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Art direction & design: Athina Wilson Post-production Editor: Clementine Girard-Foley Editors: Margarita Bassova, Stella Schiftan, Georgia Ketels, Jamie Marina-Lau, Luke Patitsas, Ronlee Korren, Kelly Herbison, & Mario Matic. All rights reserved. No parts of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior consent of the publishers.


ŠInside, Verve Zine 2020 Issue

COVER: Photo by Jameela Mahazi, 2020 FRONTPIECE: Animation by Murli Dhir, 2020. Background Image: Pictured- Zion Garcia. taken by Chante Garcia @camwagirllll

First published in Australia, 2020 by Verve Zine, Inc.



CONTENTS. Murli Dhir_____________________________________________________________ 3 Chante Garcia_________________________________________________________5 Jameela Mahazi_______________________________________________________ 7 Maya Hodge___________________________________________________________10 Kavil Patel____________________________________________________________ 6 Oscar O’Shea_________________________________________________________ 18 Kelly Maree___________________________________________________________ 20 Loughie Foley__________________________________________________________22 Sophie Dickinson______________________________________________________ 26 Ivy Rose_______________________________________________________________29 Anonymous___________________________________________________________ 30 Rowena Lloyd__________________________________________________________32 Liam Diviney___________________________________________________________33 Christopher Phung_____________________________________________________34 Anonymous___________________________________________________________ 38 Sophie-Anne Mwangi__________________________________________________ 40 Odessa Blain__________________________________________________________ 42 Maggie Zhu___________________________________________________________ 46 Aisling Samuel_________________________________________________________48 Grace Ware___________________________________________________________ 49 Benjamin Armstrong___________________________________________________ 50 Moksha_______________________________________________________________53 Kelly Herbison_________________________________________________________54 Jacqueline Meng_______________________________________________________57 Eben Ejdne____________________________________________________________ 59 Anonymous___________________________________________________________ 60 Teddy Smith___________________________________________________________ 62 Wen Chen_____________________________________________________________64 Josephine Mead_______________________________________________________ 68 Robin Gibson__________________________________________________________ 70 Thorsten Hertog, Jemma Cole & Sam Whiteside (SOFT CENTRE)____________ 74 Monique Araujo_______________________________________________________ 76 Rebeca Sacchero______________________________________________________80 Vessel Collective______________________________________________________ 82





We want to acknowledge that these works have been created, compiled and curated on stolen Aboriginal land. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands upon which this issue was created and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge that our privilege defines our ability to find the time, resources and energy necessary for creating an online issue. There is a lot wrong with the status-quo. Racial, class, gender injustice continue to shape the right to live a life. Here in ‘Australia’, occupying the position of responding to and reflecting on a crisis cannot ignore the ongoing hardship that is unequally shared across our society and world. We are asking our readers to please donate to the Barpirdhila foundation’s Covid-19 appeal, a community-lead effort to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island artists affected by the coronavirus pandemic. 10


Maya Hodge.

Escaping the noise, the isolation and the stagnant cement sidewalks to walk through this old Country brings me a sense of tranquility I haven’t felt in months. We surround ourselves in Wurundjeri Country and with friends. Laughter bounces from the trees and we stand at the edge of the cliff looking out at the vast valley below. The bone-white trees reach up like skeletal hands to the sky.



We sit together outside in the morning frost, our coffee steaming in the winter sunlight. Breathing in and out, we both try to calm our busy minds as the last couple of months radiate off our bodies. We sit together in the glow of the rising sun together and speak softly to one another. As we wake up like the white lilies in the garden begin to unfurl, the others join

The spindly trees stretch the skyline. The bark wraps the body of the tree and reminds me of soft wrinkles in a creased brow. Wintertime puts the trees into a light sleep and crosshatch the horizon. Specks of green peep out from the branches to tell us they will wake up soon.

us in the garden. Breathing in and out, we take a collective sigh as the last few months drain from our muscle and bone into the fresh swirls of condensation. Thaw our bodies and our minds. Seep into the earth below us and breathe in the love of Country. 14


Scan this QR code with your phone. It’ll take you to a soft and emotive mix recorded by Kavil Patel titled Reverie for Piano. Headphones in! We want you to listen to the mix as you read the issue.

Reveries for Piano Kavil Patel _______________________________________ Grace Ferguson – barnumbirr Tangerine – Spiral [Forthcoming] François Rossignol - Un cardinal à ma fenêtre John Arndt – Sixteen Mary Fleming plays Debussy - Les collines d'Annacapri Mary Speer plays Debussy - Arabesque No. 1 York Bowen - Reverie, Op. 86 Tobias Wilden - Sketch 10 Hania Rani – Luka Marta Cascales Alimbau – Contigo Marta Cascales Alimbau – Vuelvo T.C. Edwards – Awe Robert Haigh – Progressive Music Sicu – Object Or Observer Sicu - da da da da da and some pretty dresses Haley Myers - Interlude Jacob Pavek – Circulation Sophia Subbayya Vastek plays Lili Boulanger – Cortège



Photography 18

by Oscar O’Shea, 2020.

“In the days before COVID began to dominate every conversation I had, word was already spreading of ever more extreme measures on the horizon.”- Loughie Foley


Kelly Maree.


Image: Oscar O'shea


Half stale almonds toss about my mouth as I reminisce on times of feeling full feeling satisfied, feeling something. I spoke to the lizard on my wall this morning we’ve grown to become good friends. We stare at each other for hours sometimes. We stare at the wall blankly. The golden light, luminescent in the hallway, has started getting familiar. The empty sound of imminent regret, the empty sounds of words unsaid. You still linger delicately, as days go on drowning out my voice of reason. I fall dangerously close to the inevitable descent of empty sounds and words unsaid. 21

Loughie Foley.

unending cycle of crisis which was met not with change but austerity and an intensification of what was causing the crisis to begin with. Instead, Covid seemed to be opening new discursive channels. New ideas were being proposed and coming to the forefront. It seemed the psychosis of neoliberalism was, at last, coming to an end.

“Everybody knows that the dice are loaded Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed Everybody knows the war is over Everybody knows the good guys lost Everybody knows the fight was fixed The poor stay poor, the rich get rich That's how it goes Everybody knows”

In March I Thought the World Would Change.

Leonard Cohen, “Everybody Knows”


n March, I thought the world would change. Well, not initially, but before I knew it I felt like I was standing on the precipice of total change. At first, I groaned at the moral panic from my ivory tower. Bemoaned it as opportunistic media fear-mongering at best, and a looming state of exception at the worst. My fears were that the government would overreach - more surveillance, more lockdowns, more scapegoating of immigrants. Morrison would finally have his chance to gut the right to protest over a slightly more virulent strain of the flu. Horror stories from China and then Italy barely registered for me. After all, I thought that authorities had become better at handling disease outbreaks... and the disease had a low fatality rate - right? It’s hard to say exactly when the threat became real for me. But, it seemed that everyone I knew realised at the same time. Standing at the Clyde Hotel with friends, realising that it may be the last time I would be with them for months or maybe even years, I got roaringly drunk and wished everyone safety. In the days before COVID began to dominate every conversation I had, word was already spreading of ever more extreme measures on the horizon. While visiting friends interstate the legal gathering size plummeted from a hundred, to ten, to five, in the span of days. University had gone online, and the radio was whispering “Depression”. The ambient terror that had been building became overwhelming. I live with my grandparents and great grandmother. What would happen to them if

I contracted the disease? But amidst it all - hope. A stimulus package that seemed like little more than another cynical way to give businesses money was followed by boosts to welfare, cooperation between states, and evidencebased policy. It began to seem that politics of austerity were fading away. Covid-19 appeared as a wrecking ball, an exogenous shock that displaced the ordinary and exposed the vast cracks in the foundations of normalcy. When faced with a crisis, the government had no choice but to address the contradictions we took for granted. Casualisation, insufficient welfare, the housing crisis, all these things had come to the forefront. The options were collapse or a return to the Keynesian welfare state. To further beat a dead reference: “The centre cannot hold”. The sense that the world could be different, that action was indeed possible - this filled me with hope. For the first time in my life, politicians were placing human need, not economic growth, at the forefront of policy. The policy positions of Corbyn and Sanders, deemed insane in the UK and US just months prior, were now being spouted by conservative politicians. Mainstream media personalities were talking about the end of neoliberalism and how the pursuit of profit at all costs had left the world incapable of responding to a crisis. Although much of this rhetoric focused on a revival of domestic manufacturing, thus still adhering to ideas of nation and sovereignty, it was still significant insofar as it was different to the neoliberal norm. The neoliberal norm of an


More than a return to an imperfect welfare state, it appeared to be a turning point. A catalyst for systemic change. It would become apparent that the old system had failed, and would fail again, necessitating rapid action. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. Questions of race and gender were left largely uninterrogated - bar some discussions of undocumented workers and the disproportionate impact the pandemic would have on migrant communities. However, discussions of decisive state action and welfare boosts were unimaginable just months before. Further, if Queer activism has taught us anything, it’s that a small push towards equality can gain momentum very quickly. That is, moving from a marginalised minority and media punchline to marriage equality in 15 years. I was beginning to feel that a better future could materialise, that we could reform the system and tackle climate change just before the point of no return. And that was something I haven’t felt in a long time. And yet, months later, I am no longer sure. For, between the terror and subsequent relief, I had forgotten the most basic of my beliefs. Deeply entrenched structures of power, cannot be overturned by goodwill and the force of ideas alone. Very quickly, governmental rhetoric of putting people above profit began to evaporate, and well-practiced lines of economic growth and employment returned to the fore. The budget deficit, an instrument cynically deployed by the Liberal Party to preserve the status quo now looms large once more. For me the American response marked a turning point. A pivot from the possibility of change back to a grim reiteration of the status quo. I’m always cautious about over-extensive analyses of American politics as I often find they can distract people from prescient domestic issues. Many people I know can list Trump’s misdemeanours to an encyclopedic degree of accuracy. And many will decry racism in the United States while knowing next to nothing about Scott Morrison’s attacks on protest and unions or the hyper-incarceration of Indigenous Australians. I myself am and have been guilty of this tendency, so I’m well aware it’s like pointing to a house that’s on


before Covid-19 are those who have been struck the hardest, situated in a system which operates at their expense. In this dire situation of suffering, set only to increase as the virus starts impacting nations in the “global South”( that have and continue to be ravaged by colonialism), it seems that things are not set to change. It seems, instead, that we will continue to hurtle from crisis to crisis, with the most vulnerable left to bear the brunt until, eventually, no amount of privilege can withstand it.

fire while ignoring that your own living room is ablaze and that the AFP keeps raiding your dresser. However, it seems relevant in this case, as Covid was a global crisis and they, as the most powerful nation in the world, are usually looked to in times of turmoil. America stormed to the centre of the international stage and tripped, tumbled over itself, and cracked its skull open. Where elsewhere, swift action seemed to finally lend credence to the lofty claims of liberal democracy, the United States demonstrated every shortcoming imaginable. An upcoming election which would be won on Trump’s ability to deliver jobs and mobilise a radical base sent the administration into anarchy. From flatly lying about the crisis; to whipping up protests against lockdown with a parodic simulacra of gun control concerns; to promoting scepticism about Covid-19; to supporting a fake cure; to most recently totally fabricating a corruption scandal dubbed “Obamagate”; Trump has acted precisely how he did prior to the crisis. What’s more, troublingly, he has called for states to reopen and effectively thrown temper tantrums when they would not comply. With cases skyrocketing as the White House remained in denial the US did what the world thought was impossible. They did nothing. The most well-funded death cult in the world, the Republican Party, and the state propaganda instrument, Fox News, flew into a fury about the economy. If people did not get back to work, they cried, the America they know and love would not be saved for their children. Ignoring the obvious insanity of suggesting that a temporary downtick in economic growth would immediately and wholly destroy the United States, these protestations are, coincidentally, a much stronger reason to support action on climate change. The gig economy must really be something!

