. I have a history of degrees with no obvious career path (English Literature, anyone?) and empathise with anyone who has had to explain to Great Aunt Edith that no, this degree does not make me an aimless, hemp-skirt-wearing gypsy. Yes, Great Aunt Edith was also a bit on the holier-than-thou side. Yes, Great Aunt Edith got it wrong (including the hemp skirt). What I get with my communication degree is options. After studying and working in the area of communication for most of my adult life (more than ten years now), I’ve found that my communication degree, as well as my continued research in the field, provides me with skills and knowledge that can be applied to my daily life, not just my career. The skills learned when studying communication are transferable skills; in other words, these skills can be used across disciplines, across careers, across social situations and across decades. Communication skills are loyal—they stick with you, even when everything else you’ve learned has become outdated or outversioned. There are a lot of people who claim to be good communicators, but a quick glance at your Facebook newsfeed indicates otherwise. A skilled communicator is valued because so many people get it wrong. There are jobs for people who get it right. If you’ve ever doubted the opportunities available to a communication graduate, just have a look at seek.com. At the moment, there are over 63,000 jobs in Australia that have something to do with communication. This is promising, especially in the current job market. A communication-related degree allows you flexibility, making it possible to straddle (yes, straddle) numerous industries. I’ve used my communication-related degrees to get me jobs in non-profit fundraising, advertising, newspaper copywriting, sales and, of course, education. With a background in communication featured on your CV, employers trust that you can read, write and think. They also trust that you can effectively ‘deal’ with people. These skills are rare; wait in line at the coffee cart and you’ll see what I mean. Akin to working in your favourite restaurant, there is the risk that the more you know about communication, the more you fear its truths. I experience this every semester when I deliver a lecture on Emotional Intelligence—let’s just say I’m very aware of my emotional weaknesses and inevitably end up neurotically questioning my personal interactions for days after. Despite the potential pitfalls, studying communication provides you with an opportunity to understand the world you live in—from the conversations you overhear on the train, to the internal dialogue you had with yourself this morning when deciding whether to hit ‘snooze’ or just get out of bed. This is communication and understanding how it works and how to do it effectively can make you more appealing to your friends, your family, your colleagues and, most importantly, your future employer.
WHY STUDY FILM AND TV? By Centre for Film and Television Teaching Fellow Chris Fitchett
Have you ever watched the Academy Awards and fantasized about winning that Oscar and then giving a fantastic speech where you stick it up all those high school teachers who had questioned your intelligence, would-be lovers who had rejected your advances and sports coaches who didn’t put you on until the game was well and truly over? Well, that fantasy became a reality for Australian film school graduates Jane Campion in 1994 (for the script of The Piano) and Adam Elliot in 2004 (for Harvey Krumpet). Both resisted temptation and gave very gracious speeches. So, one obvious reason to study Film & Television is to become famous, and quite possibly rich (and potentially to get revenge on all those who have wronged you in the past). But both Jane and Adam studied Film & Television because they wanted to express themselves creatively in an art form which is arguably the most pervasive and influential of this and the last century. And once you’re hooked, it becomes a life-long passion. The first film I made was with five film school students who all went on to have very successful careers in the film industry and, 35 years later, they have no intention of retiring. But there were less film schools then than there are now and, with a renaissance in the Australian film industry at the time, a wealth of opportunities. Now, however, there are still opportunities in the film industry, and even more in the television industry with pay television and new free-to-air digital channels constantly requiring new content. In order to create content for the screen – whether it be a cinema screen, a television screen or a computer screen – you need to combine creativity, technical skills and business acumen. This covers that part of the industry that produces feature films, television (adult and children’s drama, reality programs, comedy shows, news and sport, current affairs, etc.) and documentaries for both the cinema and television broadcast. But the industry also includes productions for the advertising, corporate and government sectors, as well as music videos. There is also distribution, marketing and exhibition, as well as government funding agencies and film scholars and critics who analyse the international film and television industry and its “product”. It’s a very diverse and multi-layered industry with a myriad sub-sectors and job descriptions. A recent study by Screen Australia estimated there were more than 60,000 professionals employed in the audio-visual industry in Australia. Every week, online trade journal Screen Hub announces more than 100 new jobs and recently included advertisements for a Content Producer, Field Producer, Production Manager, Production Designer,Video Camera Operator and Editor. This is just for Australia. International opportunities are also available for graduates because film and television is a truly international business where the means of production, distribution and exhibition are fundamentally the same all around the world. Bond University’s Bachelor of Film & Television Degree focuses on creativity, art, technology, business and policy. It offers a broad range of specialist subjects, most of which are heavily hands-on and project-based, allowing students to balance creative practice theory with practical production experience. Importantly, the degree allows students to explore and develop their own creativity using state-of-the-art camera, sound, editing, lighting and studio equipment. The program also teaches critical thinking and intellectual rigour, communication and presentation skills, project management and budgeting skills, negotiation skills, and gives students experience collaborating with others and working together in teams which include international students. It therefore prepares a student for life after university and makes a graduate highly employable in a range of industries other than the film & television industry. Another important reason for studying film & television? At a party, when someone asks you what you’re doing, your reply will invariably interest them. That’s because being a film maker can instantly turn a genuine dork into a very cool dude. Just ask Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, or Quentin Tarantino.
