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GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE GOODBYE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE ANALOGUE [

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MALWARE VOID

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

CALL ME, MAYBE

BY LILY CAMERON

BY JAG TAMRUKSA

BY PNINA HAGEGE


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The University of Technology Sydney would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians and knowledge keepers of the land in which UTS now stands and pays respect to Elders past, present, and emerging.

aCKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

Maree Graham Deputy Director, Students, and Community Engagement Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education & Research

Sunny Adcock and Sophie Tyrrell would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Amy Toma and Ella Cyreszko would like to acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Dharug Nation. Evlin DuBose and Esther Hannan-Moon would like to acknowledge the Wangal and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Jennifer Wen would like to acknowledge the Biddegal people of the Eora Nation. Karishama Singh and Elby Chai would like to acknowledge the Cammeraygal people of the Eora Nation. Rachel Lee would like to acknowledge the Dharawal people of the Dharug Nation.

We would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians and knowledge keepers of the land where we lived and worked as editors and designers during the creation of this zine, paying respect to Elders past, present, and emerging. We extend that acknowledgement to any First Nations’ people reading this zine. We exist on stolen land, and we recognise that sovereignty was never ceded. We acknowledge that Aboriginal peoples have endured past and continuing injustices and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters, and encourage our readers to educate themselves, pay respect to Australia’s dark history, and actively work towards reconciliation. If it is within your means to do so,please donate to Indigenous organisations such as in the following: https://thelatch.com.au/indigenousorganisations-to-donate-to/


CONTENT WARNING

CONTENT WARNING Vertigo readers should be advised that there are content warnings before relevant pieces. Some articles contain themes or references to death, drug and alcohol consumption, injury, and mental illness. Please keep this in mind as you enjoy our magazine; your health and safety are important to us. This zine was conceived and created during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The context of some of the articles may change depending on the current social climate and the official safety guidelines recommended by health officials and the Australian Government. While the lockdown is in effect, please observe social distancing etiquette, wash your hands, stay home, and take care of yourself. If you are struggling, please contact the UTS Counselling Services on 9514 1177, or visit the UTS Counselling Services website to find out more and access the extensive online self-help resources. If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling one of the numbers below. Lifeline — 13 11 14 Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636 Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health — 02 6363 8444 If you, or someone you know, is struggling with or has struggled with drug use and/or addiction, please consider speaking to your local GP, a healthcare professional, or calling the numbers below.

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Family Drug Support — 1300 368 168 Alcohol and Other Drugs Information Service (ADIS) — 1800 250 Stimulant Treatment Line (STL) Sydney metropolitan — 02 9361 8088 Regional and rural NSW — 1800 10 11 88 Opioid Treatment Line (OTL) — 1800 642 428 Available Monday to Friday: 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drug and Alcohol Specialist Advisory Service (DASAS) Sydney metropolitan — 02 9361 8006 Regional and rural NSW — 1800 023 68


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NSW Quitline — 13 7848 (13 QUIT) Available Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Weekend and public holidays: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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L E T T E R 04

EDITORS’ ED

Signal lost — and we wo the progra

Strange to think of history happening in legends of our ancestors. They were the tr But now trauma is here, at our doorsteps, our digital generation step up? We step we’re uniquely qualified to face this threat and yet this feels like fraught territory. promised. We’re drifting away like so much (2020, please take note: no actual tsunami

So as we all #StayHome, doing the little t must still venture outside, Vertigo is her How can we reach out, and connect, when th This too shall pass, we know, and we’ll e but right now, we need a light to hold ont in your nook, and let us tell stories by t and the digital world we’ve gained. Let’s g you finally return to campus, we’ll be ther

Till then, hello from the screen, and GOOD

ITORS’ EDIT


DITORS’ ED-

no connection onder why am crashes

our lifetime. Global events were the raumas of previous generations, not ours. in our homes, and it is messy. How does back. In the age of social distancing, t. We are Social Media X, the techy ones, . Gone is the hope and optimism that 2020 h debris in a tsunami of disconnection. is, thx).

things we can, paying homage to those who re to examine this strange new intimacy. he world seems to be fraying at the edges? emerge the other side adapted, stronger, to — even if it’s fluorescent. So, curl up the fire of the analogue world we’ve lost, get lost in electric connection, and when re waiting like an old friend.

DBYE ANALOGUE.

Love, Vertigo xx

TORS’ EDIT-

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L E T T E R


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{nonfiction}

Artwork by Pnina Hagege.


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C A L L M E , M AY B E by Pnina Hagege

Relationship status with my phone:

JUST MET We started off on good terms,my ‘07 Motorola flip-phone and I. Even though it only allowed for calls, texts, and some highly pixelated photos, the phone was the bomb. The colour was the perfect mix of Paris Hilton and Playboy pink, and I just loved the sound the buttons made. Yet, topping all other iconic features, was of course the ‘phoneflip’ used to answer calls — arguably one of the most defining gestures of the early 2000’s. The only thing it was missing was a Juicy Couture sticker made exclusively of diamantes on the back. Gone were the days of phones filled with four shades of glittery lip gloss. This was a real phone, and I was a real adult — just because it sat in my pocket. But like every piece of technology, there comes a day when you trade it in for a newer, slimmer, younger model.