However, to grow fatalistic is dangerous. Coronavirus may not have destroyed capitalism. It may not have solved climate change. It may not have even changed society in a lasting way. But, it has shaken the status quo. This moment is one to organise around. The coronavirus has powerfully, succinctly, and elegantly exposed contradictions in neoliberalism that have seemed only to intensify over the past few years. I suspect it will do much more. I am choosing my words carefully here. Covid-19 has unleashed a maelstrom of suffering onto the world. I suspect that it will continue to do so, and it is in no way a good thing. However, it could yet prove to be a critical juncture. What forms resistance should or will take are beyond me. To learn from this crisis is the most important thing we can do in response to it. As I write this Cyclone Amphan has struck Bangladesh, unleashing yet more suffering onto the world in a year wracked by a seemingly unending stream of horrors. As I edit this, people across the globe have taken to the streets to protest the death of George Floyd and oppose racism. Even at the height of suffering, people are rising to fight for their beliefs. To fight for a better world. However, the Australian bushfires, the cyclone and even Covid-19 can all be traced back to global warming and such events will become increasingly frequent as it intensifies. Covid-19 is a crisis and a tragedy. However, if no action is taken, as it seems none will be, it will be but one of many crises and tragedies on our way to total oblivion.

The contradictions in Australia, casualisation, an anaemic welfare state and pathological fixation on balancing a budget at all costs all seemed to vanish at once. The contradictions in the US (much the same as Australia, but intensified) and the vampiric apparatus they call a healthcare system were simply not resolved. As Trump proved, it was possible to ignore the crisis and simply leave people to die. If there is an egalitarian future (a possibility that seems more remote by the day) then the American response to coronavirus will doubtless be remembered as the height of capitalist insanity although not barbarity.

Image Credit: Dustin Hefford

To suggest that the Americans somehow led this reversal of change is to fall into the same trap I mentioned earlier. The mistake of believing that ideas alone guide history and policy. However, what the American example does demonstrate is how powerful systemic forces can be. The coronavirus is an exogenous shock, but it has not uprooted deeply entrenched structures of power and privilege. Those who were the most vulnerable



“This portrait depicts the moment we perceived our pantry as something vulnerable and our rent as a looming tsunami. It's also the moment when we came together.�

Emer gency Only! !


Sophie Dickinson is a practicing artist, based in Naarm 26


“Dress up, do your makeup, be a princess, prance around the house. Do it for yourself. No one has to see, no one has to validate you, you don’t need a reason. Your house is your castle and you are the princess. At least that’s the revelation I got from being cooped up inside due to isolation, and boy is being a little selfindulgent fun.”

Iv y R o se . 28






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March 2020 Monday 02 Mar 2020 07:41 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 1 of the week -$1.86 09:03 Sydney Uni Footbridge > Parramatta Rd at Park St Journey 2 of the week -$1.86 12:40 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 3 of the week -$1.86 14:05 Sydney Uni Footbridge Unknown Tap off not detected -$1.86 17:16 Lewisham > Central Journey 5 of the week -$0.56 18:54 Central > Lewisham $0.00 Tuesday 03 Mar 2020 10:06 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Parramatta Rd af Mallett Journey 6 of the week -$1.12 10:06 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1694 $10.00 16:07 City Rd bf Butlin Ave > Addison Rd at Neville St Journey 7 of the week -$1.86 16:49 Stanmore > Lewisham Journey 7 of the week -$0.80 Wednesday 04 Mar 2020 08:47 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 8 of the week -$1.86 15:03 Sydney Uni Footbridge > Lewisham Hotel Journey 9 of the week -$0.93 Friday 06 Mar 2020 10:00 Lewisham > Stanmore Journey 10 of the week -$0.63 11:02 Stanmore > Lewisham Journey 10 of the week $0.00 21:01 Lewisham > Newtown Journey 11 of the week -$0.63 23:50 Newtown > Lewisham Journey 12 of the week -$0.63 Saturday 07 Mar 2020 19:19 Lewisham > Museum Journey 13 of the week -$0.63 Sunday 08 Mar 2020 16:28 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 14 of the week -$0.93 18:29 Sydney Uni Ross St Gate > Lewisham Hotel Journey 15 of the week -$0.93 Monday 09 Mar 2020 07:45 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 1 of the week -$1.86 11:51 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Ross St Gate Journey 2 of the week -$1.86 11:51 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1722 $10.00 14:23 Sydney Uni Footbridge > Lewisham Hotel Journey 3 of the week -$1.86 11:51 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1722 $10.00 Tuesday 10 Mar 2020 11:49 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 4 of the week -$1.86 16:09 Sydney Uni Footbridge > Lewisham Hotel Journey 5 of the week -$1.86 Wednesday 11 Mar 2020 08:45 Parramatta Rd af Flood > Sydney Uni Footbridge Journey 6 of the week -$1.86 08:58 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1732 $10.00 14:50 Sydney Uni Footbridge > Lewisham Hotel Journey 7 of the week -$1.86 16:22 Lewisham > Town Hall Journey 8 of the week -$1.80 19:03 Central > Lewisham Journey 9 of the week -$0.63 Thursday 12 Mar 2020 13:40 Lewisham > Newtown Journey 10 of the week -$0.63 17:28 Newtown > Lewisham Journey 11 of the week -$0.90 19:47 Lewisham > Central Journey 12 of the week -$0.63 23:03 Taylor Square > Crown St at Albion St Journey 13 of the week -$0.56 23:35 Central Station Stand M > Lewisham Hotel Journey 13 of the week -$0.37 Friday 13 Mar 2020 10:30 Lewisham > Newtown Journey 14 of the week -$0.63 10:47 Newtown Station > IKEA Journey 14 of the week -$0.06 10:58 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1754 $5.00 11:21 Sydenham > Town Hall Journey 14 of the week -$0.13 11:55 Town Hall > Lewisham Journey 14 of the week $0.00 Sunday 15 Mar 2020 10:43 Taverners Hill LR > Rozelle Bay LR Journey 15 of the week -$0.93 11:03 Rozelle Bay LR > Marion LR Journey 15 of the week $0.00 12:14 Lewisham > Newtown Journey 16 of the week -$0.63 12:55 Newtown > Lewisham Journey 16 of the week $0.00 Saturday 21 Mar 2020 13:14 Stanmore > Lewisham Journey 1 of the week -$1.26 May 2020 Saturday 09 May 2020 14:36 Stanmore > Wynyard Journey 1 of the week -$1.26 16:51 Wynyard > Stanmore Journey 2 of the week -$1.26 16:51 Top up - Opal Travel App Transaction no. 1772 $10.00 Sunday 10 May 2020 10:08 Stanmore > Wyee Journey 3 of the week -$2.80 Tuesday 12 May 2020 17:24 Wyee > Stanmore Journey 1 of the week -$4.43 Saturday 16 May 2020 12:21 Stanmore > Milsons Point Journey 2 of the week -$1.56 15:34 Milsons > Point Stanmore Journey 3 of the week -$1.56 Sunday 17 May 2020 16:36 Stanmore > Museum Journey 4 of the week -$1.26


Stories of Searching. Christopher


We laugh. We drink tea together. Some moments we sit quietly. Bathing in the stillness of each other's presence. A mutual space in search of normality amongst the external conditions beyond. A ritual evoking a sense of timelessness. It was in that moment that I felt myself unravelling, as I so often do. It’s so strange how, on the outside I continue to perform that person I'm supposed to be. The person you know. Yet, outside of your gaze, I feel an unshakable aching in my chest. The visceral sensation that multiple worlds are colliding. Multiple consciousnesses grappling simultaneously. Trying desperately to understand a constellation of agony so close, yet far away. A pain I’m not yet capable of completely feeling. A complex of unknown emotions, entangles messily.

perhaps momentarily I become trapped in the fantasy in which we exist as isolated entities. Feeling the sinking sense of hopelessness which extends throughout my body. I know that the depths of this pain has much deeper roots. Interconnected to so much more that has come before me. Our ancestors. Each breath I take is a bridge to the deeper truth of our interbeing. Breathing in, I am aware of my whole body. Breathing out, I embrace your presence within me.

Gazing out the window, I feel alone. Hollow. I’m floating above the vacant vessel of my body. The strangers walking past may as well exist in far away galaxies.



The night before, You and I had dinner only a metre apart. Yet also with worlds between us, An ocean you risked your life to cross. To give me a life you could never fathom. All the love I have cultivated, is from the heart you gave me. But you forgot to tell me that there was an anaesthetised wound. Perhaps because you had lost the feeling long ago...

I’ve realised that time doesn’t move in the way we were taught.

The past, present, future linear time scale,

You told me stories of how you overcame.

A colonial fantasy.

How you excelled in the face of difficulty.

A mode of thought in which we prefer to forget not so distant days.

I came into this world with the and perseverance of your oral

strength testimonies.

Your words gave me eyes to see the worlds you warped between. I bear witness to your distorted body and soul. How you recalibrated, edited and made sense of what had happened.

A cultural amnesia. A silencing of the pain which still is. A false promise of eventual freedom. Where we prefer to live in a utopia of the future.

The missing details of your story lie as the anaesthetised wound in our hearts.

But if we refuse to remember what we once did to each other in the past, how can we truly begin to heal the pain which still exists in the present moment?

The numbness through years of exclusion and fear.

We become lost as time travellers.

Scarred into our flesh.

Searching for fragments of ourselves.

But I always knew there were parts you left out.

Its nascent rawness yet to find healing through the passage of time. Interiorised into the hearts we’re both still trying to feel with.


