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Beware the midwinter night. It’s when traps and treacheries crawl out from beneath the undergrowth. Shadows become culpable for our superstitions, and we blame the moon for men turned to wolves. Have you settled yourself against the strength of your decisions, or bitten off too much to chew? I’ve seen power close upon you like a pair of jaws; you look to the good intentions that you had, but find their silhouette left as a smudge on the concrete, twisted into something cold and unnatural. A crow toys with a broken mirror. Seven black cats walk under a ladder.


02

UTS STUDENT MAGAZINE : AUGUST 2016

E D I T OR I A L A MESSAGE FROM THE TEAM The beginning of the spring semester bears a lingering chill, from a rushed July and the several thrilling Game of Thrones winters you’ve now caught up with. When you’re outside, you still feel a prickle starting on the small of your spine as your sweater shifts. But you will settle in. Soon it will be warm enough that you can stand more than three metres away from a heater. Until then: anticipation. This volume explores relationships, peeling away power, and vulnerability - your exposed back. In our themed section, Daniel Faust instantly liquefies the banker and the bromeliad in ‘$100 Drowning’. His words hang in a slight deafness; he speaks to us from under water. Evie Hilliar’s poetry is how it feels to be naked, when you are made up of twigs and tied up with string: Your claws have unstitched me so that beneath my skin I’m no lamb to the slaughter but fur, tooth, and sinew as by lying down with wolves, my god, I’ve learned to howl. In features, we deal in endings; Ninah Kopel discusses euthanasia, whilst our editors Zac and Kiên visit a café and talk exclusively about death in ‘Coffee, Cake and Conversation’. There, they realise that mortality is as inevitable as jam to a scone, then spread life thick and take a bite. In our closing section, Tiernan Rennie makes an unexpected ‘Modest Proposal’, satirising our society’s warped view of human life when it comes to those sleeping rough on the streets.

Our showcase section once again demonstrates the strength of UTS’ student body in the creative arts. Natalie Shue’s artwork, ‘Inner Bloom’, shows us how music plays in a stunning triptych. Rekha Dhanaram brings in bits of the woods and places them across the pages, before transforming them into our beautiful cover art with ink and brush. In ‘Green Mangoes’ Harry Goddard speaks of Singapore with the lightness of a stick insect, his story as much remembered as it is imagined. Michael Kennedy’s ‘Tar’ condenses into a profligate love - one that congeals and couples our desire with our fear. Helena Rainert transforms past Vertigo publications into original work as the winner of our blackout poetry competition. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this volume: 93 people were involved in bringing it together, which is almost as many as the amount of people who bought that Robin Thicke album. We are constantly astounded by our visual contributors, and in this volume especially by the expressionism and naïve art of Addy Chan, Kelly Lam, and Maria Yanovsky. An enormous thank you to our design team for shaping hundreds of Word documents into something so tangible. Love,

OFF THE VOLUME : WITH THE WOLVES PLAYLIST DAVID BURLEY & HUYEN HAC HELEN TRAN Head to our website, utsvertigo.com.au, to listen along while you flip through the pages of Volume Four.

THANK YOUS

FUCK YOUS

/ Body heat

/ Manspreading

‘Free’ by Broods

/ Vertigo Design Team

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‘Talk Baby Talk’ by Emma Louise

/ Iceland

/ Brexit

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‘Hunger of the Pine’ by Alt-J

/ Democracy Sausage

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‘Life Itself ’ by Glass Animals

/ Pokémon Go

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‘F E M A L E’ by Sampa The Great

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‘Warrior’ by Aurora

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‘Hurricane’ by Halsey

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E D I T OR S HOW WOULD YOU DIE IN A HORROR FILM?

Ling McGregor Editor-in-chief (Creative); Visual Showcase Editor Slowed down from high cholesterol.

Lauren Meola Editor-in-chief (Managing); Off-Broadway Editor Ink poisoning from excessive list-making.

Ante Bruning Proof Editor; Culture Editor Doughnut Time addiction.

Jennifer Worgan Proof Editor; Satire Editor Having too much fun.

Zac Blue Written Showcase Editor (Poetry); Lifestyle and Innovation Editor Death by deadline.

Raveena Grover The Social Environment Editor; Spontaneous combustion from loving dogs.

Surabi Alauddin Politics Editor Pasta.

Srisha Sritharan Online Editor Secretly the killer.

Jessica Wang Online Editor Incorrect mushroom identification.

Kiên Lê Board Special Projects Editor Lifestyle and Innovation Editor Suddenly and with great regret.

Kimberly Luo Creative Director Attempting to catch Pikachu on Pokémon Go.

Wendy San Creative Director Uncontrolled cake consumption.

EDITORS

SUB-EDITORS

CREATIVE DIRECTORS

Surabi Alauddin Zac Blue Kiên Lê Board Ante Bruning Raveena Grover Ling McGregor Lauren Meola

Srisha Sritharan

Janette Chen

Brittany Smith

Kimberly Luo

Jessica Wang

Jason Corbett

Beatrice Tan

Wendy San

Jennifer Worgan

Olivia Costa

Helen Tran

Isaac Garcia

Gus Wyllie

DESIGNERS

Cameron Hart

Jordan Evans

Zoe Knowles

Rekha Dhanaram

Enoch Mailangi

Megan Wong ARTWORK : LING MCGREGOR

03


04

UTS STUDENT MAGAZINE : AUGUST 2016

Vol um e 4 C ON T R I B UT ORS WRITING

VISUAL

Imogen Bailey

Ninah Kopel

Natalie Borghi

Kyryl Polozyuk

Lachlan Barker

Chris McKay

Sabrina Calero

Emiko Reed

Andrew Blunt

Lucy Murray

Addy Chan

Lilav Saaid

Gabriella Brackenbury-Soldenhoff

Sharni Nichols

Judy Dao

Natalie Shue

David Burley

Helena Rainert

Luke Darcy

Andrew Vuong

Bryce Craig

Sophie Ray

Basilia Dulawan

Maria Yanovsky

Fabián Marcel Vergara DeLeón

Larissa Shearman

Collette Duong

Shay Xayalith

Daniel Faust

Jessica Smalley

Georgia Doust

Drake Fenty

Mariela Powell-Thomas

Joumana Elomar

Tamara Fraser

Tiernan Rennie

Kristina Grasiella

Jonathan Gaymer

Mohamed Rumman

Claire Harmer

Shane Gillard

Kieran Smith

Kazuki Komatsu

Harry Goddard

Camilla Turnbull

Kelly Lam

Will Hall

Zalehah Turner

Wilson Leung

Evie Hilliar

Vijhai Utheyan

Eden Lim

Sam Howes

Ruby Wawn

Jess Lin

Shannon Kelleher

Lucinda Wedesweiler

Jamilla McCrossin

Rosanna Kellett

Jasmine Mijares

Michael Louis Kennedy

Rosa Nguyen

Christina Knezevich

Vanessa Papastavros

CREDITS Cover Rekha Dhanaram

Section Breaks Megan Wong

Opening Page Kyryl Polozyuk (Oil Painting) Ling McGregor (Words)