U U UU U U J U U U


Relationship status with my phone:

HONEY-MOON BAES

There There There There There There

U

was was was

D D G G

I got my first iPhone in 2012, coinciding perfectly with my first year in high school. It was sleek, futuristic, sophisticated. It had more games than I knew existed; I would play Fruit Ninja and Doodle Jump on it in the afternoons, message my mum during recess, and snap the occasional photo. We were well and truly in our honeymoon phase. Then Instagram entered the scene, and like the majority of other fourteen-year-olds, my phone and I became one single entity.

no no no no no no

Pnina Pnina Pnina Pnina:

HE HEL HELL TH HELL THEB

pr pres T presen

only only

iPhone

Relationship status with my phone:

B C C C C C 08

{nonfiction}

JUST FRIENDS IT’S COMPLICATED

At first, I would upload three photos in one go, just to play with the filters. After all, Instagram was initially made for photography nerds — something quite different to the blonde bombshells that grace the ‘gram today. Now, posting even one photo a day to your grid is considered a bold move. I would abide by every trend, from when everybody used the Whitagram borders, to posting only at 7 p.m., and everything in between.

V V V V

THE M


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Phone-time was all times. I got my first detention after being caught on my phone (gasp) during class. My phone seemed to be perpetually confiscated. It was a whole afternoon with no escape from awkward social situations, no random Google searches, and certainly no Snapchats. My phone had become this symbol of independence, and now, I was reliant on it.

Relationship status with my phone:

C C C C C C C

IT’S COMPLICATED CO-DEPENDENT

When I really think about how much I ‘need’ my phone, it all feels like I’m a character in a dystopian film, doomed to one day be unceremoniously dumped by the magic hellbrick that contains all my identity. But our phones need presenting... us, too. We have to charge them, pay for the SIM cards, and download the apps we can’t help but use (no seriously resenting... — they’re literally designed to be addictive). We even buy senting... THE MOVIE them cases so they don’t break, and get them fixed when nting... HE MOVIE they inevitably do. We also hold the passwords to their E MOVIE electronic hearts. It’s rather a parasitic relationship.

ELL BRICK LL BRICK L BRICK BRICK

MOVIE

So, in times like these, when our phones seem more like replacements for the companions we legally can’t see, than the hunks of metal they actually are, it’s important to remember that our phones are merely the conduits to our connections — they themselves are not who we connect with. No amount of FaceTime can equate to the feeling of seeing your best friend IRL. There’s no chance I’m dumping my iPhone in the harbour anytime soon. How else would I access TikTok? But I’ve certainly updated our relationship status since isolation.

D C C

Relationship status with my phone:

JUST FRIENDS

Pnina Hagege is a second year Journalism and Political Science student. Find more on Instagram @pninadalton


Walking out of Woolworths, I check the list one last time. 6

SHIT! SHIT!

Bread. Eggs. Tissues. Organic toothpaste. – Almond milk.

“Where’s the —” I’m frozen to the spot. What to say? Forgetting to bring home almond milk is an unforgivable sin in this household. S And then, a brainwave. T

I cut her off. I am apologetic, yet determined to demonstrate that I did everything I could to bring her almond milk in the face of adversity.

“I’m so sorry. There were none left.”

PAN I C L Y I

LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM LM

My mother looks at the list. She looks in the bags. And then: the dreaded question.

C NI

G LYIN

NIC LYING A P PA G N

I forgot the almond milk. I debate going back in, but I’ve already crossed the road, and I don’t want to spend another twenty minutes waiting for the ‘automated’ crossing to go green. Q

BY RHIANNON SOLIMAN-MARRON 10

{fiction}


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PANIC LY

She looks at me, mouth agape in horror. Time to bring out the big guns: “I even checked ALDI!”

G IN

She gives a defeated nod. Fair enough. It’s a crazy world we live in. Uncertain times. P

IC LYING PAN P A

And so it begins. On Monday, I forget to pick up some shredded cheese after work. When I arrive home empty-handed, I announce it had all been bought by the nation’s teenagers, who are using it for the ‘shredded cheese challenge’ on TikTok. ‰ Did it slip my mind to grab frozen spinach? No worries, Donald Trump let slip in his latest press conference that leafy greens are a sure-fire cure for coronavirus, and the public’s gone mad. You know how it is.

Sorry Gran, I really wanted to buy those Whiskas sachets for the cat, but they’re just flying off the shelves after Woolies announced they were handing out a free kitten with every bottle of hand sanitiser purchased.W

C NI

And I know I was supposed to pick up exercise books for my brother, but, you know, with all the toilet paper gone...I’m sure you can add the two together. fl

G LYIN

With empty shelves lining our TV screens night after night, it’s not hard to start turning a lapse of memory into the latest panicbuying craze. K I just hope scientists don’t discover a vaccine before I discover the reminders app on my phone. √

Rhiannon Soliman-Marron is a third year Law and Journalism student. Find more on Twitter @rhisoliman


CAMILLE OLSEN-ORMANDY & TOR WILLS 12

***** —

*{showcase}

iso

Artworks by Dash O'Brien-Georgeson and Camille Olsen-Ormandy. Photography by Tor Wills.