The non-stop radio blaring in the background will only temporarily distract us.


that I had a small, premature baby which I kept swaddling. But I could never do it properly, so I would have to swaddle, unswaddle, swaddle, unswaddle. / Mother wounds – Foul, complete, alchemised. I must come home to her. Projections, rejections, An intricacy of self and other, Daughter and mother. I have pushed her away, repulsed by the parts of myself I see in her. Disgusted, angry at her pain Which is mine to hold, To carry and birth. / The rest of this morning floated, was coated in elation. I felt joy. Crystalline, uncomplicated Joy. / We have this way of coming together. We spoke of family lineage, the futility of human existence (but the miracle that we find joy anyway), sex, neo-colonialism, fashion, identity. Conversation took the form of a fourth presence: fluid and assertive, we carved our way around it in the sleepy pattern of our shared presence, into the early hours. /

i m e a nd


Folded in a neat bed smell. / I woke today in acrid, seething rage. / Time and space feel malleable, like the world’s walls are loose and doughy. / We’ve been thrown into this different pace, in the spiral of my own rhythms now. Simplified, the small beauty is amplified. / I couldn’t sleep, so I took myself outside. Breathed in moonlight and the earth’s wide milk. / Do I assert myself enough? Do I lay myself down to provide a platform for others? / The nature of time has changed. It expands, contracts. Promises languid days filled with loved things, and leaves me empty-handed. Suddenly it’s dark. / Had a chat to our neighbour Paul over the fence. Lent him a straight line lever thing (what the fuck? I’ve completely forgotten its name?? Like a sideways thermometer. FUCK. SPIRIT LEVEL. SPIRIT LEVEL.) / Last night I dreamt

l. a journ


p rom a f s t c a r t Ex



In the Beginning- Sophie-Anne Mwangi

Sophie-Anne Mwangi's film wishes to explore stories of people who feel out of place and out casted with the intention of empowering them as those are feelings she empathises with greatly.

41 40


n her first live broadcast from home, Ellen Degeneres sat ready to address the audience from her multimillion dollar Santa Barbara mansion. Degeneres began with this now infamous remark: “One thing that I’ve learned from being in quarantine is that people – this is like being in jail, is what it is.” Degeneres is far from the first celebrity accused of being “tone deaf” during this pandemic. We have Madonna, languishing in a milky bath, ensconced within the confines of her Lisbon mansion, claiming Covid-19 bears one fundamental justice: it is “the great equalizer.” Meanwhile, the singer-songwriter, Keri Hilson, tweeted a now widespread conspiracy theory: the connection between Covid-19 and 5G radiation. And let us not forget the musician M.I.A’s remarks: “If I have to choose the vaccine or chip I’m gonna choose death – YALA,” she writes, referring to the 2013 song “Y.A.L.A.” (short for “You Always Live Again”). But this list of gaffes (if we can deem them as such) continues. Jared Leto announces that he is ready to tackle the pandemic – but only after emerging from his twelve day private meditation retreat; Vanessa Hudgens vents her frustration about the possibility of an extended quarantine period, "'Till July sounds like a bunch of bullshit. I'm sorry, but, like, it's a virus … even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die, which is

An Unwelcomed Spotlight? - Odessa Blain


terrible but, like … inevitable?”; the actress and model, Gal Gadot, leading a choir of fellow-celebrities to sing along in a saccharine – at best – version of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” all safely enclosed in their mansions, all with easy access to those coronavirus testing kits which so many Americans are begging for, all chanting for us to “imagine” a world with “no possessions”. The irony here is palpable. When faced with these snippets of current celebrity responses, headlines such as the NY Times’ “Celebrity Culture is Burning” or the Guardian’s “Celebrities, coronavirus has exposed how irrelevant you have become” are far from unexpected. Particularly in America. Where, if anything, Covid-19 has proved to be far from “the great equalizer.” Instead it is shining a light on the deep inequalities which scar this nation – one founded on the belief “that all men are created equal,” endowed with their “unalienable rights” of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Those famous words, drafted by a man who possessed close to 200 slaves. And the legacy of this “blindness,” of these lofty statements and imagined ideals, lives on. This virus is exposing a system which is broken. It is exposing the danger inherent in any country which considers the notion of free health care as a “radical” or “socialist” ideal, rather than a fundamental human 42

right. Sentiments of rage and grief which are so well expressed by a young AfricanAmerican journalist – Mara Gay – who, despite being an active 33 year-old, with no pre-existing health conditions, found herself in hospital and on the cusp of death: "Why are more people dying of this disease in the United States than in anywhere else in the world? Because we live in a broken country, with a broken health care system. Because even though people of all races and backgrounds are suffering, the disease in the United States has hit black and brown and Indigenous people the hardest, and we are seen as expendable. I wonder how many people have died not necessarily because of the virus but because this country failed them and left them to fend for themselves. That is the grief for me now, that is the guilt and the rage. As I began to recover, others died ..." And these pre-existing wealth disparities are perhaps seen nowhere clearer than in Gay’s home of New York City. Here, we observe photos of the wealthiest burrough, Manhattan, which is now virtually a ghost town. Its residential population has decreased by over 40%, with those fortunate enough to own a second (or third, or fourth) home fleeing to their weekend properties in Long Island, Connecticut, Cape Cod … Whereas, New York 14, the district represented by leftwing superstar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, only a few subway stops away from the wealthiest of the wealthy, faced the worst coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. A district which encompasses the mainly workingclass suburbs of the Bronx and Queens. A district which has – as of mid-April 43

– already suffered more deaths at the hands of Covid-19 than occurred during 9/11. A vibrant and multi-cultural district where immigrants make up more than 40% of the population, and more than 200 languages are spoken.

And yet, rather than simply reaching for hyperboles, rather than merely clinging onto beliefs that this virus will somehow cause the death of celebrities and the permanent exposure of Hollywood’s vacuousness, we should also be taking a long hard look at ourselves. We should be reflecting on the culture we have built and so readily participate in. It is not like the end of Covid-19 will result in the demise of the paparazzi, the gossip, and the guilty pleasure of observing the lives of the rich and the famous. Celebrity culture may be burning now, but it will re-emerge, rising from the ashes – if I am to continue on with this well-worn metaphor, espoused by countless headlines. Saying this, I am aware that many of the rich and famous will be relishing in the lack of spotlight, swarms of paparazzi, or (dare it be mentioned) a chance to miss the annual Met Gala. However, this sudden backlash has led me to think. Why is it now more than ever that celebrities’ views are disregarded or scorned? And how does this reflect upon us as a society? A society founded on the cult of celebrity. A society which is more interested in the love interests of singers rather than the songs they produce; a society where models can become instant world-wide names; a society where actors are famed not for their skill, but for their last redcarpet outfit, or sudden weight gain. A society so capricious – one which stalks, admires, and then scorns these people: at one moment praising them as ideal “role-models,” and soon after making jokes about whomever is the next rehab casualty.

When faced with these realities, this backlash against celebrity culture is hardly surprising: we see the hyperbolic headlines, the angry comments on social media feeds. And we all know the dangers of celebrities acting as politicians – how those lines are now more than ever blurred in this strange and terrifying Trump-era of ours. But we also see a new form of celebrity emerging in governors such as Gavin Newsom of California, mayors like Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, and public health experts who are now household names – think Dr Fauci, to name the obvious. These figures have become widely respected sources of information, hope, and unvarnished truth. Truth grounded in facts, data, and scientific reality. A truth which is hard to bear. But a truth that should not – and cannot – be ignored. The jobs of celebrities are not those of leaders or government officials. Of course, many possess incredible wealth and power. And this wealth can – and often is – used for good. For philanthropic causes. But this should not make them role models nor should it make them quasi-politicians. Instead, if there is one thing I have learnt from this pandemic, it is the importance of political leadership. Leadership by politicians who know how government and bureaucracy works, who know its complexities, and the incredible weight their decisions carry. 44

I do not have a crystal ball. I cannot predict what will emerge in the wake of this era. But I do feel that it is fundamentally naive to say that this pandemic will result in the demise of celebrity culture. Instead, the questions I am asking extend beyond this so-called “celebrity culture.” This is because we too are a part of this culture. It is one we have encouraged and now find ourselves immersed in. We live in a society where celebrities do have power and influence. And their social media platforms can be catalysts for a multitude of worthy causes. But is this their role as public figures? And, maybe, we should be asking ourselves – without, perhaps, the need of a Jared Leto style twelve day meditation retreat – why is it that now, more than ever, that we find these people, who we once lauded for espousing specific causes, transformed into the object of so much scorn? What is it about this pandemic, this particular crisis, which has been a catalyst for this? And what does this say about us all: what does this say about the society which we have built, which we belong to, and which we all too readily participate in?

Image Credit: Harry Burmeister.


(Maggie Zhu) MAGGZ

Relativity pt.2 - plastretch plastretch - relativity between locations and objects pt.2. looking into repurposing normality during quarantine. “plastretch examines the relationship between plastic waste and clothes’ appearance, both with rather mundane purposes in our everyday life; however, this selectiveness could be played with and diversified, with intention and reflection, as to redefine the human.”

Relativity pt.1 - papercorner papercorner - relativity between locations and objects.

intervention in relation to others. sound by @mr20syl @allttamusic @mrjmedeiros - i got one

looking into the nuances of normality and how it’s constantly being redefined in response to different contexts, some reflections during quarantine.

Relativity pt.3 - exteriord

“papercorner examines the relationship between paper and a forgotten corner in my house. It’s about insignificant existences and my appreciation for nuance.”

exteriord - relativity between locations and objects pt.3. different means to support during quarantine.

sound by @anatolemusic - only one

Presents Relativity pt.1, 2 and 3

“exteriord examines the relationship between cardboard and desks, both serve multiple purpose, emphasising the exterior indicating a primary functionality; but what’s contained within the external? how to navigate the focus to the inner core? to stillness and to the centre? to honour the internal being?” sound by @jessiereyez @6lack imported




Caught between a rock and a hard place, Such a cliché. But yet, the capacity to aptly describe An entangled state of mind. Betwixt and between, The alliteration upon my lips does not aid. I’ll choose the direction of the rock. The rock is at least movable, Its edges have endings. A hard place is incorporeal, I conjure towering walls With no end in sight. A hard place is intangible, What is it that makes it so? Perhaps it is formed by mythic Materials or faraway galaxies. This place, which is so unnervingly unwelcome. I am sailing between Scylla and Charybdis. Yes, I will choose the rock over The hard place any day









A physical metaphor for an Immaterial problem. The rock is at least malleable, But chiselling words only create sharp edges. Waterfalls may take longer, but The stone becomes smoother. Yet time is a luxury (another cliché) And sometimes trickling words Only sooth gaping wounds. What if I didn’t move? The path of least (no) resistance, Be the ‘and’ between the Rock and the hard place. Then the rock isn’t malleable. No chisels. No water to metamorphosize its edges. Stuck. Not a solution. Time to apply trickling words. The rock will wear one day.



(don’t) t o u c h BENJ AMIN ARM STRO NG.

m e !