Advertising Stephanie King

WELCOME TO COUNTRY

PUBLISHING

UTS acknowledges and recognises the Gadigal people of the Eora nation as the Traditional Owners and holders of knowledge for these places where our UTS campuses now stand at Broadway and Market City. UTS also acknowledges Elders past, present and future, including the contribution that Australia’s Indigenous people make to the academic and cultural life of the university.

Vertigo is published by the UTS students’ association, and printed by SOS printing, Alexandria.

- Aunty Joan Tranter, Inaugural Elder in Residence, University of Technology, Sydney.

Vertigo and its entire contents are protected by copyright. Vertigo will retain reprint rights. Contributors retain all other rights for resale and republication. No material may be reproduced without the prior consent of written copyright holders.

DISCLAIMER The contents of Vertigo do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editors or the UTS Students’ Association.

COPYRIGHT


CONTENTS WITH THE WOLVES

06

showcase 52

/ Short Story

/ Fashion

/ Verse Essay

/ Film

/ Poetry

/ Visual Sampling / Photography

politicS 16

/ Cover Artist

/ News

/ Fiction

/ Class

/ Poetry

/ Ideologies: Opinion

/ Blackout Poetry

/ Media

OFF-BROADWAY

the social environment 24

/ Join the Club

/ Trending

/ Faculty Feature

/ Ideologies / Racism / Social Movements: Opinion

/ Insearch / Award Program / SA Reports

/ Relationships

/ Collectives

Culture 34

lifestyle & INNOVATION

/ Tribute

/ Subcultures

/ Film / Music / Live / Books / Arts: Opinion

74

84

/ Charity / Food / Health / Sex

REAR WINDOW

93

/ News / Comic / Horoscopes

ARTWORK : LING MCGREGOR

05


06

WITH THE WOLVES : SHORT STORY

$100 DROWNING DANIEL FAUST

Trigger warning: This article references rape and sexual abuse. It’s amazing, I thought at the time, how quickly you can liquefy a sexuality, so that it’s right there hot & viscous in the coffee he bought me, in the dark lacquer of the café tables at 2 am. We’re sitting out in the warmth blowing off the motorway, in the kinda light to have a car crash under, bodies and metal all that same pale hue. ‘‘Do you want something to eat first?’ he asks. I’ve taken some metoclopramide to help with the nausea but it hasn’t quite hit and the blue-white skin of his wrist exposes as he calls, again, for the waiter. Less hungry than sick. Ideally I’d get it over with and fuck off home. But he was here for the full romantic experience, and mum said underfed. He holds the coffee cup just so (can you see it?) and smears latte foam over his thin lips and asks about my degree while I chew. I chew real slow & delicate for him. ‘Just arts,’ I say. ‘Just?’ I grin through the food, trying to look damaged. ‘It was arts or physics. But arts is fine for now.’ Oh, boy, I can tell he’s got a hard-on from that. What’s a sweet & vulnerable teen doing out with dirty old men at 2 am? He gets on to his business and marketing degree so I sink the coffee like a champ and pucker up. The romance is wearing off but the metoclopramide is just getting started and he pays the bill and I drag him by the wrist to his car.

But I don’t let them fuck me. It keeps them hanging on, free meals, rolled-up fifties pushed from my nose to my pocket. Same $40 blowjob. Nah, I’ve got them suckered on the boyfriend experience, and now I’ve got a lush trolley full of Woolworths. I slide it into the checkout of who must be the most beautiful girl in the suburbs. ‘How’re you going?’ ‘Fine,’ I say, smiling. ‘Thank you.’ I give her the $100 note I ended up earning last night. Or the night before? She laughs as she gives me the change and I leave the store with the most genuine erection since I started working nights. I pick them all up online, now. You hear horror stories of curb-crawlers with knives in crusty old socks and lurid, murderous eyes, but online you can tell just how lonely/ generous they are. The guy I’m on my way to see now is your standard coke-head investment banker. It’s a North Shore house call, big & modern with a lot of wooden slats. He’s dressed in a crimson Chinese-caricature robe of flowing silk, he’s drinking a gin and tonic at the door. Bald & old. The works.


He ushers me inside - loaded already, pale fingers sinking down my back to rest above my hips. He’s cut up two lines on a coffee table all romantic under a high red candle. A bleary, red-rimmed eye, nice and dilated, blinks wearily. I’ve only been drinking, and I move nice and easy to a black leather couch overlooking the moon climbing on top of the sea. It’s waxing down into the midnight backdrop, horizonless in the dark. The guy closes the door and walks over, nodding and grinning but I can tell through whatever fucked-up bender he’s on he’s nervous. Was he this nervous last time? I don’t think it was that long ago. He gestures pleasantly and I shrug and stick a note up my nose, his sweaty fingers resting lightly on my shoulder the whole time and oh god fuck what was that what’s that? I blink and he’s holding my shoulder down firmly but he’s got this shit-eating grin and those eyes, the ones that peer through keyholes and into rat traps and I move to get up and it hits like a sudden intimacy, like cold tiles: I can feel him undressing me, peeling clothes off and a dull light moves beyond it, warm and pink, rippling, peering down silently and I need to take a breath and I need to oh god And I come to on the stone floor. Reeling, limp and grey. I find what clothes I can and slip straight through the front door, staggering through carnations and bromeliads through two blocks to a taxi, headlights, help: ‘Where do you want to go?’ Does he care oh god does he know? I give him my home address, slipping back under as he sloshes the wheels out of the gutter, as rain pelts down over the windshield wipers thudding in the distance Dettol-scented hands shake me awake under a streetlight. I give the driver the notes in my pocket and push out into the rain, but – no... this isn’t my street. I hazily make out the snickering 7-Eleven on the corner, the salacious trees in cahoots overhead. The cab must’ve dropped me a block over, shit, one foot after the other but here’s the yellow headlights slipping warm and slick down my back, the taxi’s come back thank god and I see my shadow open on up onto the footpath. Though the engine is cutting off, high beams howling I hear the thud of the door and see the silhouette move like a hound, like a thunderclap, a clap of sweaty, sticky fingers on my wrist and up on over my mouth as headlights glare on his polished pate, eyes not hurt or confused (still dilated though) but absent, methodical, a knee pushing me to the ground zippers screaming And here he drives my face into the wet bitumen except I know he’s pulling my hair and now I feel the hot breath and I know and yes I know. I kick out with a foot, crumple a front fender, and the car starts to shriek, orange hazards frantically beaming down through the rain-soaked alley where the mud moves over the concrete like flesh and windows wink on over sheer walls of painted brick a scream and the girl. It’s her, from the Woolies. I twist hard from under him and slide my face over the gravel, to see down the road to where she’s frozen staring on the footpath. She’s drowning in the rain, mouth open like a movie. But the hands are pushing me deep under, into the gutter, into the water, and I watch her drown, is she saying something? Is she laughing?