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PHOTOSHOOT


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*****

Tor Wills is a fourth year Visual Communication student. Find more on Instagram at @torwills and @camilleormandy


I sighed, like a child left all alone. I didn’t read the headlines — numb to the absurdity, rarity. To scoff in their face, to give me more space.

Content Warning: Death, Injury

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I smiled. A week or so, surely. A well-deserved peace of mind. A quiet time. A severed love’s lifeless head, a lonely boy. Will this ever end?

I missed it, the way I’d missed her cooking, the way I’d missed those people. I kissed them, and thanked them, I took them all up in my arms and I wouldn’t let go.

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{fiction}

I watched birds flock round stores; their silver beaks, their glistening feathers, clawing at cans of meat. I saw them scream and fight and bludgeon one another over toilet paper.

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17 I saw the world change, all puffed and red in the face. I was tired

I remember starting the car in the pitch and wondering if my mum would hear. I had to see him. I knew it was dangerous. The world was rocky. $1,500 for your life.

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and trapped, and alone. I cursed those I kissed, yearned for those I’d missed.

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I cried. I cried for a lady I didn’t know. I saw her blurry and small, afront a man shouting, violent, spitting. He looked in her eyes, and said, “This is your fault.”

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I asked my dad, in the line that snaked ‘round the block twice, what we needed extra money for, and he said, “If everyone else was sucking Centrelink dry, then so would we.”

And I sighed, between the four lonely walls of my room, with a closed door and a closed off head that wouldn’t let anyone in anymore.

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Rebekah Batson is a first year Communications and International Studies student. Find out more on Instagram @bekbatson


Between Silences BY FLEUR CONNICK

CONTENT WARNING: ALCOHOL

The girl sat cross-legged on the end of her bed. Her phone sat patiently beside her. Hands spun the ends of her hair as she gazed out her window. The last of the sun was seeping through the naked trees, stripped of their last autumnal leaves. She could feel the pulse in her neck, the flush in her cheeks. Then the phone rang. “Hello, hello.” “Hey!” she answered, folding fondly around her phone. “How’re you going?” “Yeah, not too bad. Super hungover.” “Not surprised. You were sooo funny last night.” “Oh yeah? Did I call you, or something?” “Yeah…” she paused, hanging on every word. “Ah shit. Hope I didn’t say anything stupid.”

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{fiction}


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“No, I love drunk Elijah calls. You always say things you usually hold back.” “Oh no, what did I say?” “...You really don’t remember, hey?” She cringed, shutting her eyes, focusing on the particles swaying in the darkness. “Nope, nada. I remember having a drink or two with Luke, then we got into the emergency stash — I think.” He laughed. “It’s all so blurry…” “Great form, I must say.” She contained an eye-roll. “Oh yeah, right,” he chuckled. “Guess you saw my Insta story?” “Yeah, looked like fun. Wish I was there.” “Yeah...” The girl looked up to see the sky now washed out with pink. Her heart thudded.


“I miss you.” “Miss ya, too.” “Yeah, I know...” “...So, did I say anything stupid last night, or what?” “Why’re you worried that you said something stupid?” A silence hung in the air. The last of the currawongs sung out before dusk. “Dunno, just thought…” He sighed. “It’s just — hard, y’know?” “...I know.” The girl flopped back, released a breath. Thought about her words for a small eternity. “...Hey, Elijah?” “Yeah?” “...You didn’t say anything stupid.” He chuckled. “Sure, okay then.” The sky was now inked with black. The silence swallowed her whole.

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{fiction}

Fleur Connick is a fourth year Creative Writing, Journalism, and International Studies student. Find more on Twitter @ConnickFleur


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The QuaranBY SUNNY ADCOCK All context remains accurate as of May 2020

Being in lockdown feels like Mother has sent us all Being Earth in lockdown feels liketo Being in feels liketo our roomsEarth tolockdown think about Mother has sent uswhat all Mother Earth has sent uswhat all to we’ve done. We’ve taken our normal our rooms to think about Being in lockdown feels like our rooms to think about what day-to-day lives for granted, we’ve done. We’ve taken our normal Mother Earth has sent us all to we’ve done. We’ve ourwhat normal we’ve used and abused our natural day-to-day lives fortaken granted, our rooms to think about day-to-day lives for granted, resources, and we’ve slaved away we’ve useddone. and abused our natural we’ve We’ve taken our normal we’ve used and abused natural for far too long under a our system resources, and we’ve slaved away day-to-day lives for granted, resources, and we’ve slaved away that’s hurting us. Now, it’s all for far too long under a system we’ve used and abused our natural for too long under a system come tofar ahurting screeching halt it’s and one that’s us. we’ve Now, allaway resources, and slaved that’s us. under Now, all thing is for certain: it’s aand come to far ahurting screeching halt it’s one for too long a weird system come to a screeching halt ait’s and one time to is be for alive. thing certain: weird that’s hurting us. it’s Now, all thing certain: it’s weird time to is be alive. come to for a screeching halt aand one tohave be for alive. Thetime rules been rewritten and thing is certain: it’s a weird we’ve had tohave adjust The time rules beenaccordingly. rewritten and be alive. The beenaccordingly. rewritten and Some ofrules us are flourishing, but we’ve had tohave adjust we’ve had tohave adjust accordingly. most ofofus flunking — rewritten or at Some usare are flourishing, but The rules been and Some usare are flourishing, but least it feels like that,—accordingly. big most ofof ushad flunking or at we’ve to adjust most ofof usus are flunking — big or at time. Regardless, it’s weird least it feels like that, Some are flourishing, but least it like that, totime. think of how quickly we’ve Regardless, it’s weird most of feels us are flunking — big or at Regardless, it’s weirdbig adjusted. Seeing my Uni friends totime. think of quickly we’ve least it how feels like that, to think of how quickly we’ve inadjusted. Zoom breakout rooms hasfriends become Seeing my Uni time. Regardless, it’s weird in adjusted. Seeing my Unibecome friends the new normal and frankly, I’ve Zoom rooms has thein tobreakout think of how quickly we’ve Zoom breakout roomsmy has become thein new normal andSeeing frankly, I’ve adjusted. Uni friends new normal and frankly, I’ve Zoom breakout rooms has become the new normal and frankly, I’ve