WHY STUDY INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS?
So, just what is IR?
A Q&A with International Relations Assistant Professor Dr Stuart Murray
IR is the shorthand version for International Relations or Political Science, as it is known in North America. As an academic discipline its origins are largely traced to the Chair of International Politics, first established at the University of Aberystwyth in 1926. From the outset, IR was referred to as the ‘borrowing discipline’ as it draws heavily on many different areas of study - philosophy, behaviourism, psychology and history, for example. At the end of the day, however, IR concerns the study of people. It is people that make and shape the IR system, not states, policy or government, but people. Why did IR become such an important are of study? The origins of the discipline relate to the First World War. The nineteenth century was referred to as the ‘hundreds years peace’ so, when the world slid into apocalyptic war in 1914, we couldn’t understand why. This was a great period of flux in the IR system and people were looking for different answers than the established disciplines (law, diplomatic history, hard science) provided. At that time, scholars were scratching their heads, wondering, “How could we go from heaven to hell so quickly?” From the past to the present, we are still trying to answer such questions. What does studying an IR degree involve? The type of subjects you might study in this degree would cover – all in the international context of course – globalization, power (hard and soft), political theories, international law, war and peace, conflict resolution, diplomacy, terrorism, non-traditional security threats such as resource depletion and overpopulation, and so on. Today, IR is the study of not only the incumbent state but also the various nonstate actors – the good and the bad - that participate in international politics. These include international organisations such as the United Nations, nongovernmental organisations such as Greenpeace, transnational for-profit organisations such as Shell Oil, and even celebrity individuals. What careers can possibly come from studying this degree? International Relations graduates find work with a wide range of employers including multilateral and intergovernmental organisations, non-government organisations and advocacy groups such as Human Rights Watch, the International Crisis Group and Doctors without Borders. Graduates have also found employment working with local and national government in traditional political jobs with an international focus – in AusTrade or working as a diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra. Other jobs across many different disciplines might include a Legislative Aid, Agency Specialist, Lobbyist, High School Teacher, University/College Professor, or work in higher research. Why is Bond's course of this degree superior to other universities? The IR department at Bond contains a passionate professorial staff, PhD students and Teaching Fellows. We are an internationally active body of learned, enthusiastic souls that travel around the world presenting and publishing our ideas, speaking to like-minded people and gathering data first-hand. We then translate these experiences back into the classroom. The IR department’s staff members are enthusiastic about what they do, both in terms of research and teaching. Bond also offers some excellent internships and exchange programs for our IR students.Finally, the student body is very international and not only do you get to study international life, you get to live it every day at Bond.