artwork : BASILIA DULAWAN

07


08

WITH THE WOLVES : VERSE ESSAY

BENEDICTION

MARIELA POWELL-THOMAS


i want to rip my woman from myself i don’t want to feel the swell of breasts the fullness of a body, ripe like summer fruit (i can feel it rotting) i want to be as flat as the empty horizon and as barren as the great expanses of desert remove my body and all its unwanted implications i want to tear out the ocean of my womb, cut off my hands, bear no life. I want to rip the woman from my b o d y

And this like a blessing; two soft girl bodies lying next to each other in the heat i can feel it the / benediction / of your body against mine, your sand dune limbs f i l l i n g the gaping cracks in mine. Remind me: how do i be in a place that feels like a desert without wilting? How do i learn to live with the hurt? Why doesn’t my skeleton always hold me up? Keep that warm bravery floating in the soft hollow of your throat. The world will never pull that out of you. The mellow glow of that ball of fire sparks your voice: you are something deep and special. Something that not everyone knows how to handle. But with those that do, you become the stars.

a r t w o r k : K E L LY L A M

09


10

WITH THE WOLVES : POETRY

my bad habit EVIE HILLIAR Your smile is tucked in your jacket pocket begging my itching hand to unstick it and hold it between two fingers, my resolve dissolves after you ask me three times go on, light the match. I seek you out in daylight I should have kept you a night time indulgence but it’s my own atlas of a heart that scouts something more. I tried to build a fortress but the automatic doors opened and closed for anyone who pressed the button. Open and close. Open. The elevator was our sanctuary we only existed between floors until the doors, no longer jammed spilled little touches and extended glances all over the floor. It wasn’t sudden but gradual the way the carpet soaked through the roofs and dropped down onto a thousand nonchalant crowns who finally looked up to see what we had become. Though they tried to avert their eyes our car crash was magnificent and the wooden doors under my skin that you scratched your way through had become a shredded welcome mat marked by your dirty footprints.


I wonder if pieces of it will stick to your shoe as you walk away I wonder if the carpets will stain I wonder, most of all, if I should have just taken the stairs. “Ask me a question.” “If you were any animal, what would you be?” “A wolf.” And thus, I’m beginning to know you. My, how big your eyes are and how they change after three drinks and a cigarette you look at me like red meat hanging lazily from a rack of skinny bones and I wonder, are you hungry? As you bite my bottom lip how does it taste? Are you satisfied? Your claws have unstitched me so that beneath my skin I’m no lamb to the slaughter but fur, tooth, and sinew as by lying down with wolves, my god, I’ve learned to howl. “Ask me a question. Am I satisfied? Am I satisfied? Will I ever be?”

artwork : WENDY SAN

11


12

WITH THE WOLVES : POETRY

WITH THE WOLVES JONATHAN GAYMER


As far as I am concerned there is only the pack only weighted fur and splintered claw only parched mouth only slavering tongue only and only dead teeth yellowed unsold indecently incidentally incisors unlevelled and dishevelled only beast and beast.

I can’t look at you right now eyes fierce and unpruned allowed to flow and fly and see deep and far who is this to walk among me? I will chase my tail unending the wind undying they are amongst this encrypted forest. Unearthed and familiar I will know them I never can tell what I’m doing here I cannot snarl breath mists in front of me so does hers and hers alone ageless wake wades ‘mongst the edges of carrion eyes I see death twisted in her fur my moon lies ahead my paradise firmly in the air I never know what I’m doing here I never know where I am I never know we don’t know she’s never been here before I can smell it in the way she moves in time with her thoughts the knotted gnarled ground she pays no heed. This is a story for no one what have I done.

artwork : WENDY SAN

13


14

WITH THE WOLVES : POETRY

WARRIOR WEAPON WORLD

Stalked by the invisible in her forest of concrete and metal car keys clutched in her hand the hunted becomes the huntress a girl is a wolf, is a warrior hands wrapped around your throat fingernails filed to a knife edge lacquered black like the night she came from she’ll slice you open just to watch you bleed a girl is a wolf, is a weapon

LUCINDA WEDESWEILER

artwork : CLAIRE HARMER

come closer, Little Red stop running for long enough to breathe take your hood off, let yourself see beyond the edge of darkness this girl is a wolf, is a world.


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POLITICS : NEWS

Around the World in 80 Seconds: Global Political Snapshot SURABI ALAUDDIN

The Middle East

Oceania

Egypt: Former president, Mohamed Morsi, who was detained and ousted from power in 2013, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage and leading an illegal organisation. Six others who are on trial for the same offence, including two Al-Jazeera journalists, have been sentenced to death.

Vanuatu: On 21 June 2016, a crash involving two buses has left three locals dead and 12 Australian citizens seriously injured. They were airlifted to hospitals in Noumea and Brisbane. The Australian tourists had arrived in Vanuatu on board the P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn.

Syria: Two suicide bombs have killed at least 12 people, and wounded over a dozen, in a heavily Shia suburb of Set Zaynab in the capital, Damascus. The Sunni Islamic State group has claimed responsibility. More than 250,000 people have died and 11 million have fled their homes in more than five years of civil war in Syria.