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{nonfiction}

Content Warning: Death, Illness


-Queen never known the four walls of my own known home better. Aswalls a somewhatnever the four of my catastrophist, there’s admittedly never known the fourAs walls of my own home better. a somewhata relief in knowing that never known the four walls of my our one owncatastrophist, home better. As a somewhatthere’s admittedly job in in this pandemic has been never known the four walls of my owncatastrophist, home better. As a somewhatthere’s admittedly a relief knowing that our one simple: stay home! own home better. As a somewhatcatastrophist, there’s admittedly a relief knowing that ourbeen one job in in this pandemic has catastrophist, there’s admittedly a relief knowing that ourbeen one jobsimple: in in this pandemic has stay home! If knowing astay timehome! traveller had warned a job relief in that our one in this pandemic has been simple: me sixhome! months ago about a deadly job in If this pandemic has been simple: stay a time traveller had warned and contagious reaching simple: If me astay time traveller had warned six home! months ago virus about a deadly Australia, I virus would have painted If me a and time traveller had warned six months ago about a deadly contagious reaching atraveller much ago scarier picture. Turns Ifme a and time had warned six months about a deadly contagious reaching Australia, I virus would have painted out we’re thepicture. lucky country. meand six months ago about a deadly contagious reaching Australia, I virus would have painted a much scarier Turns That’s not to discount the and contagious virus reaching Australia, I would have painted a much scarier Turns out we’re thepicture. lucky country. lives that have been lost, or Australia, I would have painted a much scarier picture. Turns outThat’s we’re the lucky country. not to discount the thenot countries who are really a out much scarier picture. Turns we’re the lucky country. That’s to discount the lives that have been lost, or struggling to flatten the out we’re the lucky country. That’s not to discount the lives that have been lost, or curve, the countries who are really but there’s simply nothing about That’s not tohave discount the really lives that been lost, or curve, thestruggling countries whoflatten are to the this time that’s been expected lives that have been lost, or curve, thestruggling countries who are really to flatten the but there’s simply nothing about or predictable most of about all, the the countries who are—really struggling to flatten the curve, butthis there’s simply nothing time that’s been expected or evolving pressure toabout live the your struggling to simply flatten the curve, butthis there’s time that’s been expected or predictable — nothing most of all, best and but there’s simply nothing this time that’s been expected or predictable — most mostproductive of all, evolving pressure to about live the your this time that’s beenproductive expected or predictable — most most of evolving pressure to all, live the your best and predictable — most mostproductive of live all, your the evolving pressure to best and evolving pressure to live your best and most productive best and most productive

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life during a time of immense global distress and instability. I mean, WHAT? Did I miss the part where that was supposed to make any sense? I’ve always believed that in the absence of external obligations, I was built to flourish. Daily to-do lists would be ticked, book piles devoured, and side hustles ‘hustled’. A week before university started, I was beyond desperate for a real break, and despite the horrible circumstances, lockdown seemed like the answer to my prayers — but hey, be careful what you wish for! After only two months in lockdown, Australia has already

begun to negotiate a possible way out. Hooray! This is good news, right? But...I’m freaking out. Despite my best intentions, my lockdown experience so far has consisted of impulse buying a Nintendo Switch, reading books sporadically, and rewatching some of my favourite TV shows. I’ve also been spending a ridiculous amount of time staring at my bedroom wall trying to telepathically burn my house down, craving the outdoors and something to spice up the day. All of those things are relatively acceptable, but apparently, I was supposed to become a dedicated yogi, a champion breadbaker, a supreme reader, a master jigsaw-solver, and probably a thousand other things I haven’t caught up with. My opportunity to ‘perfect’ and take advantage of isolation has been taken from me too soon, and I’m unreasonably mad about it.

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{nonfiction}


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It sounds ridiculous, but like so many others, lockdown guilt is eating me alive. Coronavirus or not, I’m a type-A serial perfectionist, so the standards we’re now inadvertently placing on ourselves during lockdown, are the standards I’ve long lived with. The only difference this time is that everyone else seems to be upholding them. These rules are no longer internal or self-imposed, they’re legitimised externally on social media or in conversations with friends. This means that not only am I now failing myself, but I’m also failing everybody else. The possibility of a second wave of infections is concerning. So, if a little extra time in lockdown makes that less likely and gives me the chance to up my game, then I see no problem. I’m ready, now: ready to become the quaran-queen of wellness and productivity after being stuck in this


weird limbo where I’ve fully booked nor fully ready to prove myself. problem: should I have

been neither free. I’m But that’s the to?