T he foundations of physicality buttressing my relationships, encouraging people to like me and in turn making me like them... have gone.

I met up with a good friend today. We went for a long walk to the top of a mountain with views all around Canberra. This friend has a particular turn of phrase I try to emulate but can never quite master. She uses obscure words – like ‘chagrin’ or ‘incongruent’ or ‘refreshments’ – in a natural way. They seem to fit into her vernacular easily, like a jigsaw piece fitting into place. We panted and puffed our way up the craggy slope, bitching as we went. The air was clear blue, cold. Our laughter, raucous. I never laugh with her in a faking-it sort of way. I always cackle. Because I see her like this, as someone whose company is easy and familiar, I surprised myself when, landed in her doorway, I didn’t know how to greet her. Should I extend an elbow bump, or maybe a wide, unassured smile? Uncomfortable eye contact, or look away altogether? In the end, I emitted an undecided laugh and elbowed her, a little too hard, in the upper arm – after all, I had missed her! Finding myself hesitating like that before an act that should be impulsive is what has socially crippled me in the last few months. The time I spend calculating the intent of micro-reactions – searching my friends’ faces for a glimmer of a sign that they consider me worth the risk of a quick touch, is oddly jarring. The smooth milk of my social language has been curdled. When I indulged in a (legal) Bunnings rendezvous with a friend last weekend, we both had to sheepishly admit to our deep discomfort at being in one another’s presence. Not because we don’t know or like each other, but because we had genuinely forgotten how to act.

I’ve been dislodged. The way I make meaning in the world and spice up my life has been robbed of me. I can’t slap, tickle, squeeze or kiss. The foundations of physicality buttressing my relationships, encouraging people to like me and in turn making me like them... have gone. It won’t be like this forever. And as restrictions ease, I’m going to try to remember the silent value that I, and many others, attach to the simple graze of one warm body against another. But frankly, once I can guiltlessly slather another person with some skin on skin affection, I think I may have forgotten all about how important those little, mincing tip-taps that happen between humans really are. Sigh – in the words of Joni Mitchell: ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’. And then when it’s back, who even cares why it left in the first place? Let’s eat! Standing in my friend’s street-facing doorway, she and I made quick eye contact. We both, like shifty rabbits, glanced up and down the street. I said goodbye. We touched cheeks. I quickly moved to my car, got in, and drove home. When I pulled into the garage, I still felt warm.

I know I’m a bit naughty (or bad) for thinking like this – as they say, it’s only short term pain for long term gain. Of course, in all seriousness I know and accept the responsibility that falls on all of us to preserve public health, and I have been good. I’m a front-line worker for goodness sakes’! Hand sanitiser is my natural bedfellow. But this mode I find myself in is still so strange – why? It isn’t like that for everyone. A close friend, a selfproclaimed introvert riding her Honours thesis train, is happier than she has ever been. Another friend has launched a new Zoom based social career. It works for him, having spent the last three months in only a dressing gown. But for me, maybe the more flirtatious, vicarious and dependent of the three, has stalled.




“By draping the figure in long formless robes and removing the focal point of the human body Berlinghieri portrays Francis as spirit, exposing his bare feet to indicate Francis’ renouncement of material belonging and dedication to a strict life of fasting, prayer and meditation. I have chosen to illustrate energy fields around Francis and a representation of the human nervous system on the bottom right hand side. The six surrounding images ascend from animal to plant to symbol, each a representation of unity, love, rebirth, human evolution, beauty and connection to higher self.” “The image of a monk calls to mind the renouncement of material possessions and our own collective experience of submitting to a more simplistic life.”



Growing up, I knew a girl who changed her perfume every season. Her reason for doing so was more pragmatic than sentimental. A small way to infuse herself in time, as if its movement was given the go-ahead by the underside of her wrist. During lockdown, where (as we keep hearing) time feels as if it passes differently, I sit among the same objects each day. I contrive a new climate through similarly tactile means. Pushing my mattress into a different corner of my room offers a new perspective from which to understand the streetlamp, moon and fence outside my window. By negotiating sensory space, I carve new possibilities to break from routine. Nature-strips throughout my suburb seem continually spattered in hard rubbish during isolation, in what I cannot help but see as a way to usher in a new hour in the former home. Is this merely another manifestation of the ‘decluttering’ movement that has swept the wardrobes of many, a bid to distil necessity from the perceived overindulgence of possession? While decluttering is one way that people negotiate their occupation of space (namely, by minimising it) for a psychological benefit, there seems to be something more fundamental to the relationship between our sensory experiences and our occupation of a temporal moment. One that is all the more salient in isolation.

Tactile Matters and Synthesising Uncertainty Kelly Herbison


he relationship between bodies, space, and possibility has an obvious significance: when we are physically constrained, we can’t do things. However, such a reductive position overlooks what it actually feels like to be physically limited.

The relationship between bodies, space, and possibility has an obvious significance: when we are physically constrained, we can’t do things. However, such a reductive position overlooks what it actually feels like to be physically limited. Many phenomenologists have argued that space also has an existential significance, one which cannot be captured through merely physical and objective terms. Merleau-Ponty characterises our sense of space as a “field of presence. ” This field carries existential significance because, while it is imminently graspable through our physical conditions, it is characteristically indeterminate in its significance for a subject. Space doesn’t carry a readymade, immediate personal significance for us. The fact that the coffee shop is 500 steps away is certainly physically determinate, but it is indeterminate in its significance for me. This fact becomes personally significant when it figures into my personal projects. For instance, when the coffee shop’s location informs when I will visit it. Negotiating spacial indeterminacy causes objects in the field to emerge from indeterminacy as they take on meaning that is calibrated in reference to our personal projects. So, space has temporal meaning for me insofar as it provides me with

the possibilities to continue the projects that characterise my experience as a subject in the world. When our world is limited to our neighbourhood, how might this affect our ability to embody temporality, and hence experience ourselves? During this time, I have felt limited to a particularly anaemic version of myself. Despite our world feeling smaller than ever, it also feels deeply uncontrollable and impersonal. Drawing from Merleau-Ponty’s framework, we might say that our possibilities for acting have been physically constrained, thus eroding our abilities to engage with space in the meaning-making ways that typically characterise our experience of ourselves. Because I cannot extend my projects across space, I feel unable to realise myself in the same ways that I am usually able to. The absence of uncertainty leaves me feeling as if I have been relegated to an impersonal space. Or at least, as if I have been trapped in a space that may have been personally significant at some point, but that is now scaffolded in routines that I navigate through mere habit. I attempt to artificially conjure such uncertainty. I swap my décor around or purchase a new item that carries some sense of an opportunity, but such concrete solutions fail to satiate my need for expansiveness. The process of establishing self through negotiating indeterminacy can’t be contrived in such ways. I find myself reaching for an indulgence that is not timeless per se, but ambiguous in its temporality. I revive my Kraftwerk albums three weeks before Florian Schneider passes. Their exploratory electronica carves uncertain space with crystalline sheen. In it, I hear audio blueprints used to symbolise the future, common through pop-culture of the past. Schneider’s way of presenting music and conducting himself was characteristically ambiguous. In an interview in 2000, he sported a fake moustache and claimed to have invented ‘humanoid sequencers’ back in 1947 (Schneider himself was born in 1947). Aside from the peculiar theatrics typical of Schneider and his outfit, the profound way that they reorientated sound is somewhat unfathomable. In their use of the synthesiser, they not only pioneered electronic music, but also set the precedent for using synthetic sounds to symbolise uncertainty. The synth has long gestured towards uncertainty in its symbolism of the humanoid. There is a sense that what it creates is not dependent on humanness, profoundly altering the possibilities it signifies for us as human listeners. However, inhuman qualities alone do not captivate us in such expansive ways. After all, it’d take more than a couple of months in stage three lockdown before I reached for my calculator. So, what is it about the synth that allows it to signify human possibility in a way that other technological feats do not?


I think this is largely due to the cultural significance it is imbued with. It feels inseparable from outer-space, which, to people like me who don’t know much about it, feels immense,

Image: unknowable – a lingering object of fascination for human inquiry. Synths loom like swirling sonic reminders of electric futures, ones that have long been utilised by soundtracks of sci-fi films from years past. That decade-old use of the synth to motion towards the future casts a peculiar shadow both in front of and behind the present moment. Upon hearing the world’s first synthesiser – the telharmonium – Mark Twain said, “the trouble about these beautiful, novel things is that they interfere so with one's arrangements. Every time I see or hear a new wonder like this, I have to postpone my death right off.” During this time where we are bound to our homes at the behest of human frailty, perhaps the synth offers that same old promise of that humanly inhuman future. The rasp of human error is side-stepped for a gleaming feat of engineering that appears to be the pinnacle of sonic creation. In these electric soundscapes, I find an expansiveness that re-orientates me, like many before me, to a temporal uncertainty. To have oneself launched into electric uncertainty through the auditory offers respite from the limited tactile world of lockdown by suggesting that this is not all there is.The burgeoning winter brings those analogue sounds of rain and wind alongside the weakening of Stage Three restrictions; sounds to mark new times.


“Like a lot of people, knitting is my greatest discovery this lockdown. It is a craft which is historically undervalued and considered women's work or folk art (and therefore lower on the "Art" hierarchy). Knitting is powerful; it occupies a special place in traditional domestic history, but also has the power to become sites of resistance. Some knitting I've been looking at lately include the works of Haegue Yang, Caroline Wells Chandler, and traditional sock knitting in Turkey. This experimental knitting is my way of discovering the materiality of this craft, and understanding its potential in politics and society throughout history and today.�

Jacqueline Meng is

an Australian-Chinese artist based in Canberra. @j.m.e.n.g



“With physical contact less possible, and each day merging into one as we face this difficult time alone, we become more intertwined with who we present ourselves as online. Reality is slowly merging itself with the digital world, more so than ever before.�

Eben Ejdne is a

recent ANU Visual Arts and Science graduate currently residing in Naarm (Melbourne).






have never been more aware of my own mortality. I look into the eyes of others and take notice of the way they sparkle in the light - a watery humanism that serves as a reminder of what we know but don't dare speak. One day we will lose each other. One day we will say goodbye to everything we know - if we are lucky enough to have the foresight. That glisten will be gone and this is an inevitability. In accordance to this fact, we realise time is of incalculable worth. I promise myself I will never look back. From that moment on I owe it to myself to reflect into the now and untie myself from the past with every inhale - exhale. Now I laugh like I breathe and I cry like I laugh because I know it's important. Nothing sadder than a person with that sparkle but no tears. Teary typing about it. Do these deadlines even matter if the world is ending? Should I be catastrophizing this when the world has been set up to fail? Whose origin story is this? Why am I narrating it? Pan!c attacks feel like cardiac arrest and the fever chills are as if you’ve been dipped into a hole in the antarctic ice sheet. When your jaw tenses until you get a toothache. Your stomach ties itself into knots until it can't anymore. I thought valium was my biggest relief until I felt myself surrender to pain for the first time. It existed in an intense state of reality, I breathed as it washed away. Another reminder that everything that comes will go. I used to try so hard to look perfect, write perfectly, know everything. I stopped and realized I had done enough, existence is enough. We have all we need and we are blessed and cursed for any excess. I forgive myself for not using proper punctuation. I allow myself to give you my words unedited, unplanned, as honest as possible, written in the corner of my room, under my lamp, eyes slightly strained, posture uncorrected, 11:52pm. What makes you feel closest to yourself?