New Zealand: Teina Pora, a man who was wrongfully convicted for murdering nurse, Susan Burdett in 1992, and served time from 1994 to 2014 despite maintaining his innocence, has had his conviction quashed in 2015. He has since been awarded $2.52 million in compensation as well as a government apology. The Americas

Africa South Africa: Controversy and promises of boycott have erupted over André Slate, the owner of a guest house who refused to provide accommodation to Sizakele Msimango by stating that he doesn’t serve “blacks” because he’s following “God’s law”. Nigeria: Nearly 200 refugees fleeing Boko Haram militants have starved to death over the last month while imprisoned in a camp in Borno State, Nigeria, says medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontiéres. The health crisis has continued for over a year with 1233 graves now located near the camp, all dug within the last year.

USA: On 12 June 2016, 29-year-old gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people and injured 53 more during a shooting rampage in a popular gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. Mateen had expressed homophobic sentiments and praised Islamic State and the Boston Marathon bombers. Venezuela: The historical town of Potosí has surfaced after being submerged under water for over 30 years, due to the effects of a severe drought caused by El-Nino, with its church, stores and school structures appearing in good condition. In 1984, the town was deliberately flooded to build a hydroelectric dam. Europe

Asia Hong Kong: Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, has vowed to raise the issue of the abduction and detention of Hong Kong booksellers by Chinese authorities, who have published books critical of Communist China. There are fears that Beijing is eroding Hong Kong’s wide autonomy. Japan: The multi-billion dollar porn industry has issued a formal apology and promised reform in response to allegations that women have been performing sex acts on film against their will. Three talent scouts were arrested for coercing a woman to perform in more than 100 pornographic films over several years.

United Kingdom: On 16 June 2016, British Labour Member of Parliament, Jo Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed by 52-year-old Thomas Mair, a man with a history of mental illness and links to far-right extremist and nationalist groups. Spain: Police have arrested a man and woman suspected of leading a Spanish gang exploiting Roma children by forcing them to beg and steal across Europe, the proceeds of which have been funnelled to criminal families. The pair will be extradited to the Netherlands to face charges.

artwork : rekha dhanaram

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18

politics : class

In the back of our minds will hall

‘It’s a bit of a case of the hard hats versus the top hats,’ was the neat phrase that professional chino-wearer and yuppie DILF, Mark Riley, used on ‘Insiders’ in mid-April. The Seven News journalist was referring to Labor’s promise to launch a royal commission into the banking sector if they were voted into government this election. The question was asked that if this sort of commission wasn’t needed in the near future, why was a royal commission into the possible misconduct of unions in 2015 being proposed? It brings to the surface a very interesting clash of ideologies on the national platform: two major political parties standing to defend what they see as important cornerstones for the betterment and success of Australia as a nation. At one end of town, ready to block the entrances to banks and financial institutions, is the stoic Liberal; a staunch defender of the importance of a free open-market, faithful in the flawless, intellectual economists and financiers who will rescue the Australian economy from its dwindling dependence on resources. At the other end of town, in high-vis and bomber jackets, throwing out a call to arms, is fiery Labor, whose trust in the ideology of equality allows them to know for certain that unions who represent people can, surely, never become corrupt.


This seems like a debate on which both sides may never reach an agreement - the stand-off provides an exciting tenure for the lead-up to the election. It asks Australians what they consider to be more important. If, for instance, there are still uncovered incidences of misconduct and corruption in the mammoth Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) and Australian Workers Union (AWU), do we allow Labor to direct resources away from uncovering the truth? Do we agree with Bill Shorten that the move to have this commission into union corruption launched was merely a political tactic to discredit the Labor party and give the Liberals a better chance at the voting booth? If there remains a lot of unresolved misconduct in the banking sector and possibly a lack of regulation over bankers who have taken advantage of people in the past, do we let Prime Minister Turnbull have a second chance at trying to guide the Liberal party in a better direction in 2017? Do we turn a blind eye to the abhorrent abuses from the Central Bank of Australia (CBA) and National Australia Bank (NAB) financial planning scandals? At its core, it easily becomes another complicated and possibly niche election-year issue that journalists get giddy just thinking about. On a larger scale, and perhaps one that resonates more with university students like ourselves, it brings back to the surface a problem that we as a society have neglected for a very long time. It’s a problem that seems to take the back-seat to abuses of minorities such as the LGBTQIA+ community and Indigenous Australians. But particularly with a lot of Indigenous Australians, and even chastised citizens who identify as queer, this one issue is a catalyst for a score of many others. The issue is class. It is more uncomfortable to reflect upon now than ever before. As university students, gambling to see whether our degrees will save us, we are often too aspirational to worry about being left behind or even about those who are left behind. We see the problems of the proverbial transgender youth as specifically to do with identity, and their inability to be accepted by the broader society. But we neglect to imagine them from a family in poverty; we appear to not see how their inability to access universal education and healthcare might hinder their chances to be able to stand up for themselves on the national platform. It may be because of this young person’s background and the unequal distribution of wealth, that they don’t go on to become an activist for their cause, or have the means to educate other people about acceptance and understanding.

A similar case can be made for the struggling Indigenous single mother. The woman who is numb to institutional discrimination on a day-to-day basis. Who fights to string together a budget to feed her family and doesn’t have the time to reflect on the loss of a broader Indigenous identity and culture. She might be so exhausted from worrying about the state of public education or wondering what a flu vaccination might cost her, that anything in the way of Q&A’s special on Indigenous rights would seem pointless or even just very out of touch with the real problems that plague our economy. By no means am I attesting all the issues these minority groups have to their socioeconomic brackets. I certainly don’t mean to belittle the importance of identity in an age of realisation when it comes to ‘heterosexual/colonial’ oppression. However, there is a level of fury involved when a classroom of Communications students is hung up on semantics and political correctness, and remains blissfully ignorant to the problems attributed to class disparity that go undiscussed. Problems that are overlooked by us, the indulgent youth, spending more in a week on coffee than an unemployed labourer would on food. If, as a generation, we understand the importance of checking our privilege, why do we not apply that thinking to where we sit on an income-based spectrum? Why are half of the students at UTS uncomfortable about criticising the mammoth institutions that are the Sydney private schools from which they graduated? The very same students who might be quick to shift blame onto the white-haired giants of the Liberal National Party, are unable to draw comparisons with the property investors of the Eastern Suburbs and the North Shore. They dare not ask who the famed ‘Mosman mother’ would vote for, or why studying business in 2016 isn’t redundant if we’re all supposed to be well-off and have creative freedom due to the technological revolution. In an age where most of us are conscious about making education accessible, we fail to recognise the amount of money it takes to support oneself at our university. It feels as though our busy schedules don’t allow for balanced reflection on this invisible divider. Despite this, we always find a cause or a minority to support, and expose to society a kind of sin that they have committed by neglecting to recognise these groups or issues. My question to the readers of this publication is: what constitutes a minority, if not the scores of people affected by income inequality and greed in this nation? Why wasn’t the term ‘class warfare’ brought to the national platform in the prime-time of debate that was the federal election? And why aren’t we, university students, the ones to bring it to the table and call into question the obvious disparities we face in this ‘classless’ and ‘lucky’ country? artwork : addy chan