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, being in a pandemic is inherently stressful. Our bodies and minds weren’t made to flourish under these circumstances. Many of us have lost jobs, been separated from friends and loved ones, or have had to postpone holidays and milestones. Lots of people who live with mental illness have been left without their regular coping mechanisms, while some people risk their lives every time they buy groceries. Is this really the time to be overextending ourselves? It’s not that goals aren’t worthwhile — I seriously applaud anyone who has found a positive takeaway or made meaning from all of this — but I think the situation calls for some extra

self-compassion. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the bar is in urgent need of lowering. In this environment, even changing out of your PJ’s requires effort and feels worthy of celebration. Heck, if you remember to brush your teeth twice a day, I salute you!

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{nonfiction}


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The fact that so many of us found relief in being forced to take time off is indicative of a bigger problem. We’ve been running on empty for so long that we don’t know any other way. We hustle like this, in part, because of capitalism, but now we’ve learned the hard way that we can’t rely on it to save us in times of need. Some of us have been riding-and-dying for institutions that discard us when the going gets tough.

So, if anything, now is the time to be actively resisting the need to prove our worth through our output. My verdict? Wherever you sit on the lockdown productivity spectrum is good enough. I refuse to judge you for however your brain has decided to respond to this stressful and less than ideal situation. We’re all human and we’re trying our best. Things won’t be this way forever, but I can guarantee that no situation improves with self-punishment. I’m not fully there yet, and will probably continue to feel inadequate for some time, but I hope that for all us, selfcompassion finds us on the other side.

Sunny Adcock is a second year Journalism and Public Relations student. Find more on www.asunnyspot.com.au


MOURNING THE THE MOURNING THE MOURNING BURNED HOUSE HOUSE BURNED BY JESSE VEGA BY JESSE VEGA BY BY JESSE VEGA BY JESSE VEGA BY JESSE VEGA BYJESSE JESSEVEGA VEGA

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Jesse Vega is a second year Photography student. Find more on Instagram @iessevega


(thank

by Ch’aska Cuba de Reed When I take a screenshot of my father, brother, and myself on FaceTime, I wonder if I will look back on it. Is this what I will show my children one day? During better times, I would take a photo of my family with a camera to develop and print so I could cherish the physical copy. Screens are all we have now. We are separated by a fifteen-minute drive, but with a suppressed immune system in our midst, we are held apart by much more.

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{fiction}


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you) Except we aren’t.

Catch me bemoaning my use of technology every other day of the week, but on this pandemic day, let me say thank you. I will be printing the screenshot I have (thank you), and others that I take (thank you) while we eat dinner or sip drinks on palm-sized screens (thank you). And I will collate them together (thank you) and I will show them to my children (thank you) and I will say, This is your grandfather in the most fashionable mask on the market (thank you).

Ch’aska Cuba de Reed is a first year Communications student. Find more on Instagram @chaskacdr


LOVE IN LOCKDOWN BY ELLA CYRESZKO

For years and years, fairytales have guided us in our pursuit of romantic love. We’ve been Cinderellas waiting for our Prince Charmings. Beauties finding our Beasts. Or Princes searching for our Snow Whites. Either way, we’ve heard these stories a million times, and now...we’re all living out the same role: trapped away in our towers, no one allowed in or out, left only to dream out of windows. We’re basically Rapunzel, minus the Disney soundtrack. Even from the confines of our towers, the siren call of love hasn’t escaped us. Whether you’re a lonesome single or a serial dater, COVID-19 has without a doubt affected our love lives. For some people, here’s how:

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Regardless of your relationship status right now, one thing’s for sure: this is a first for all of us, so it’s okay to flip the script. Keep exploring these uncharted territories, and stay strong with the knowledge that soon it will be time to let down our long hair. Life outside the tower has never looked so good.

Ella Cyreszko is a second year Journalism and International Studies student. Find more on Instagram @ellcyk


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Malware_ Void by Lily Cameron

Content Warning: Alcohol The laptop stares back at her, blinking a mocking metronome. To-do list by her side, a growing collection of un-ticked boxes climbing down the page. She scratches idly at a patch of dry skin on her cheek. It feels like someone else, a piece of plaster. She checks her phone, again (no notifications), then turns back to the laptop. // output the desired number of iterations var numberOfOptions = 4; for (var i = 0; i < numberOfOptions; i++){ console.log(flatten(‘#origin#’)); } The phone dings! and she scrambles for it, a small prayer or chant building in the back of her mind: pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease — Hi, The client needs the code for today, so… She slumps in her seat. The humming of the fridge sounds like an angry wasp, reminds her of a sting from last summer. The back of her neck tingles with phantom pain, with the memory of a homemade poultice applied gently, soothing words spoken softly, caresses and coddling.