WHAT I DO KNOW IS I TOOK ONE GLANCE AT THE PAVEMENT I WAS ON AND I SAW A TURKISH RUG I KNOW IT WAS JUST THE MOONLIGHT SLICED BY TREE BRANCHES THAT ULTIMATELY CREATED MY VISION BUT Image: Nyssa Mitchell I think, fuck the white supremacist patriarchy, fuck yellow skittles, fuck the echo chamber, fuck the Israeli occupation of Palestine, fuck plastic straws, fuck gatekeepers, fuck neo-imperalism, fuck New Years Eve, fuck planned obsolescence. Fuck it. I hate that shit so much. I love opening my phone to songs from my friends. I love hearing my mother's voice, I'm privileged enough to be able to. I love shea butter after a hot shower. I love waking up and listening to myself breathing. I love that subtle electrical echo that happens after someone switches the TV off. I love staring into the mirror at myself until I no longer occupy my own body and remember everything is arbitrary. I love that lady at Coles who let’s me steal vegetables at the self-serve checkout. I love sleeping, recording my dreams in my notes and reading it back in the morning. It’s nice to indulge in the hate/love binary. My only wish is that everything in the world exists in the same way. I am sick of the grey and I adore its fluidity, does that make sense? Anyway... I would like to share something I once wrote with you. This is a parting note. Thanks for everything.



Teddy gRIFFITh.

“One of my art teachers said that the Covid-19 lockdown was, in a sense, the final point of modernity. That all technologies and systems had always strived for this mode of living: mediation, distance, solitude. I contact someone I’ve been seeing through text messages. They are clumsy and formal and I don’t know how to communicate in the way I mean to. I have video chats with my friends. We all look at our own image on the screen while talking to each other. Video chats are like skim milk; they only draw attention to what is being substituted. Art-making feels the same, though the work becomes smaller, slower, more private and more personal in isolation. These works I’ve made are smaller than usual.”



When I first heard the news that there were rallies in America protesting the lockdown measures and that some of those protesters were linking 5G to COVID-19, I dismissed it as just another fringe conspiracy. Then, there were people in Melbourne and Sydney also protesting lockdown measures and making the same claims. One of my friends also posted a documentary made by David Icke, who I later learned is a former UK footballer and conspiracy theorist who espouses the claim that 5G is linked to COVID-19. Since then, I’ve come to realise that there are more people around me who are committed to these conspiratorial beliefs. I quickly realised just how prevalent these beliefs are. This made me want to find out what claims are actually being made and what the rationales might be for believing in them, so I had a look at a few sites that are warning against the dangers of 5G. I found that claims about the link between COVID-19 and 5G range from the more moderate version of radiation weakening the immune system and making us more susceptible to infections, to the more extreme version of 5G radiation outright causing COVID-19. One of the most hardline versions I came across was an article from David Icke's website, which claimed that 5G is a form of Directed Energy Weapon, and that it was initially tested on animals “in the hopes of finding a weapon”. The articles from and related sites form an elaborate, semicoherent narrative about a “transhumanist synthetic agenda”. The story runs roughly like this: Event 201, a novel coronavirus pandemic simulation hosted by Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security in partnership with the World Economic Forum and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on 18 October 2019 uncannily anticipated the subsequent global pandemic. On the same day, the World Military Games began in Wuhan, China, which saw the first mass roll out of 5G technology. What does this tell us? According to the conspiracy theorists, these are signs that Bill Gates has an agenda of world domination, which he is implementing by creating a pandemic to throw everyone into panic. Gates can then use coronavirus

vaccines to alter our genome and to achieve mind control. Mask-wearing is part of the effort to dehumanise us so that we become soulless minions for Mr. Gates. Contact tracing and phasing out cash are also steps towards total surveillance and control of the global population. Basically, these two (real) events supposedly reveal a Matrixstyle global conspiracy that is actually happening before our very eyes (I can’t help but notice that many of the sites actually use language from The Matrix, such as “blue pill people”). Even though I’ve been trying to remain impartial, I have to say at this point that the sites looked incredibly dodgy. They often attempt to create an image of rigour and legitimacy through using phrases like “numerous studies have found that” and through extensive external references in the forms of hyperlinks. I had a look at some of the hyperlinks and most of them lead you to other conspiracy sites with spooky images and flashy titles, such as this one and this one. Some of the claims sound frankly ridiculous. I almost laughed when I read in The Freedom Articles, that there is “some sort of virus or distorted force that has hacked the source and digital-genetic code of life itself - and is madly spewing out an inferior version of everything” and that it will one day “entrain us onto its frequency, and transform us into a hybrid species that will no longer be able to be called human”.

Many of the sites didn’t even try to hide their vested interest. The website warns against the danger of 5G and any telecommunication technology, while being plastered with ads for a vitamin C supplement and two books about the dangers of electromagnetic fields. There is even an ad for an analogue utility meter. This reminds me of the practice of Alex Jones, who makes claims like “the government is putting chemicals in tap water that are turning the frogs gay” and then proceeds to sell his own water filters. The only credible-looking source I found was Martin L. Pall who is a professor emeritus of biochemistry and basic


DR. Evil

Bill Gates


By Wen Chen.

Image: Dustin Hefford



medical sciences at Washington State University. Pall has been very vocal about the health risks posed by wifi, 5G, and other sources of electromagnetic radiation and has been interviewed widely and cited in numerous conspiracy sites. But, as far as I know, he is not endorsing the view that there is a global conspiracy to control us all orchestrated by Bill Gates. So why do so many people find these conspiracy theories appealing? I think one of the factors at play is people’s anxiety over their health and their bodies. I can sympathise with this concern. We are surrounded by technology whose mechanisms are unknown to most of us and we are hard-wired to react to the unknown with suspicion and fear. Furthermore, authorities haven’t exactly had a perfect track record in safeguarding public health: The world remembers the Radium Girls who painted their nails and teeth with radioactive paint because they were told by their superiors that it was harmless. We also remember that it took decades for physicians to stop recommending smoking as a healthy option to the general public. We remember too, that the Flint Michigan disaster, in which an entire city suffered lead poisoning due to government oversight, happened but a few years ago. There has always been a level of mistrust for authorities when it comes to public health and evidently it is very easy for conspiracy theorists to tap into that mistrust and feed people their outlandish tales. They were no doubt aided by the elevated level of anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think that a second reason why these seemingly outlandish conspiracy claims can seem credible to some is that conspiracy theories sometimes turn out to be true. Before it was revealed definitively that Nixon was personally involved in Watergate, to claim that he was an active player would have been a conspiracy theory, albeit one that turned out to be true. A recurring theme from these conspiracy sites is the fear of the rise of the “technocracy”, and just like how I can sympathise with the mistrust of authorities in matters of public health, I can also

sympathise with this suspicion of the technocrats. We know that big tech companies are not benign and that they do not have our best interests in mind. We know it for sure from the FacebookCambridge Analytica scandal, for instance. We know it every time we get a targeted ad for a product related to something we have recently searched. And if it’s true that Google collects and sells our data, why couldn’t it be true that internet service providers are hiding the real dangers of radiation from us?

Image: Oscar O'Shea


By taking the time to look into these conspiracy theories, I found that I was able to better understand where the people who believe in them are coming from. I sympathise with their fear of the unknown, their sense of powerlessness in the face of powerful entities, whether it be governments, big pharma, or technocrats, who keep the people in the dark and who often do not have public interest in mind. To a degree, I think this attitude is healthy and necessary for a thriving democracy. People should have a desire to know, to demand oversight, to keep their government accountable. But unfortunately, the conspiracy theory folks have taken this a step too far. They’ve traded a blind trust of authorities and “mainstream media” for a blind trust of snake oil salesmen, quack doctors, and conspiracy nuts who exploit people’s insecurities for financial gains, fame and influence. Ironically, in an attempt to protect themselves, they sabotage their own safety and that of the community by holding protests during the pandemic, violating social distancing rules, and refusing to vaccinate their children.


16th May 2020 Dear Isolation,

I thought you might be a blessing in disguise. I was very wrong. It’s been 2 months for me and there have been a lot of sad days. I’m tired of seeing people on social media talking about how they’re gaining weight ,or the opposite, talking about dieting and getting regular exercise to “better yourself”. It has made me incredibly sad that people are so concerned with physical appearance during the middle of a pandemic. People are struggling with greater things, depression, anxiety, OCD, turbulent relationships, eating disorders and the list goes on. Personally, my relationship with food has been the thing I have struggled with the most. Keeping a regular schedule and not feeling guilty about enjoying foods has been extremely difficult.

Jemima Longworth

7th April: “I feel so guilty for eating lunch and dinner today”


1st May: “I’ve spent my whole day on the couch… my eyes keep welling up but I don’t have the energy to cry… I feel to numb” 9th May: “I can already tell that today is going to be a sad day” Despite these moments of sadness, loneliness and guilt, I have had some beautiful and peaceful moments. I’m writing this letter to Isolation for me and anyone who reads this, so that they know they’re not alone and all these feelings suck but a lot of people are feeling them. Lots of love, Jemima


Covid Drawings by Josephine Mead.

70 71

imagine the question is apparent to many: how much longer do I have to keep on top of these inane statistical concepts in order to say that I’m ‘doing my part’? Each day begins by waking up to another statistical measure. Increases, decreases (both exponential, of course), expected counts, raw counts, flattened curves, squashed curves (?). It’s a lot to take account of, especially in a country which has been dealt a comparatively easy hand in terms of non-catastrophic transmission rates. I imagine the question is apparent to many: how much longer do I have to keep on top of these inane statistical concepts in order to say that I’m ‘doing my part’? While we haven’t yet eliminated community transmission and the risk of reuptake is present, the relevance of the media’s almost total obsession with COVID-19 is starting to weigh heavy on the mind. This is especially the case in Australia, where our experience of the pandemic is set against the backdrop of a ‘black summer’ of death and destruction. In the process of writing this article, it has become evident to me that any attempt to predict COVID-19’s media trajectory is an elusive task. Between the protests in America and robodebt’s abolishment, it appears that we are moving on from the pandemic. For the first time in recent memory, the virus is not front page news. Of course, these stories are set against the backdrop of COVID-19: protestor’s don facemasks as the dominance of public health over public outrage begins to crumble. In Australia, the government’s belated admittance of illegality is clearly a political manoeuvre to contain outrage at the 60-billion dollar shortfall in the JobKeeper program. Perhaps it is wishful thinking to expect COVID-19 to forestall further disasters. More likely is that it will have a compounding effect, multiplying the urgency of global inequality and resultant instability many times over. Maybe history will look upon the

It seems that the bar for disaster has been raised.

stasis of COVID-19’s media coverage like the calm before the storm. While this article will appear dated in its specifics by the time it is published, its general point stands: a national focus is critical in the next chapter of this pandemic. Brian Massumi sets the “half-life of disaster” at 2 weeks. After the initial shock of the disaster event has worn off, there is residual pain, trauma and suffering, but the media’s interest in it (and perhaps ours?) tails off until the event is deemed irrelevant. COVID-19 has challenged the boundaries of this timeframe – it has now been at least 3 months of non-stop COVID coverage. The baseline reason for this is easy to pin down: this is a global phenomenon which affects wealthy Western countries. While COVID-19 affects each population differently, this is largely because of already existing inequalities rather than inequalities of transmission inherent to the virus itself. Because of this, the threat of infection can be projected onto almost any part of the world.