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POLITICS : IDEOLOGIES/OPINION

How the Spectre of Colonialism Continues Fabián Marcel Vergara DeLeón

Colonialism came to an end in the middle of last century. Nation states in Asia and Africa earned their freedom after protracted wars and persistent actions against foreign occupiers. The colonial world had finally ruptured the last European fetters that had plundered their nations’ wealth for personal benefit and precluded them from self-determination. However, the current state of worldwide development suggests that the spectre of colonial structures is still pervasive in 2016, which begs the question: has colonialism ended? Or do we just think it did?


Colonialism and communism were gradually supplanted by Liberalism; espousing values of free-market democracy and the opportunity for all nations to develop their economies through the overarching system of capitalism, despite turbulent histories, ethnic and racial composition, or religion. The UN created three principal institutions designed to promote free-market values and ideals as well as regulate them: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On paper, liberal ideologies and these institutions seem like a good idea. However, much like applications of Liberalism in human society, we see the same systemic problem in global Liberalism: not all nations are created equal. The values enshrined in documents like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are made with the best of intentions to stop the exploitation of workers in countries which mass produce goods for Western consumption. Developing countries, in which legislation allows for violations of their people’s rights (such as low minimum wages and lack of labour regulations), normally find themselves subject to trade restrictions, boycotts and general condemnation by more developed countries. The grand irony is that many nation-states who fervently proclaim free-market values and the inalienable rights of man also have a history of labour violations. Workers in English factories during the industrial revolution were paid as little as 35 cents a day, were subject to abhorrent working conditions, and forced children into labour to support themselves. The success of many European nations was not built on the values that they now force down the throats of their former colonies – it was built on the exploitation of workers at home and in the colonies. European coloniser-nations grew their economies and became world powers, in part, by practising low labour rights and conditions. They now condemn former colonies for implementing the same practices they themselves utilised, limiting their capacity to grow economically. It is unconscionably hypocritical for European nations to put on an air of moral superiority, as if many of the same violations that they are condemning never took place on home soil.

The violation of workers’ rights is indefensible. However, sanctions and boycotts which aim to prevent these violations actually affect those at the bottom most – the workers. Firstly, countries in the developed world are ignorant of the racialisation of poverty. To be poor in Australia is markedly different to being poor in India, Bangladesh, or Indonesia. To reduce factory production because of unethical practices in one country in Asia, Africa, or Latin America is to take food away from the mouths of people who work there. These countries are virtually without the welfare that would provide the basic necessities of life we expect in the West – to take away work, whatever it may be, is crippling. Secondly, a handful of white, economically and militarily powerful countries control the institutions which regulate trade across the world, particularly within non-white excolonies. This is inherently inequitable. There are virtually no opportunities for officials from Africa, Asia, or Latin America to manage the World Bank, the IMF or the WTO – the vast majority of directors are from Europe and the United States. As a result, the system is structurally designed to privilege already developed nations. The best example of this happening is in Africa. The institutions of global Liberalism effectively turn many African countries, such as Liberia and Sierra Leone, into serf-nations by offering them foreign aid and development loans, which they are expected to pay back, but ultimately cannot as a result of the interest placed on them. Again, we see that the majority of countries that are affected by this are not former colonisers, they are former colonies. Given these realities, we cannot say that colonialism ever ended. The system of cultural and imperial hegemony has merely been replaced by a monetary hegemony. By keeping developing nations in a servile economic condition, the model of global Liberalism perpetuates colonial dominance of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Colonialism is well and truly alive.

ARTWORK : REKHA DHANARAM

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politics : media

Panama Papers: History-Making Investigative Journalism Shane Gillard

Shane Gillard explores how investigative journalism led to the release of the Panama Papers, documents which revealed how wealthy groups and individuals were circumventing tax laws.


How did they coordinate this effort with journalists all over the world? An authentication-protected search engine was developed for the documents, with the link shared on encrypted emails to news outlets. One of the most historic feats of investigative journalism came to light in April this year, when an anonymous whistleblower leaked over 11 million documents known as the Panama Papers. The leaked documents contain the financial information of over 214,000 shell corporations managed by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca. These records date back to the 1970s and include emails, database entries, PDFs, image files and text documents. The revelations were astonishing because they revealed an entrenched system of tax avoidance schemes used by corporations, politicians, celebrities, public officials, business officials, and wealthy individuals. Notable names within the Papers were Russian PM Vladimir Putin and Icelandic PM Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, who resigned in the aftermath. A leaked internal memo from Mossack Fonseca concedes that 95 percent of their work facilitates tax avoidance by setting up shell corporations in tax havens. For a relatively small cost, you can employ a firm like Mossack Fonseca to set up a shell corporation which will hold assets or bank accounts for “investment” or “wealth management” purposes. They are registered in offshore tax jurisdictions with favourable tax-free conditions. How was this all uncovered? Anonymous whistleblower ‘John Doe’ contacted German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung through an encrypted chat channel. Data was shipped anonymously in encrypted hard drives until they had all of the 11.5 million documents. Assistance was sought from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which includes more than 400 journalists from 107 media organisations across 80 countries. ICIJ journalists spent a year analysing 2.6TB of documents from Mossack Fonseca, meticulously filing and storing them.