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She shakes her head, trying to dislodge the thoughts from her mind, and gets to her feet: #walk#: (‘fridge’), if hungry==true: (open_’fridge’) then: (close_’fridge’) if hungry==not_true: (open_’fridge’) then: (close_’fridge’). There’s a vague feeling of comfort that remains, like the residual heat in skin after the sun goes down. A half-remembered dream of laughing and the intertwining of fingers. #walk#: (‘bathroom’), #apply#: (‘lipstick’_red). She wishes that Margot would text, just to see her name on the screen. Bits of her remain, physical yet ephemeral, in the house. The smell of her still floats up when the sheets are changed (something stale covered in vanilla). Her spare toothbrush hides among rubble in the second drawer. She lingers in her arrangement of the living room furniture. Margot loved Things, became obsessed with objects and the backstories she gave them. She couldn’t help but notice Lost Things all around them, added Thing after Thing to her collection. She’d cradle the Thing in her arms and talk about it like something loved. // output the desired number of iterations var numberOfOptions = 4; for (var i = 0; i < numberOfOptions; i++){ console.log(grammar.flatten(‘#origin#’)); }


She sits in front of her laptop, attempts to work. She can’t stop checking her phone. She’s got this image in her head: Margot with a lazy wind lapping at her clothes, enveloped by a blooming blue dusk. The houses on their street were all in a state of wintry hibernation, the soft glow of lamplight tumbling from their windows with the blinds still open. And there Margot sat, crushing fallen jacaranda blossoms, her legs splayed out in front like a child’s. Not bothering to undo the laces, she yanked off her left shoe and replaced it with a Lost Thing — a shoe several sizes too big. She walked like that the rest of the way home, her lopsided steps downbeat, as the night grew heavy around them. #walk#: (‘bathroom’), #apply#: (more_ ‘lipstick’_red). Her body feels mechanical. Her hands move in jolts, picking at her teeth, scouring away lipstick stains. And she waits. Sits at her laptop and fiddles with the mouse. Opens and shuts the fridge door. Finds the box of hidden Things (at the bottom of their once shared wardrobe): the too-big-shoe, an Opal card with its code scratched off, shells from their trip to the beach, a shard of porcelain that catches the light. Margot was always collecting them. And leaving them behind.

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At 2:54 p.m., her phone dings! again: Margot’s name, as if she wished it into being. Hey. Left your stuff downstairs. M. She nods to herself, lips in a taut line. Checks the phone again — no notifications. Turns back to her laptop. Sits with her hands in her lap. Stands up. Moves like an automaton. #walk#: (‘bathroom’), #remove#: (‘lipstick’_red). #walk#: (‘kitchen’), if sad==true: (pour_’drink’). #sit#: (‘floor’), then: (try_not_to_’text’), then: (try_not_to_’cry’). Her phone dings! She rushes to her desk and clutches it in two hands. Hi, How are you going with that code? If we could have it by 5 p.m. that would be… #sit#: (‘floor’), #cry# #cry# #cry#

Lily Cameron is a third year Creative Writing student. Read more of her work at www.lilycameron.co


Electra Odyssey

By Angelina Tran

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Angelina Tran is a third year Visual Communication student. Find more on Instagram @lookatmytutu


UP THERE

by Tom Disalvo

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one passes now — an ear-splitting glide scurry to the nearest window, head turned to his favourite view: aeroplanes on the blue. he longs for that zoom, those heavenly grumbles, that windblown mumble of his lifelong quiz; where are you going? to London, Paris, Tokyo too, oh, the places he’ll go! revel in the ruckus it causes down below; chattering windows, sentences adjourned — world ceases,

for that moment; metal angels in our midst. he doodles on glass with breath and fingertip; great walls,leaning towers,big ben’s; oh,the places he’ll go aeroplane shrinks, he pinches it between fingers flicks it off yonder to emptier heavens, barer air does anything have an end, up there? in its wake he traces contrails, skidding on loop-dee-loops oh, the places he’d missed he rakes a foot on the floor, charging engines in his belly with outstretched arms, and head as a steering wheel, he soars.

Tom Disalvo is a third year Creative Writing and Journalism student.Find more on Instagram @tomdisalvo


For those isolating at home with their family or partner, conversations about the latest COVID-19 vaccine developments, or what book we’re speed-reading, are no longer cutting it. Instead, there are those who attack the pile of dusty books on their shelf, those who still procrastinate Uni assignments (despite seemingly having all the time in the world to complete them), and my personal fave: the multi-tasking self-care guru who can’t seem to quell their online shopping addiction because it’s #selfcare. One week, I was Carole Baskin,complete with multiple leopard prints and a flower crown. The following week, I was Scott Morrison. Hawaiian shirt on, piña colada in hand.

But nothing seems to quite fill the hole typically filled by good wine and a chat with your besties. In its place, conversations go from lighthearted daily texts and tagging each other in memes, to long FaceTime calls with friends. My girl gang is spread across the country — one stuck in Tasmania, one hunkered down in Melbourne, and one lost in rural NSW.

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For many of us, being unable to visit family or travel home for milestones and birthdays means that virtual celebrations will have to suffice. Despite the quiet, my friends and I have found a much needed joy in our weekly dress-up trivia sessions. Extra points go to anyone wearing a spectacular outfit or drinking an amazing cocktail concoction. Our first trivia ran for close to three hours (a fact I’ll attribute to our lack of socialising elsewhere). Inevitably, we struggled to stick to the designated questions — topics like the Twilight Saga or famous dictators — and would instead prefer to talk about how annoying living with siblings was, or what we had for dinner. Any chance to have a guilt-free bedroom wine, to dress up, and to improve my general knowledge was a welcome interruption to the ghastly amount of screen-time I’ve accumulated on my phone. For most of us in lockdown, it’s during calls like this that the usually hidden messy living rooms and unmade beds are on display for all to see.