Post-COVID Journalism and the Americanisation of Disaster: Why the death of BuzzFeed Australia should have you wringing your hands

It is this potential for projection which affects our ability to conceptualise disaster. Once a disaster event is amplified by the media, our perspective on the likelihood of its future recurrence becomes subject to ulterior motives. It is important to consider how COVID-19 is affecting this cycle. Massumi’s 2-week timeframe was based on the pre-COVID media landscape of‘disaster capitalism’ which revolved around the twin poles of natural disaster and terrorism. In order to maintain a steady stream of attention in the form of lowlevel fear (‘that could have been me! My family! My dog!!!’), the media moved between bushfires, floods, Islamic extremists, white supremacists and everything in between. Massumi calls the media’s necessity to switch from one disaster event to another with predictable regularity ‘affective conversion’: initial horror is modulated into subjectively grasped anxiety and again into a low-level yet pervasive fear, which is then channelled into the next disaster event. But in the context of COVID-19, this imperative has been put on hold. There is only one story for now and we’re all living it.

by Robin Gibson



To what extent will this pandemic play out in favour of the corporate media machine? What if the aim of corporate media is not simply to report on events, but to instil an ever-present fear within us, a kind of ‘affective surplus’ which keeps us coming back for more? Seen from this perspective, corporate media has little motive to change its coverage from the global COVID-19 story to more locally or even nationally relevant disasters. It may be too soon, but I am imagining a situation in which Australia is 100% ‘quarantine clean’ while the US and Europe are still counting thousands of deaths per day. Will the ongoing horror in other parts of the world be enough to sustain Australian media consumers? Will corporate media privilege the construction of overseas disaster over home-grown calamities? When will we get back to the bushfires??? The global nature of the pandemic means that the internationalised corporate media machine will be hesitant to revert to more nationally oriented stories when they can just opt to continue coverage of US deaths and pretend that it’s Australia. If this assessment turns out to be even somewhat accurate, the impacts on Australian politics and nationhood could be profound. We have already seen the importation of American conspiracies to Australia. Anti-lockdown protestors in Melbourne pronounced their belief that Bill Gates is intending to use a coronavirus vaccine in order to insert us with location-tracking microchips. This resulted in a bizarre dick-swinging contest in which a columnist from The Australian asserted dismay at the possibility that “Americans have a monopoly on crazy.” While it may seem slightly absurd, I think this speaks to the oversized influence of international and especially American media on our own political landscape. If the post-COVID Australian media landscape continues to deteriorate, then many Australians will be channelled into reading about the continuing overseas disaster in place of local, state and national concerns. This will give unwarranted cover to the Morrison government’s tendency toward state-ofexception authoritarian measures. We have already seen Peter Dutton’s gleeful acceptance of heightened powers at the border. And this is not just the maritime border, that favourite domain in which the tyranny of 73

distance is exercised. Dutton has also been given the go-ahead to patrol Australia’s virtual border: the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (International Production Orders) Bill 2020 gives “like-minded” foreign countries (most notably the US) the power to access surveillance data from Australian journalists without their consent. Again, with the image of a potential future kept in mind, it is not difficult to envision the detrimental effects this might have on Australians. The virus, spiralling ever further out of control in the US, leads a falling empire to enact pitiful yet potentially harmful and definitely invasive power grabs by tapping into Australian phones or accessing online banking details. It enables the US an unprecedented level of control over Australia’s media environment, which would seriously affect the stories we have access to. We are undergoing an historical reassessment of the relative prioritising of national and international concerns. The pandemic has forced nations into this predicament on a number of other fronts – trade, education, industry. The media is no exception. Now, more than ever, requires a balanced reappraisal of the media’s role and its susceptibility to international influence in Australia. Without wanting to commit to a fully anti-globalist position, I think that a prioritisation of Australian issues is needed in the global fallout of COVID-19. It may sound grim, but we have to choose which disasters to focus on. We have to force journalists to focus on the catastrophes which govern our lives instead of those which govern other people’s. If there is anything to take away from this article, it should by now be clear: read and support Australian news media. Otherwise, we will be living someone else’s nightmare, rather than our own…

Image: Dustin Hefford 74



he co-founders of Sydney’s experimental art and sound festival SOFT CENTRE speak to Margarita B.

and Stella S. about the challenges facing the people working behind the scenes of the music industry. What has the pandemic meant for your lives as creatives and particularly people behind the scenes? How has your everyday life changed? Our industry was the first to fall and will likely be the last to bounce back. Initially we were pretty disheartened - so many great arts organisations lost their operational funding and for us personally we had to postpone exciting overseas curation opportunities. In many ways we’re experiencing a ‘cultural bloodbath’ in so-called Australia, which was nicely articulated in this article by Ben Eltham:


But it hasn’t been all bad - putting a brake on SOFT CENTRE has given us some much needed time to reflect on our practice. The limitations of social distancing has also spurred us to think creatively about new event formats and ways of engaging with our audience. While the 2020 festival edition won’t be happening in its original format, we’ve still got some exciting things in the pipeline! While this is a difficult time for everyone, many musicians have found solace in the fact that they can spend this time working on their craft. For people involved in the managerial roles it’s a bit trickier. How have you been maintaining morale (or what creative ventures have you pursued)? We’ve been lucky to receive some ‘resilience’ funding from the City of Sydney council, which has allowed us to continue operating during this limbo period. We’re using the support to research new and unconventional performance venues around Sydney. Staying busy and proactive has definitely been good for team morale! There’s still so much uncertainty around what will be possible for events over the coming months/years, so we’re taking it slowly to properly digest the evolving safety guidelines. We’ve used the added free time to have lots of conversations with people we admire, which has been really

Image: 76

inspiring and helpful! Sounding out our mutual anxieties has actually been very therapeutic! Solidarity is so important for the arts and music industry right now and we’ve found solace in knowing that we’re all going through this together. It’s honestly been nice to have a big reset to our approach. Many festivals are preparing for operating at the end of the year with a local online lineup - do you think this signifies a necessary shift in booking more local artists? Booking locally has always been a big part of our mission statement. Especially giving young and emerging artists opportunities to perform in primetime slots to bigger audiences. This is hugely important for an artist’s career development. Obviously, in the past a lot of festivals have had a financial imperative to book bigger international names to boost ticket sales. But the FIFO headliner model is super costly and doesn’t always add value to an event. Downsized events and local-centric line-ups could be a great opportunity for curators and audiences to engage more deeply with their local scenes and histories. What positive changes will come out from all of this? P.L.U.R And finally, what tracks/mixes/music/artists have been getting you through these hectic times? We started a series called ‘history moves again’. Check it out here: softcentre Friends of SOFT CENTRE made beautifully curated playlists, spotlighting artists from their respective communities. This non-algorithmic style of music discovery is so nice because you don’t have to wade through a huge bandwidth of feed content + you get an amazing insight into someone’s personal taste... plus they link out to Bandcamp releases, which you can support directly. MILAT did a playlist of rare Aussie junk noise, DJ Bus Replacement Service gave us experimental cat music, Index [Krishtie Mofazzal] selected some relentless deco-club stuff…plus so much more. Hectic music for hectic times!



ell us a little about yourself! What do you do? My name is Monique Araujo and I am a Naarm based musician and music industry professional. I’ve worked primarily as a venue booker and event curator for the majority of my career at a number of venues such as The Gasometer Hotel, The Toff in Town, Boney, The Night Cat and most recently Colour Night Club. Outside of my 9-5, I am a vocalist and musician involved in several projects both in the live music and club worlds. What has the pandemic meant for you as a creative and particularly as someone who works on the production side of the arts?


Navigating life in the midst of the pandemic has been an interesting learning process not only in relation to my job, but my overall identity and worldview. Virtually my entire day to day is wrapped up in gatherings - whether it’s a show that I have worked on or one I am playing at, events make up 90% of my job. Consistent employment has been near impossible for someone who does what I do. Outside of my job security, life without events is strange from a personal view. I’ve never considered myself too introspective when it comes to my experiences in a club setting, but the pandemic has made me reflect on how important it has been for me and my own personal growth over the years. The club provides a place to blow off steam, connect with each other, share ideas and express ourselves - a form of therapy for many. Without this, the community lacks connection. I have learnt a lot about myself and who I am outside of that, which has been a really interesting and extremely vital learning experience for me. I have gotten to know friends, family and mostly myself on levels that I hadn’t before, which has been beautiful as well as confronting, both of which I’m grateful for. 78

In terms of creativity, I have taken lots of time

to write music and collaborate which has been invaluable and so much fun. On the other side of the coin, I have allowed myself to rest when I feel overwhelmed or burnt out which is something I have found very difficult to do in the past. While this is a difficult time for everyone, many musicians have found solace in the fact that they can spend this time working on their craft. For people involved in the managerial roles it’s a bit trickier. How have you been maintaining morale? I think regardless of your role in the industry, we are all inherently creative people so finding outlets for that has been key. We have had to think outside of the box in terms of remaining actively involved in the industry, i.e. streaming, radio, venue vouchers etc. which is both challenging and exciting. For me in particular, maintaining morale has been less about pastimes and more about reflection. As a WOC, I have dedicated more time than ever to educating myself and working on elevating black and brown voices through my work. This down time has been integral for many; we have more time and energy than ever to finally recognise injustices and make real moves to shift away from the deeply rooted societal norms that we are accustomed to. It’s interesting to think that perhaps the BLM movement may have not been as impactful outside of the pandemic. People have been forced to look outside of themselves, drop their ego and listen, which is amazing to see - I hope that this brings forth real change. With an uprising in online streaming, this wave of innovative technology (i.e streaming) has emphasised perhaps previously limited views of accessibility in regard to accessing live music/arts spaces. Do you have any advice for other collectives or creatives on how they can broaden accessibility to events/their artwork? From an IRL live music perspective, many local venues are old buildings with less than desirable