In this day and age, the Panama Papers is truly a feat of investigative journalism. To keep such sensitive information away from the public, while collaborating across the globe to take apart and rebuild the stories, is a testament to the journalists who worked day and night to unravel this complex web. You are the Future of Investigative Journalism If you’re a student of Communication or Journalism, here’s the pitch: investigative journalism is still a craft that warrants your time, attention and sustained interest. We’re in a period of history that needs to embrace the power of data journalism and collaboration, because it brings together many disciplines and skillsets that have never collaborated before. Investigative journalism is valuable to our liberal democracy, as it shines a light on practices that may be legal, but not always morally right. It brings out into the open secret worlds that exist in our society. The Panama Papers unveiled solid proof that the wealthy were circumventing tax laws, exacerbating the worldwide gap between the rich and poor. Ultimately revealing information like this is what investigative journalism is about. It’s about acting as a check and balance on governments and corporations, holding them accountable for their actions.

All of this data was stored in a room with limited access, on computers that had never been connected to the internet. They even went as far as painting glitter nail polish over the screws of the computers, so that evidence of tampering would be readily apparent.

artwork : ROSA NGUYEN

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THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT : TRENDING

ONLINE ACTIVISM RAVEENA GROVER Raveena Grover uncovers the intricacies of online activism through veganism.

Trigger warning: This article refers to the Holocaust, anti-blackness and sexual abuse. When people think of activism, ideas that come to mind are passion-filled rallies, jam-packed with megaphones and banners, fiery articles, strikes, or collective meetings in dark, dingy spaces with members dressed uniformly. Debunking this misconception allows people to see activism in all its glory. Online activism has held a significant place in activist spaces since the advent of social media. Social media emerged with the invention of chat rooms. The first instance of online activism through social media could arguably be the Lotus Marketplace protest, where some 30,000 North American citizens petitioned online against their personal data being stored on CD-ROMs available for public consumption. Today, online activism has become at times indistinguishable from regular content. In my experience, this has been in part owing to Facebook’s advertising algorithm, which distributes direct and timed advertising to users. I began engaging with posts about veganism and followed pages which promoted the diet, such as ‘Vegan Outreach’ and ‘Mercy for Animals’, which have over 2.5 million likes combined. The more I followed, the more the vegan lifestyle was advertised to me. What better way to subtly change the outlook of social media users than through targeted advertising? Hence begins this cycle, unbeknownst and unrecognised by the wider community as activism. Even more persuasive for me, however, was seeing other friends engage online with veganism, particularly on Facebook, whether through commenting on threads or posting about their own experience. Alongside my exposure to veganism online, it is also a growing social movement with roots in health (think dieting and gym life) and hipster subcultures. This, as a result, has almost become a part of pop culture. Perhaps without these factors the numerous vegan restaurants in Sydney’s inner west would not exist, alongside promotion by celebrities like Beyoncé. Pop culture thus plays a heavy, heavy role in the promotion of this diet, and is inadvertently using elements of activism. My decision to become vegan was founded by my viewing of and engagement with this internet activism, expanding my idea of what activism can or cannot be. When social media and pop culture users consume more of what is deemed trendy, it is no surprise emotional attachments are formed. The use of videos that pull at one’s heartstrings to educate consumers about animal welfare is a nifty activism tool, appealing to the emotional side of audiences. Activism that persuades and engages through emotion is arguably the most effective, and without doubt, Facebook profits from the spaces it provides for this. Understandably, this can be contentious in an ethical sense as activism online can often be profitable. The vegan company, PETA, is a great example of this imbalance. Though effective in showing the plight of animals, their particular brand of activism continuously bastardises human experiences and liberation. Examples inclue the ‘Holocaust on Your Plate’ (2004) campaign, which understandably received much negative criticism, as well as their countless campaigns which sexualise women by comparing them to meat. The same principle applies to the misogynistic Mens’ Rights Activism, the anti-black #AllLivesMatter counter-movement, and the astounding amount of online support unjustly awarded to rapist Brock Turner, for fear of “a silly mistake” costing his freedom. The frequency and omnipresence of this online quasi-activism, which imparts a feeling of humanitarianism, is dangerous because it uses an activist logic without an activist consideration for intersectionality or the consequences of these actions. The true goal of activism is to create a better world for everyone, not a better part of the world for some groups through the exploitation of others. Despite this, online activism also opens valuable spaces, particularly for those marginalised in traditional forms of social debate. Through the right forms of online activism, we can engage with targeted content and promote our causes, while successfully progressing intersectionality. Can I get a hell yes for collective organisation through technology?

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THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT : IDEOLOGIES

A Critique of Capitalism and its challenge to democracy Rosanna Kellett

In theory, capitalism achieves the best economic outcome when all legal or regulatory limits on corporate activities are eliminated. In practice, however, this is a problematic approach. Capitalism is built on the premise that workers need to be paid very little but still have purchasing power. The only reason workers of the ‘developed’ world can act as consumers in the first place is because, in practice, the cheap products they consume and their own wages are made possible through the exploitation of lower-paid or unpaid labour elsewhere in the supply chain. It is this dubious practice and others like it that lead to questions about the role of capitalism in the 21st century. The process of pitting workers across the world against each other in a competition for jobs, driving down the value of labour everywhere, is nothing new. Companies outsource their manufacturing processes to economically disadvantaged peripheral countries where workers can be easily exploited. These countries are rich in resources and labour but often lack the capital or technology necessary to build or protect their own industries, often due to the lasting effects of colonial exploitation. Capitalism in practice also depends on the exploitation of low and unpaid labour outside the workplace, in what social philosopher Anne Manne calls the “shadow economy of care”. It is simply not in the interests of capitalists to redress the gender pay gap, or to advance Indigenous peoples’ self-determination, or power to organise. As oppressed groups, they are merely to be exploited as cheap labour in the workplace or unpaid labour in the home.