R E M M A H H C T I M : K O O B O T O H P
THE D DRAMAT If you are a regular theatre-goer, you will appreciate the honest words of poetic legend, Oscar Wilde: “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.” Despite the invitation to share an intellectual, spiritual and entertaining experience with live actors, theatre is still regarded as a dying art. Think about it – if you had the choice to go to the cinema and see Friends With Benefits or a local performance of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, would you select the former? Was the last musical or play you watched a commercial production, that is, Wicked or Mary Poppins? I asked numerous members of cyber space why they avoided local showbiz, and many came to the same conclusion: “We don’t know where to go to find good theatre!” Well my little cherubs, you only had to ask! The following list comprises three excellent theatres that have granted me more magical experiences than Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings combined … I recommend you seek them out. 1. La Boite Theatre Company, Brisbane Located on the Queensland University of Technology’s Kelvin Grove campus, La Boite Theatre has produced phenomenal productions in the past, the most memorable for me being Hamlet. The production incorporated outstanding acting, music and even nudity to enhance the dramatic meaning in Shakespeare’s tragedy, and gave the audience more than enough bang for its buck. The performances are somewhat enhanced by the actual playhouse, as the theatre-in-the-round allows the audience to view certain productions from four different angles and thus experience theatre in its rarest form.
DYING TIC ART Isabel Dickson
2. Zen Zen Zo, Australia Contrary to the belief of the general public, dramatic art is not just a slice of realistic life on stage. Zen Zen Zo is a physical theatre company whose aim is to “excite, challenge and transform [their] audiences”, a mission statement it continually fulfils. Excitement was definitely an understatement when I was whisked away to the magical island depicted in Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Zen Zen Zo’s 2009 production. The actors combined innovative body movement with dialogue to produce a stunning, engaging and memorable performance. If you have never experienced physical theatre, I recommend you book your ticket to their next production now. 3. Javeenbah Theatre Company, Gold Coast A petite theatre located in Nerang, Javeenbah always exceeds expectations as it showcases the best of Gold Coast talent in a wide range of productions. The small space enhances the mood of particular plays and therefore guarantees an emotional experience. In its 2010 production of Ruby Moon, I underwent an array of sentiments including extreme laughter to chills up my spine. Javeenbah epitomises Oscar Wilde’s words as it leaves every audience member satisfied. The power of a passionate performance is not something that can merely be disregarded. Local theatres produce several shows a year to provide you with a diversion from the ups and downs of your daily life; you only have to look. The next time you are tossing up whether to spend your pay check on a movie or a drunken evening in Surfers, jump online and search through local theatres to find something that suits your taste. Everything once, right?
F O E S I A R P IN
R A I L S I T M S A A F KF N U EA BR
Ashleigh Peplow Ball
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. For people like me, it's what gets me out of bed in the morning. For many others, it is essential for their relationships; the only time they have to sit with their partner or children before the day gets the better of them. For the majority of people in the Western world, breakfast acts to break-the-fast, and that is about all. Some jam slapped on a piece of cold toast, a bowl of sugar-coated puffs or a smoothie while running out the door. But in other parts of the world, breakfast is a ritual – an irreplaceable part of the day. Mexicans eat huevos rancheros (scrambled eggs with chillies and salsa), Ugandans indulge in green banana and beef stew, breakfast in Bangladesh is semi-fermented rice with dahl and chillies, and the Burmese favour fried rice with boiled peas. Breakfast is a doorway into culture. Travel guides often tell you to “stick to what you know” for breakfast, stating that it is important to start the day with a reminder of home. No offence to Lonely Planet, but that is rubbish. Anyone can dig into a bowl of noodles with chilli and beef for dinner, but it takes courage and commitment to have it for breakfast. Breakfast provides you with another opportunity, every single day, to sample local specialties. When I am travelling and looking for a hostel, I make sure breakfast isn’t included. This has led to quite low blood sugar and some pretty interesting experiences. One morning in Kuala Lumpur I woke up at 6am to catch a train and got incredibly lost deep in the Malaysian capital’s suburbs. Just as I was about to give up, I stumbled upon the holy grail of eating breakfast outside my comfort zone. I knew I was in the right place by the cluster of red and green umbrellas, a symbol of street food in Asia. The strange looks I was shot from locals