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accessibility measures. These include large stairwells, inadequate bathroom facilities and a lack of quiet spaces. These things are not easy to get around as they are often exorbitantly pricey to change, and take a long time to plan and execute. This by no means is an impossible feat, but is not an easy one to put into practice if you don't own your own venue. Having said this, there are certainly many ways to make your event more accessible without demolishing an entire building. Here are a few ideas: While many of my superiors may not like this one, removing the need or expectation for alcohol sales is something to consider. - Don’t get me wrong I love a drink, but providing significant (and exciting) alcoholfree options is a small and relatively easy way to make your event more accessible. - Dedicate an area of your space to a seated ‘chill out’ zone, ideally away from a smoking area or loud music. - Nominate a safety officer and make their

contact details clear to attendees. It is important to have a person present who is not a security guard or venue staff member and can deal with patron related issues that are specific to your event/audience sensitively and discreetly. - Inspect your space before committing are there any stairs? Is there an accessible bathroom? Is there adequate heating and cooling/airflow? If not, consider the possibility of hiring a disabled portaloo and opting for a well ventilated ground floor venue. - Provide discounted (or better yet, free) entry to disadvantaged people that may want to attend but don’t have the means. - Consider streaming your event with open chat rooms for at home attendees to engage (please make sure to be screening these of course, no dickhead policy still applies!!!) Provide earplugs at entry. As an able bodied person, accessibility is a topic that I am constantly learning about and will not claim to be expert on! While working at venues, I have engaged with a number of

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disability advocacy groups and experts and I strongly encourage anyone interested in putting on physical events to do the same. Have a chat and ask lots of questions! In terms of technological movements, I would love to see the normalisation of online streaming at physical events as well as more online exclusive events in future. Isolation has proven that these are extremely effective and have filled the void for many that would usually miss out. Please outline a thought/realisation that the pandemic has emphasised within the structural basis of arts events/production. Please comment on how you see this idea in the future, post-pandemic. I and many others have come to the harsh realisation that a large part of the music and arts industry is unpredictable. Shows and events make up a massive part of an artist’s income, not to mention the people working behind the scenes. I think people are learning to diversify their skills and create safeguards in order to maintain a creative career. I predict that the post pandemic world will see more people with multiple income streams and an embracing of technology, seeing as it has been such a lifeline for many. What positive changes will come out from all of this? Work life balance has been a huge one. Many people are realising that shorter work weeks are just as effective, if not more so, as the emphasis on rest/leisure time promotes a clearer and more focused headspace (duh!). I would love to see this become the norm in the workplace going forward. On a global level, I hope that we all come out of this experience more empathetic and appreciative of each other’s time and personal experiences. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the rat race without realising the toll that takes on yourself and the wider community. I hope that the post-pandemic world is one in which we read, reflect and connect with each other more than ever. Left image: Tanya Akinola 81

INTERVIEW: Rebeca Sacchero What has the pandemic meant for your as a creative and particularly someone behind the scenes as a promoter & booker? Firstly, I’ll say it has been absolutely gut wrenching to see the essentially overnight dissemination of a music scene I hold so dear, which I see to be essential as a platform for self-expression. Essentially, I do (pretty much everything) that I do because I value self-expression, and especially the self-expression of the underdog, the marginalized, the becoming, the young. Specifically, around my side projects, which include Nuestro Planeta our party series and some DJing, it has mostly been about taking a pause, as I don’t really get so much from expression through a screen-not to say that isn’t valid and valuable. For me the shit I like to sink my teeth into is relational and real time and in person, which doesn’t lend itself to pandemic obviously. I felt pretty uninspired for most of it. Although I have been really enjoying listening to much more diverse types of music, lots of public radio and slower stuff I’ve gained a new appreciation for. While this is a difficult time for everyone, many musicians have found solace in the fact that they can

spend this time working on their craft. For people involved in managerial roles it’s a bit trickier. How have you been maintaining morale?

What positive changes do you hope to come out from all of this? I hope that people appreciate live music and arts events. Everyone behind the scenes and especially artists make huge sacrifices to create our arts scene, one which has had its funding and governmental support continuously cut for a long time. As punters and fellow creatives, we need to be supportive each other and lift each other up. The political right loves to see us tear each other apart and I think we can be better of that. I think the start of 2020 (a year we will never forget) has really fortified our resolve to upend inegalitarian structures within our society and I think that we can commit to fighting for the arts place in society, as we have all been convinced of its transformative power.

My job is pretty incredible and inspiring, and unlike my side projects I’ve found a multitude of ways to stay engaged with it from behind a computer screen or phone, even though it hasn’t been easy. I’ve been creatively inspired by these circumstances to think about how I can offer opportunities for young people and share information in new ways. I have been enjoying running Queerspace Youth, which is a support group for LGBTQIA+ young people, in which we produced a short zine of art made in iso. Maintaining perspective and doing projects which benefit others really helps me keep engaged. I’ve also just let myself occasionally be a write off while maintaining some good self-care routines.

What tracks/mixes/music/artists have been getting you through these hectic times? I’ve been listening to DJ Python’s album Mas Amable on repeat – broody dark minimal reggaeton. COUSIN from Sydney has just popped up with a few releases I’ve been rinsing. For mixes: Cami Laye Okun’s show on NTS which is pure Latin, jazz and cosmic funk from Cuba has been a breath of fresh air!!

Many festivals are preparing for operating at the end of the year with a local lineup; do you think this signifies a necessary shift in booking more local artist? I think it’s always great to see lineups which celebrate our local talent and I’m excited to attend festivals with local only lineups. I do also think we need to continuously invest in bringing over interesting and innovative acts from overseas. We hardly touch the surface of the European DJ festival circuit talent, and I feel most disappointed when I see festivals bringing over artists who were here only one or two years ago. I worry that due to the pandemic and imminent recession, bookers will play it even more safe by only bringing over artists who have done well here before. I’d like to see more multi-genre artists especially.





Virtual Rave.


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Sets 00:00:00 Hit Parade 1:01:56 Rashna 1:39:45 YNG Daku 2:06:57 Doina 2:39:00 Blanket 3:07:22 Preto E Branco 3:39:02 Fish Girl

on the dancefloor. For me, the best thing about DJ’ing is getting to experiment with different genres. I’ve also been exposed to so much great music through DJ’ing -- through the people I’ve met and the communities I’ve become part of. I love being able to share that with so many people as part of Vessel. In the future, I hope I can keep learning and keep making good friends through music. Maleika: This is my first Vessel event. The people who

Tracklist: Cocaine Diet — Digga D 808-303 — Mean-E She Don’t Text — DJ Flex Lift Yourself Up from the Beat — DJ Knowledge Ass So Phat — William the Donqueror Clap Yah Hands — Colombo Dip Dop Afrobeat — DJ Flex feat. DJ Did

Vessel vesselworkshops We’re a Canberra-based DJ collective with a focus on running workshops and sharing knowledge. We come together with the goal of kicking down barriers to entry that are disproportionately faced by members of marginalised intersections, for a landscape of more inclusive dance spaces. Since August last year, we’ve run three beginners DJ workshops (women’s beginners, people of colour beginners, queer* beginners…), a panel discussion on safety in dance music spaces, and a bunch of livestreams, club nights and recording sessions to give the DJ’s who’ve participated in our workshops space to play and experiment.


Dot and Maleika are Hit Parade Dot: Maleika and I have been friends since high school and both got into DJ’ing after attending beginner workshops at our university. We’ve been playing as a duo for about a year and a half, usually just at small events and parties organised by our friends. We DJ individually too, but have the most fun playing B2B together. I’ve been helping run Vessel since August 2019. We wanted to contribute to a more diverse dance music scene in Canberra and create more space for more people, more dance styles, and more musical variety

I’m Gon Make U Sick O’ Me — Parliament Bubblegum — Leikeli47 Toast — Koffee Dumpling — Stylo G Boasty — Wiley Back Way — Vybz Kartel & Spice No Quieres Lio — La Goony Chonga Dark Skinned Women (Swindail Remix) — Goldlink, Cosmo’s Midnight Like Sugar — Chaka Khan Fake ID — Riton & Kah-Lo Fake — Jesse Perez Bogada- A-Star

run it are my friends, so naturally they invited me to mix. Our set features everything from house to Afrobeat, to Jersey Club -- music that pulses with the power of the One. I've always had the impulse to share what interests me with others, and I've found that DJ’ing is the perfect medium for that. I love setting the vibe and making people happy. In the future, I'd like to hone my craft, discover new music, and continue meeting great people.


Murder She Wrote (Jersey Club) — Kyle Edwards & DJ Smallz 732 Find My Way Home (Mixed) — Conducta, Sammy Virji Brighter Dayz — DJ Rashad Sex on the Beach — DJ Assault Vibe — Cookie Kawaii New Juke City — Amadeezy Dark Rider (Scar Remix) — Goldie, Rufige Kru Savage — Megan Thee Stallion

I wanted to get into DJ’ing for about a year before Vessel started up. I kept putting it off because I found it (the equipment, all the buttons, being in charge of setting the vibe for everyone) really intimidating at first. I knew Vessel would be an inviting place for me to get into it though, first because it’s run by a good friend of mine, and second, its very purpose was to diversify the music scene in Canberra. So, I went to one of the very first workshops and have been a part of Vessel ever since. The thing I enjoy most about DJ’ing is that it makes me feel confident – I can play weird things, mix unexpected sounds, really vibe with a crowd. I grew up in the Middle East, and was born in Pakistan, so I always love to bring sounds from those parts of the world into my mixes. I’m really passionate about introducing wider audiences to that music, and I’ve included it in this set too. It’s very energetic, quite dark in parts, ethereal


in others. I’m excited keep playing at parties around Canberra, and as I grow I would love to make some mixes for local brands I love (Sole Finess, hit me up if you see this), and help others get into DJ’ing too. Tracklist: Makutekahu – Moniker Latissimus (Blawan Remix) – Modig Fabric – Rude Kid Igloo – Wiley Dub-the-Buka (Dub Mix) – Harem Wahhabi (Original Mix) – BIZ Tantra – Sven. Disko Kebap (Baris K Edit) – Urfali Babi Rave – Sam Paganini Just Don’t Speak (Midnight Sun Redub) – Octave One I DON’T CARE – park hye jin Who is Themba? – Themba Yamaha – Aleksandir Chaka – Sebjak & Fahlberg Adir Adirim (Nickodemus Remix) – Balkan Beat Box

important in Vessel’s beginning. In frustration, I made my housemate teach me how to mix so I could hop on the decks later that night. I was lucky then, but how many other people are there who have great things to share but haven’t fallen into friendship with people who run club nights or own gear or throw raves or are willing to put in the effort to get you up on the decks? In the Canberra music scene, I rarely witness direct discrimination. Rather, what I see is people disproportionately not receiving the same opportunities to participate and play when they are women, when they are queer, when they are people of colour… We started Vessel to work against that: to clear out some space for people to grow freely and wildly, to receive sunshine with no shade in the way. Originally I had prepared a set of cute joyful music only - blissful pop remixes and shimmering fluttering sounds. However, a couple days before we filmed these mixes, a friend from Indonesia - Tesaran, who runs a noise music label - sent me a track he had just recorded. I shuffled my plans for the mix to fit it in, because there is no sound more cute or more joyful than music from your friends.