Most existing capitalist systems are not even truly free, but mixed economies reliant on the existence of a weakened but enduring welfare state. When actually freed of the accountability required by regulation and media scrutiny, powerful capitalists have a tendency to make ever riskier financial decisions, leading to a cycle of booms and crashes that affect more and more people as corporations expand their sphere of influence. In practice, if the market crashes, the state is invariably obliged to bail out those responsible, if only to protect workers from unemployment. In effect, the private sector is protected by the taxpayer who is simultaneously disadvantaged by the private sector’s weakening of workplace regulations and the welfare state. What about Democracy? The most enduring criticism of capitalism is that in its operation, it undermines democracy. Businesses have a significant advantage over individual citizens in their ability to purchase political sway through election funding, influence on the market and employment, and media ownership. A key check and balance against the abuse of power is transparency and accountability, facilitated through the existence of a strong and independent media, as it controls the spread of information that might help workers unionise, or help citizens mobilise to protect their democratic freedoms from those with the ability to take them by stealth. Capitalists can pressure deregulation in many ways: by


consolidating their market share they can form influential lobby groups and gain leverage in workplace relations, or can influence policies by funding election campaigns and the media. These campaigns often directly attack the very concept of a welfare state, creating a narrative in which people are either hard-working winners or losers who don’t apply themselves. Such attacks ignore the reality that a welfare state functions to protect all citizens through life’s universal and unavoidable stages of vulnerability that require the labour of care—including infancy, unexpected hardship or disability, ill-health, and old age. Participatory democracy requires that citizens’ actions are informed and rational. They should be empowered by an awareness of their centrality in the governing of their society. Capitalism can hinder individuals from becoming conscious of their combined power – and using it to resist oppression – by co-opting workers into the exploitation of workers elsewhere, rewarding ruthless individualism, and cultivating a preoccupation with what Noam Chomsky groups as “the superficial things in life”. It reproduces systems of oppression to the point where the population as a whole is marginalised and desperate for feelings of self-worth and power. Citizens’ rich intelligence becomes preoccupied with exercising the meagre power capitalism affords them – consumer power – to purchase whatever status symbols will earn them the attention, validation, and compassion denied to them in a profit-driven society. By linking social value to one’s productivity, capitalism creates citizens driven by self-interest rather than shared interests. Capitalism fuels a cycle of consumption, buying social value that not only fails to permanently assuage citizens’ status anxiety but also reinforces the systems by which they are oppressed. While it has become the dominant model used in global economies, the diverse ways in which capitalism is practiced suggests there is always room for reinterpretation and improvement. Regardless of our political views, citizens can only participate fully in a democracy if they are informed, healthy, and at liberty to make rational decisions. If we value democracy, we need to place a high value on health, education, and access to any information that is in the public’s interest.

artwork : JUDY DAO

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THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT : RACISM

A DIFFERENT FACE OF RACISM

Vijhai utheyan

It’s nine p.m. and the city lights shine brightly, the streets full of their standard Friday night chaos. You pass through crowded walkways, trying not to bump into anyone as you eat your ice cream. The cobbled streets of Haymarket are filled with a diverse range of people; business men, groups of friends going to clubs, a woman holding a sign advertising massages, and couples enjoying a night out. This time something is different. You are not an anonymous face in the crowd. You are no longer one of the countless unremarkable people that blend into the masses. Strangers are noticing you. You dismiss the first couple of glances, but the frequency of people glaring at you, staring for just a little longer than they should, increases. Paranoia kicks in - is something on your face? Is your nose bleeding? Have you done something wrong? Then it dawns on you. Your face isn’t the issue. They’re looking at your hand. They are gawking at your dark brownskinned hand clasping the hand of a freckled, pale white girl. It is supposedly only in the dark fringes of today’s society that ‘real’ racism and the disapproval of interracial couples exists. For those directly unaffected by racism, racist behaviour is viewed as only committed by the uneducated, misled, or truly disturbed members of society. Even the United Patriots Front, possibly one of the most discriminatory groups in Australia, have aligned with Daniel Nalliah, a Sri Lankan born evangelical pastor, to impose their nonsensical ignorance on the rest of us. We live in a society which prides itself on diversity and multiculturalism, and are also supposedly at a point in history where the colour of ones’ skin never determines their opportunity. Why is it, then, that I cannot walk down a street in one of the busiest cities in Australia with my white girlfriend without being stared at?


For many of us, when we think of racist behaviour we picture an old white woman shouting about the number of immigrants on her bus being too high, or a white man who is wearing an Australian flag around his shoulders, preaching against the rise of sharia law. We forget that racism is also an individual finding it hard to get a job because his name is Mohammed. We forget that racism is someone on a bus looking uncomfortable when someone of colour sits next to them. To many, these minor behaviours can seem insignificant. As history has progressed, we have undoubtedly come a long way. This, however, does not prevent subtle acts of racism from occurring. These are known as microaggressions. This type of behaviour has been experienced by many who belong to an ethnic minority, making us question our sense of belonging and worth in the West. As someone born in Australia, who calls himself Australian, and has no other country to call home, it is a frightening feeling. I love this country, and optimistically hope the vast majority of us do not display these forms of covert racism, because behaviour like this makes me feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. I like to think that when I hold my girlfriend’s hand, the glares and staring I receive are not because of surprise or disapproval, but occur because they are witnessing something rare, seeing the direction society is hopefully taking. Though this is hopeful, real progress requires change. Next time you stare at an interracial couple holding hands, or hope the girl in the hijab does not sit next to you, or assume details about someone’s character and experience based on their ethnicity, you must recognise that this is a form of racism. While microaggressions appear benign, to ethnic minorities they are the face of racism and are the barrier to a truly harmonious and multicultural society.

a r t w o r k : S H A Y X A YA L I T H

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THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT : SOCIAL MOVEMENTS / opinion

SOCIAL MOVEMENTS: between the crosshairs of politics

Enoch Mailangi I find myself stuck between a well-known activist and a line of police. It’s okay, I’m okay. I see a family member throw a smoke grenade, a student being arrested, and the voices of multiple megaphones travel through thousands of students, academics, and people. A hand clenches mine and I am dragged through the police blockade. They react to us, starting a crowded spill onto the streets. They close in on us. There is an almost paralysing fear that exists amongst the politically disengaged when it comes to partaking in social movements and social change. I’ll be real with you: I was a person who found politics nauseating during high school. It wasn’t that I was simply disinterested by politics, I also found myself being classically unaware and alienated by the processes of social change, whether through internal approaches, such as lobbying and policy reform, or external approaches like protesting and rallying. Although both approaches have pros and cons, they unanimously play a crucial and almost hegemonic role in bringing about change. I didn’t engage with politics until my first year of uni in 2014, when I was politicised through the education movement. Why was the education movement so effective in 2014? This was during the time of an Abbott government; students saw Christopher Pyne propose the deregulation of higher education, which basically meant that someone who couldn’t afford a 100k degree would have no access to it. Grim. I discovered this through a student run campaign, and my student association. After the 2014 National Day of Action, where Australia witnessed a huge turnout, we saw change effectively implemented. However, deregulation wasn’t taken off the table – it was later sent back to the drawing board, and introduced again in 2016. That, in addition to a double dissolution, seatgrabbing, and electoral politics explains why it would be tempting for someone like me to consider disassociating from the education movement. It can also be argued that these elements distract from building social movements,