confirmed I had stuck to my travelling rule – never eat where there is another tourist. The area was packed with small vendors each selling one or two dishes, family specialties that had been passed through generations. Chilli crab, fish ball and mutton soup, chicken rice, mee goreng and curry egg noodles. And it wasn’t quite 8am. These were incredible breakfast markets that existed so that families, couples and individuals that lived nearby could drop in before work and school; an irreplaceable morning ritual. I watched locals kickstart their days with a steaming bowl of broth, packed to the brim with thick rice noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, chilli sauce and a mound of fresh coriander, and wash it down with sweet, rich iced tea made with oodles of condensed milk. I approached a stall called ‘Sister Popiah’, where a woman was cooking, stuffing, rolling, packaging and serving a mixture of all things Malaysian, wrapped in paper thin egg. My first bite into this delicious Malaysian style cold roll changed my life for the better. Despite my borderline mad search of the menus of all Malaysian restaurants on the Gold Coast and Adelaide, and often awkward interrogation of wait staff, I have never tasted anything that comes close. Chances are it is only made by Popiah, at her busy stall hidden amongst houses in northern Kuala Lumpur - and only before 10am. In a bid to break right out of the breakfast-box, I braved oyster porridge – an unsettling combination of oats, milk, soya sauce, chilli, peanuts and canned oysters. Quite an experience, but not one I would recommend. As much as I advocate for unfamiliar breakfasts, I'm still not convinced about putting oysters in porridge! The morning’s breakfast highlight was a plate of thin and chewy egg noodles sitting in a light soy broth, topped with crisp spring onions and BBQ pork so tender it melted in my mouth. Sitting on the red plastic stool in the breakfast market, sipping my iced coffee and realising that this four-course breakfast had set me back a total of $5, I thought to myself that this was what travelling is all about. People venture from their home shores so they can try new things, push the boundaries, learn about a different culture and to escape the ordinary. I believe this can all be achieved over breakfast.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh, what’s the first thing you say to yourself?” “What’s for breakfast”, said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?” “I say, I wonder what exciting thing is going to happen today?” Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing”. – A. A. Milne.
ARE GAMES ART? Saxon Cameron
Are games art? In truth of the whole matter, summed up beautifully in the words of industry icon Tim Schafer: “Oh man, who cares.” For a long time, many have questioned the prospect of computer games being recognised as an art form. In a sense, this debate peaked many years ago, however there is still speculation amongst many people, and therefore plenty of room for meaningful reflection on the notion. In 2005 (and again in 2010), acclaimed and world-recognised critic Roger Ebert sparked debate after boldly claiming that games could never be art. The aftershock was incredible, and since then many people have jumped to defend games as a medium of art while others continually refuse to recognise it at all. It’s easy to see artistic value in iconic games like Okami, Heavy Rain, Flower and Shadow of the Colossus, but “games seemingly without artistic merit shouldn’t negate the medium’s overall value as an art form” (Denis Dyack in Ochalla, 2007). There is no denying the commercial intent of certain games, especially franchise iterations, movie conversions and so on. Usually, this is where debate is quick to point to mainstream games, though conversely, “film can be used for deeply charged emotional expression, or it can be used to show you how to use the oxygen mask in case of cabin depressurization” (Ochalla, 2007). Marcel Duchamp once placed a urinal in a gallery, and called it art; it was a statement, and it rings true today. In terms of ‘art’, even notorious games and art critic Ebert himself said that “we could play all day with definitions, and find exceptions to every one.” Not known to many, however, was Ebert’s revision only a couple of months later: “I should not have written that entry without being more familiar with the actual experience of video games … My error in the first place was to think I could make a convincing argument on purely theoretical grounds … it is quite possible that a game could someday be great art.” Of course, without an informed perspective on games, one has little right to judge them. Recent studies have shown that in Australia alone, over 75% of gamers are over 18, 47% of whom are female. Now that games are moving away from their long-dated stereotype in the late 20th century, they are slowly being recognised for their true value and disassociated with the common misperceptions of antisocial and, at times, violent behaviour. This year, increased support has rallied in support of this emerging art form. For example, the Smithsonian Art Museum will hold its first “Art of Video Games” exhibit this year, featuring over 80 games voted for