: Warning Alcohol


Sometimes though, it’s not so easy to pick up the phone. It’s easier to sit in silence with your thoughts than it is to sit through a trivia call, pretending you’re doing well. However, I can’t help but feel like we’re all connected by the shared experience of having our normal routines totally upended. Seeing my university lecturer teach with her beanie on as her cat walked across the computer was both unnerving and comforting. I looked down at my own baggy, stained tee (no pants on) and felt a little better. So, if you’re feeling a little alone in lockdown, pick up your phone. Call a friend. FaceTime your bestie with your pimple cream dotted and a raggedy old tee (complete with Thai takeaway stains). They won’t care — I know I don’t. It’s important to stay connected, and strangely comforting to see someone going through the same thing on the other end of the line.

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We can’t help but fantasize about the world when it ‘returns to normal’. My Pinterest is full of travel inspiration, with adventures awaiting on the other side of quarantine. I miss my friends, I miss dancing, hugs, and Friday night cheese and wine. But should we go back to ‘normal’, or are we ready to create something better? Something different? I’m lucky that my girl gang, warts and all, is tight. But for others,this might be the first time they’ve seen through the looking glass,to the unpolished, un-hustled, unfiltered truth. Does it need to be the last? Sitting here, slowly, doing not much at all, feels quite nice for now — but if your mindful breathing and Lush bath bombs aren’t quite cutting it...pick up the phone.

Georgia Emily is a second year Journalism and Public Relations student. Find more on Instagram @the_colourfullife


t I m o h W To May Co To Whom It May Concern is a series of postcards aimed at docu menting the tim e spent in isolation, centred around mundane observations that come from the most unassuming places. The format of a postcard is traditionally intended to let loved ones know where you are and how youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been. In that context, this is my way of letting the world know where I am, that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m still here, and will be back soon enough, as we all will.

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by Jag Tamruksa

oncern


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Jag Tamruksa is a graduated Visual Communications student. Find more on Instagram @jags_safe_space


students’ association reports SAM SILCOCK

ERIN DALTON

In response to our recent survey, we have started up or converted several services — we have created the Bluebird Brekkie bags as an answer to highly demanded food service during the pandemic for us to provide free food for students. We are also working on providing subsidies for students’ mobile data plans or through investing in dongles to ensure all students are able to access their online coursework during this mainly online period. Additionally, we have transitioned our caseworker service to also provide advice about hardship funds and Centrelink payments — this should allow students to have a much greater ability to understand the processes that can provide financial assistance to them during the pandemic.

As a student, I have found these past couple of months to be extremely challenging, a far from uncommon position to be in. The huge amount of uncertainty that has been maintained for such an extended period has impacted my job as a student representative in a large number of ways. Ultimately, advocating on behalf of students to the university on issues such as final exams, altered assessment options, and changes to academic transcription of fails within such a short timeframe has been a challenge I never expected to have to tackle during my term. I’m pleased to say that there have been some definite successes so far, and that as an organisation, the UTSSA has been stepping up admirably to the challenges ahead.

PRESIDENT

I have also been in many discussions with the university about certain issues. One of the most notable achievements from those discussions was that there after me arguing that it is abundantly necessary for there to be an extension to the closure of TCM due to many TCM classes being cancelled for this semester. There has been a six month extension implemented so far and there will possibly be an additional six months. Other issues discussed include various methods of how the process of invigilated exams are to occur this year, how the staged return plan to university will work, the processes surrounding Summer 2020 and making it as accessible as possible to detract from any missed opportunities for study from this pandemic, Higher Degree Research students extensions for time to study, and changing of plans in regards to passes and fails. Please contact me at president@ utsstudentsassociation.org if you require any more information about our advocacy, services, or, wish to present to me issues to advocate on.

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EDUCATION VICE-PRESIDENT

This semester marks a significant deviation from the norm, and I expect that there will be ongoing impacts throughout at least the remainder of this year, if not going into next year as well. Through it all, the UTSSA and I will be continuing to advocate for students and ensure that we are not unfairly impacted by the rapid changes that the university has had to adopt in response to a complete upheaval of the normal running of society. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, or wish to be further involved, please talk to me in person or get in contact with me at education@utsstudentsassociation.org.

MIRANDA CROSSLEY SECRETARY

Hey everyone! I hope you are all adjusting to studying from home. Autumn Semester is not how anyone would have expected. COVID-19 has brought many challenges to students from all backgrounds. In whatever way these challenges are affecting you, financial, emotional, physical, or anything else, the UTS Students’ Association are here to listen and we want to help.