Tracklist: Fox 5 (Ft. Gunna) - Lil Keed GOODMORNINGTOKYO! - TOKYO’S REVENGE RR9.1 - Koba LaD, Niska Win - Jay Rock Now (Ft 21 Savage) - Young Thug No Church in the Wild - JAY-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, The-Dream Riot – XXXTENTACION ELEMENT. - Kendrick Lamar Cops Shot the Kid - Nas, Kanye West FTP – YG Fuck Tha Police N.W.A. Fight the Power - Public Enemy Alright -

Pranav is YNG Daku I initially heard of Vessel through one of the PoC workshops and immediately knew I had to get involved. Soon I was on the other side helping run beginner workshops and practice sessions. I couldn’t be happier to be involved with such a remarkable collective. In this set, I’m playing hiphop, drawing inspiration from everything from old west coast boom-bap to bright crooning Soundcloud hits. I wanted to incorporate a theme into my set to reflect current events and add another voice to keep the movement going. I’ve always loved music. More often than not, I ended up stealing the aux cord at every house party and “DJing” for the rest of the night. I just love seeing how people react to music. Whether that’s a hidden gem that they’re hearing for the first time or a nostalgic anthem that gets the whole party going crazy - I can’t get enough of that feeling. I also make hiphop music with a group called YNG (our single Back and Forth out now on all streaming services), so my goal is to be able to incorporate both my DJing and my vocal performances into an innovative musical experience and disrupt the industry standard. Canberra as a whole is also making huge strides in establishing itself as a groundroots cultural hub. So many brilliant artists are coming up in the scene and I want to help push those boundaries and put the city on even further.

Kendrick Lamar SCAR - 070 Shake, Jessie Reyez This is America - Childish Gambino MY POWER - Beyonce, Nija, Busiswa, Yemi Alade, Tierra Whack, Moonchild Sanelly, DJ Lag BB (BODYBAG) - Slowthai Christopher Walking - Pop Smoke RASCAL - RMR Joanne is Blanket I started DJing a couple years ago when I was helping organise a party for a collective on campus that advocates for students of colour. At that time I only knew of one student DJ who was a person of colour JANE, a really thoughtful selector and someone super


Tracklist: Indian Kompa - SAYE Aéro Dynamik - Kraftwerk Momoweb - Bakongo Big Pari - rbchmbrs Aemath - Jigga Rinse out - James King Cooky - Aylu [Unreleased] - Tesaran Calling the Loas - Hieroglyphic Being, Sarathy Korwar and Shabaka Hutchings

Finally, I’m Free - Jak3 Ha! - Alphafox theoria Interlude - Grack Thany Satisfaction of Oscillation - Dajuin Yao Webs Of Wraith - Christoph de Babalon sweeep - Oyubi Lost My Train of Thought - Loraine James 134 32iii - Bogdan Raczynski Love Galore (DJ Flex remix) - SZA Peace & Love - Sharda Holy Terrain ft. Future (Kida Kira Remix) - FKA Twigs Doina I first started DJ’ing half a year ago while studying abroad in Australia! I was extremely lucky to run into Vessel members at a workshop and be invited to join. I had wanted DJ since I was in high school and this was the perfect opportunity to start. For me, DJ’ing opened a door to feeling comfortable in nightlife as someone who would usually feel unsafe. I also love how connecting DJ’ing can be. The beautiful atmosphere that the shared language of music creates is something difficult to express until you experience it. It’s also the ideal outlet for my obsession with music and love for dance. Putting my musical memory and creativity to use makes me very happy and I often practice DJ’ing at home every night because it helps me relax after a difficult day. The music I am playing in this set is my personal emotional response to the recent events in the US. I wanted to paint a narrative of recognition of the current situation, a call for change and activism, solidarity, and love and respect for all peoples. I usually play dark techno and deep house, but this time I wanted to pay homage to some of my favourite and extremely talented BIPOC musicians of the past half century. I really hope to use my DJ’ing to spread awareness about important issues and to connect people. My aspiration is to create safe and creative spaces for people of all backgrounds in which ideas can be shared and positive social change can occur, particularly regarding environmental issues. Tracklist: Funkadelic - Maggot Brain IAM - Nés sous la même étoile Cyne – Paradise Gil Scott-Heron - Winter in America (2010 Live


experienced in quarantine. I’ve been having a lot of vivid dreams. I wanted to create something soft and airy but also restless. I’ve been listening to lots of ambient and drone music lately; it’s comforting. And noise, which in Personally, the thing I enjoy about DJing is the music and the a weird way is also comforting. I also like weird remixes people. The power of music is incredible. I got into DJing for or covers, little sound bites of stuff that I find on the fun. I love how each time I make a mix or DJ live, I get better. internet or movies, video games, etc. So, I tried to The goal is to get better and better and if people like what incorporate all of that. I really enjoy looking for music, I'm doing then that's enough for me. I enjoy DJing for the digging around youtube, soundcloud or bandcamp. It is music, and introducing people to new music they've never such a good feeling when you find a song that is fresh heard of. I got into it for the fun and wherever it takes me, I'll and different. enjoy the journey. Of course, the people are the best thing about DJing! Tracklist: Connecting over music is such a beautiful thing. I have War-Fatal Walima so much to learn about djing and I’m looking forward to, Vou matar la um- Pedro hopefully, improving. My plans are to keep working with Cala a boca- Rolv.K Vessel, there are heaps of workshops, panels, events etc. Nu bai- 2PeKes that I am keen to work on. I’m working on two personal Son de los diablos (Ivan Afro5 music projects atm. Fish Girl which is my (main) dj alias. Ancestral Bootleg)-Ivan Afro5 My goal is to use music in a humorous way to, hopefully, Work- Boston Cherry & LUNY make people smile but also to communicate important MLK BOM(PEDRO EDIT)-Pedro issues like ocean pollution. Boss du festival- Jowaa Vai Amor- JLZ & PEDRO Tracklist: Azza- Unknown artist Chukhung - Biosphere Arrombando- Progressivu The Voyager - DJ lostboi Fight them- Kensaye x Fela Kuti Pocky Boy - Yeule Carnival- Arif Omari & The Meaning of – Ice_Eyes Frankliin Falling Slowly – Harvest King 6eyes – Eyeface Nostromo - Harvest King Torment – Dirty K Niamh is Fish Girl Live by the sword – Dorian Electra 100% Consequences – Mya Gomez Vessel started 2019 early August. FaceValuue (DisFig Remix) – Daemon, Dis Fig It’s always been a very collaborative Teenage Dirtbag (Dorian Electra & Sega Bodega thing. I had wanted to start a DJ cover) collective for ages, so when Jo (Blanket) messaged me asking Per un pugno de dollari – Titoli if I was keen to start Vessel, I was so excited. Vessel, in my mind, is a product of the Canberra music community. It came out of a need. A lot of my friends - myself included - we’re kind of bummed by the very elitist and insular state of DJing, predominantly populated by dude bros who say such things as “there are TOO many djs now”. Personally, there are never enough DJs. We wanted to make a welcoming, chill space for learning, sharing knowledge and combating various forms of oppression. We have come far from our first workshop; I’ve learnt so much! I am honestly the luckiest person to be working with Jo, Dot and Steph and the whole Vessel Fam. here in Australia: gotta show people what they're missing out on.

Studio Version) Princess Nokia - Hands Up Amadou & Mariam - La Réalité Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Sampa The Great – Energy Fela Kuti - ITT (iZem edit) Newen Afrobeat ft. Kologbo - Open Your Eyes Lido Pimienta - Eso Que Tu Haces Marvin Gaye - Save The Children (Detroit MIx (What's Going On/Deluxe Edt. 2001)) 808 State - Pacific State (Greg Wilson Electric Chair Edit) Aaliyah - One In A Million (Mitchell LC Yard Remix) Idris Muhammad - Could Heaven Ever Be Like This Pete Heller - Big Love (David Penn Remix) Willow Smith – IDK Bakermat - One Day (Vandaag) Jack is Preto E Branco I got involved with Vessel through their DJing workshops. I always wanted to learn how to DJ for fun. The workshop I attended was so lovely. A noteworthy point was when Joanne asked people if they had pronouns they'd like to be called. I thought that was so forward thinking and made the space open and easy going. I learnt a lot and am still learning to this day. If you want to get into djing, whether it be to become professional or just for fun, the Vessel workshops are a must. I switch up the music I listen to and DJ on the daily. For this set I really wanted to channel the portugese/brazillian vibe. I used to live in Mozambique (Mozambique was invaded by the Portuguese) and at parties they play songs that make you want to go nuts. I wanted to play songs that made people dance/vibe regardless of what you are doing. You could be sitting, driving, in the shower, I don't care where, just dance, dance, dance. It's also a genre of music that isn't played

In this mix, I wanted to capture some of the feelings I’ve



AN ENDLESS THANK YOU TO ALL CONTRIBUTORS: Aislinge Samuel Christopher Phung Chante Garcia Doina Illiescu Dot Mason (Hit Parade) Dustin Hefford Eben Ejdne Grace Ware Harry Burmeister Jack Tinga (Preto E Branco) Jacquie Meng Jemima Longworth Joanne Leong (Blanket) Josephine Mead Kavil Patel Kelly Herbison

Kelly Maree Liam Diviney Loughie Foley Ivy Rose Jameela Mahazi Maggi Zhu (Maggz) Maleika Twisk (Hit Parade) Maya Hodge Murli Dhir Monique Araujo Moksha Niamh Dolfi-McCool (Fish Girl) Nyssa Mitchell Oscar O’Shea Pranav Joshi (YNG Daku) Rebeca Sacchero

Rashna Farrukh Robin Gibson Rowena Lloyd Jemma Cole, Thorsten Hertog & Sam Whiteside (SOFT CENTRE) Sophie-Ann Mwangi Sophie Dickison Tanya Akinola Teddy Griffith Wen Chen




Georgia Ketels: Film Editor Luke Patitsas & Jamie-Marina Lau: Creative Writing Editors

Kelly Herbison & Mario Matic: Thoughts Editors Stella Schiftan: Events Coordinator

Nadia Cao & Ronlee Korren: Visual Arts Editors Margarita Bassova, Lakshmi Krishnan & Winter McQuinn: Music Editors 96




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