by millions of people, and the US National Endowment for the Arts now considers video games eligible for artistic funding, thus legally recognising them as an art form. Art is in the eye of both the creator and the beholder. And as those two groups of people grow and change, so will the definition and perception of art. As a games student, I have wholefully dedicated my life to the art and science of games. All too often, I have encountered people who don’t understand or respect the industry, yet I have never felt that I have had to justify my own disposition to them. As an emerging new form of universal entertainment media, it is understandable why many are hesitant to accept a new ‘art form’ in a field still gathering universal respect. Games don’t all have to be the same thing to all people. For me, I have felt a diverse range of intense emotion evoked solely through the interactive medium of games. Recently, I came across an anonymous quote that captures my feelings precisely: “I have slain dragons and demons, made friends of devils, enemies of angels, keeping my friends close and my enemies closer. I have traversed oceans and kept dry, flown the skies without wings, burrowed through mountains with nary a drill and come out the other side. I’ve clashed swords with pirates, ridden with cowboys, and trained with ninja. Tests of gods, trials of titans, quests of fate lain before me, all dismissed with a mere thought. I have lived a thousand lives, each for a thousand of years.” Are games art? Of course, they are. Read more at Saxon’s blog: http://game.saxoncameron.com/bloghome/
I’M IN A NEW YORK STATE OF MIND Sally Morris
When you are laughing about who has the best 'smize' with the founder and Executive Producer of America's Next Top Model, and asked by one of the world's leading designers where she can spritz you with her new designer perfume, you know you're in the right place. Yes, for a while there I thought that moving to New York to complete an internship might have been too much. A leap of faith that I may never recover from. However, two weeks in and interviews with Tyra Banks, Diane von Furstenberg and a number of local NYC musicians under my belt, I now feel it was not a mistake at all. So far, the trip has been a bumpy ride of new experiences and emotions. The shopping, the subway, work and shows have been what you would expect from New York City - amazing! Catching the subway every day has been surreal. Commuting to work is exactly what you see in the movies. It is filled with a strangely diverse and ever-changing cultural mishmash of people. It is a bustle and blur of faces that is captivating. Each day, I watch people interact with their loved ones, their phones, their iPods and each other. I observe the awkward moments of glances between strangers, the fights between husband and wife and the love between parent and child. My daily commute is just one of the many milestones I have notched up along my way to considering myself a bit of a New Yorker. The most recent and most wonderful of these milestones was my trip to Brooklyn yesterday. Brooklyn is amazing! There is nothing else to it. I know what you are thinking: Sex and the City said never to cross the bridge. I can’t believe I am going to say this, but they were wrong. It is simply wonderful. It’s kind of like the Melbourne of NYC but grungier in places (in a good way). The coffee shops, vintage clothing and homeware stores are all out of this world. Although I went there to cover an event for work, it opened my eyes to another world within NYC. Another milestone was my first bike ride around Central Park. Although I rode around the circumference of the park, I only scratched the surface in terms of seeing what the park has to offer. It’s an intense bike ride (for someone who has not exercised in a really long time), but is something that you just have to do if you go to NYC. Granted, it was a beautiful day that started with the most delightful coffee and delicious pastry from a bakery called Two Little Red Hens, but the sights as you ride around are amazing in their own right! As for more mile stones, there have been plenty of little ones, like my first slice of NYC pizza, my first NYC Starbucks (which is not that groundbreaking as we have Starbucks in Australia) and my first hot dog, followed by a second and third the next day and yet another the day after that. It may seem like my life revolves around food, but there are so many things to eat in New York! So many different nationalities making so many great foods, it’s not fair. Needless to say, my time in the big city so far has been much more than expected. I mean you always dream and hope that something outrageously incredible will happen to you like being discovered as America's Next Top Model or finding an insanely wealthy prince of an exotic country. But the harsh reality is neither of those things has happened yet. I still manage to cling to some sort of hope by saying “yet”. But in all seriousness, my time here has only just begun and anything can happen. Every borough you venture into, every corner you turn, there is something different. I am yet to see it all but I will keep you posted on what I find! Read more at Sally’s blog: http://morrissally.blogspot.com/