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Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey that was circulated in April. It was hugely beneficial to learn where students are most strongly feeling the effects and what more we can do as the UTS association for students. The results of the survey have shown some quite heartbreaking responses. It has shown us the vast ways that COVID-19 has disrupted student life for everyone, with a particular burden on International Students. The responses were able to validate the initiatives that we are running to help make things a little easier for students. The UTS Students’ Association are offering a great number of services in these trying times. As we can’t run Bluebird Brekkie at the moment, we are offering free bags with a variety of breakfast foods (yes, there are vegan options available). Simply email students.association@ uts.edu.au to collect one. Our caseworkers are also currently offering advice on how to apply for Centrelink. We are also endeavouring to give disadvantaged students data subsidies. For more information please check out the UTS Students’ Association Facebook page or the website. Of course please feel free to email secretary@utsstudentsassociation.org to get in touch with me personally.

TALLULAH WATSON MOYLE TREASURER

There is a lot of desperation and stress floating around the UTS community right now and that is completely understandable but what I think is easily forgotten is that everyone, even the university, are having to make incredibly hard decisions and that is okay. However, we, the UTSSA, are here to make sure that UTS students are always put first and that their welfare and access to a fair education is not compromised through this. It is an extremely stressful time at the moment and I have probably said that a million times, but I strongly believe in being realistic and allowing ourselves to handle this pandemic in whatever way we need to. We always need to be kind to ourselves but now that is more important than ever.

I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I believe we can get through this if we stay strong together. This isolation is so important for the future, but it can so easily create pain and sadness. I care so deeply about students’ mental health and do not want this pandemic to affect anyone negatively. Please continue to focus on your studies but allow yourself to process this time as much as you need. If you need anything, feel completely free to email any one of the executive including me at treasurer@utsstudentsassociation.org. You may be surprised at what we can do for you.

AIDAN O’ROUKE

ASSISTANT SECRETARY The university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the principal focus of the Council this semester. We are eager to see the commitments made by the university be delivered to students while continuing in our own efforts to provide services. My contribution to the Council has been twofold. Firstly, I have led policy discussions on two key issues. Secondly, I have been actively participating in Executive meetings which have spearheaded our response. Our focus as council members is to ensure students get the best university experience possible, however, COVID-19 has threatened our student experience. Subsequently, the Council is in the process of establishing services for students and continuing our services where we can, such as the Bluebird Brekkie Bags. On policy, the Council resolved that it believes that International Students deserve lower fees during this crisis, noting that these students pay much higher fees and they pay upfront. Moreover, the Council has expressed their particular concern with AI invigilated exams, recognising the significant privacy concerns that they raise. On these issues, I have been a leading voice while working with both the President and EducationVice President to deliver our message to university management.

Blah blah is a Student


Moving forward, I intend to consider the absence of the end of semester Stu-Vac period preceding exams. I recognise that Stu-Vac is critical for students hoping to meet their own high standards. I wish my peers well and encourage them to voice their concerns to our councillors. We’re here to help!

BELLA FORTI

WOM*N’S OFFICER The Wom*n’s Collective are aiming to maintain a close relationship between members through having our online meetings and being quite active on our social media platforms! One of Dana (Wom*n’s Convenor) and my goals for this semester has been to facilitate a strong and safe environment for members of the collective, we feel that up until this point we have managed to satisfy that goal! Whilst in these times everything feels very unpredictable and stressful, it is helpful to have a safe space where likeminded people can speak their minds, and feel a strong sense of community, and we try our best to maintain that at all times, but especially now. For the remainder of semester, we will continue hosting online weekly meetings, as promoted in our online spaces, and we will be hosting some fun events, like game or movie nights online to help students have some fun as we come up to a stressful assessment period! If you’re a woman or non-binary student at UTS and are interested in getting involved with WoCo, you can join our FB group ‘2020 UTS Wom*n’s Collective’, follow our FB page ‘UTS Women’s Collective’, follow our Instagram @utswomenscollective, or sign up for our mailing list at https://utsstudentsassociation. org.au/collectives/womens.

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AHMED FERKH

WELFARE OFFICER With a drastic decrease in employment rates, and everyone finding themselves imprisoned in their homes, the livelihoods of many students are sure to be affected. You do not have to look far on UTS Confessions to see a post about the mental toll Social Isolation and Online Learning takes on students. That is why the UTS Welfare Collective will work hard, with the UTSSA, to make sure that no student with mental illness is left behind, and to make sure they have access to the Mental Health services they need. We aim to collaborate with the organisations in the UTSSA, other collectives, and external mental health organisations. Our collective has also commissioned a service to assist students in navigating Government Welfare Payments (JobKeeper, JobSeeker, Youth Allowance etc.), aswell as the UTS COVID-19 Student Support Package. Call the UTS Students’ Association at (02) 9514 1155 to see how you can access it. The Welfare Collective is also working very hard to run its campaign to improve Faith rooms at UTS. We have posted a petition online, and we will be working with other religious societies to Lobby UTS Management for better Faith rooms. These are tough times, and the UTSSA has a lot of work on its shoulders, but I hope that my Collective can work to keep this very important campaign running, for the sake of all people of Faith and no faiths, at UTS. You can read more about the campaign here: http://chng.it/NxvsxCRV


Passionate about change? Get involved with your UTS Studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Association.

Photographer: FJ Gaylor

utsstudentsassociation.org.au facebook.com/UTSStudentsAssociation


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CONTACT US Email us at submissions@utsvertigo. com.au and one of our friendly editors will be in touch. Check facebook.com/utsvertigo for callouts, and feel free to send any enquiries there too. Blah blah is a Student


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