whilst others argue that they are the pinnacle of building social movements – each to their own. The question is: are collective actions and mass movements truly indispensable when trying to bring widespread awareness to issues such as our education? Consider the following issues: the UTS restructure and balanced semesters, the Sydney University College of Arts (SCA) closure, cuts to Higher Education Indigenous access schemes, and deregulation. Although these are all separatist issues, they fall under the education umbrella. The SCA is currently facing a closure of their campus, being forced to merge with UNSW’s school of Art and Design. The smaller social movement is concerned with clear and concise issues that affect students in the education and fine art industries. The University of Sydney SRC Education officer, Liam Carrigan, speaks in broader terms of social movements regarding education: “Currently I am organising around the closure of Sydney College of the Arts, which has the capacity to become a successful social movement because of strong community outrage. Its relationship to the broader defunding of the arts has good strategy so far.” Although an issue such as this has an obvious goal – fighting against the closure of an educational community – there is a concern that some students have lost the underlying social consciousness of the movement. There are others that are being deterred by internal organising conflicts, a misunderstanding of what is happening, and differing projected outcomes. Carrigan suggests that, “Successful social movements operate on multiple levels: lobbying,


grassroots action, and media. They have clear goals, like the Fossil Free movements call for universities to divest holdings in the fossil fuel industry.” While it seems that there is a lack of social consciousness, when it is clear that this is tool in building social movements, the biggest concern we are facing is the lack of attention being given to nuanced issues within minority spheres. This is seen in the proposed cuts to higher education Indigenous schemes. Madylyne Norris, the UTS Student Association’s Indigenous Officer, mentions, “When trying to build a campaign around things that only affect Indigenous students, of course it is going to be hard to mobilise students who aren’t Indigenous. Especially when it comes to issues regarding autonomy - especially when Indigenous people are trying to reclaim a culture of self-reliance and determination, which has been stolen. Why would nonIndigenous students who aren’t politically conscious of Indigenous struggle, want to help organise, attend a rally, or even sign a petition?” Lizzie Green, National Indigenous Officer, remarks, “Although it is hard to fight back on these cuts when you’re only appealing to Indigenous students, it is something that you can’t just stand back and watch.” Green’s involvement in the Labor Party has meant she is able to fight for Education issues relevant to Indigenous students. “The Liberal cuts to Indigenous Education Schemes, particularly in the last Turnbull-Scott budget, just shows how uninterested the party is in ensuring Indigenous students receive the right help at university to help with retention.” Carrigan solidifies Norris’ and Green’s view, stating that, “Campaigns can become ineffectual as the public lose interest or the battle seems won; this was the case with fee deregulation which went from a mass movement to an attempt to kick the liberals out of government - rather than developing into a free education campaign.” Between campuses such as UTS, UNSW, and USYD there are a diversity of issues facing students. Each campus is confronted with different approaches to a restructure; therefore, it has become extremely hard to accommodate a social movement. Gabby Brackenbury-Soldenhoff, the UTSSA’s Education Vice President, tells Vertigo: “The restructuring at UTS has decreased the accessibility of higher education to students. University management and the government are investigating means outside of deregulation and aiming to test the education movement

to see if we can withstand the multiple attacks at different universities.” With this it seems that the defining difference between 2014 and 2016 in mobilising student movements against higher education cuts is that we have been thrust into a completely different environment. Brackenbury-Soldenhoff emphasises the change of political environment has had an adverse effect on the social movement. She says: “Students are faced with increasing university-specific attacks that have the same impact as deregulation in terms of significance. If we look at UTS, students are faced with ‘Balanced Semesters’ – an attempt to sell Trimesters as an academic calendar that endorses a balanced student life.” Maybe it is the casual nature with which the organisation of social movements has been carried out that has made it truly unpredictable. Predictions aside, there’s definitely a meeting point of spontaneity and detailed manipulation. Although we see members of the broad left building for a social revolution in education, and the right building for a revolution of their own, many ordinary Australians from various backgrounds find issues with denouncing ordinary people who are disengaged with politics and social movements. Instead of shaming people for not caring about politics, it is important to remember why people are disenfranchised to begin with. I always put things in perspective when thinking of my involvement in education activism. In Burma, 69 student activists were imprisoned for over a year in response to an educational reform. However, the effectiveness of a social movement really is immeasurable as we see the gap between the right and the left continuously widening, whilst the rest of us are lost somewhere in the middle. Burma’s situation is utterly incomparable to an Australian context; the prevention of going down a similar path is better than having to find a cure. We spill onto the streets and I find myself stuck between knowledge and struggle. I’d like to think everyone had a right to education. But why are we here? I’m okay, we’re okay. They react to us. They close in on us.

artwork : LILAV SAAID

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THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT : RELATIONSHIPS

OPINION / MONOGAMY JESSICA SMALLEY – for When I was six years old I had it all planned out: I would find the love of my life at the age of 22 and exchange vows at our extravagant white wedding, professing our love and lifetime commitment to each other. I’m now 22 and as of late, there is no sign of this imagined lover. While I was never particularly interested in the bells and whistles of an extravagant wedding, I had my heart set on finding a soulmate. With one in three marriages ending in divorce, however, my little dream of finding everlasting love has begun to wear thin. Was I sold a pup by the fantasies of Disney, or is it at all possible to find your happily ever after, forever, till death do us part? I am of a generation where marrying for love outweighs the practicalities of marriage. My great-grandmother couldn’t sign the property papers to her own farm without my great-grandfather’s signature, and couldn’t support her kids with the money she was getting from working as a nurse at the town hospital. Marrying for love wasn’t particularly at the front of her mind. Marrying someone for life security wasn’t something I ever had to worry about, although mum still tells me to marry a rich man (#GoldDigger).

The expectation of finding a life partner still exists, whether it’s the expectation I created for myself at the age of six, or it’s what society has encouraged us to desire. This begs the question: do ‘soulmates’ really exist? Is my determination to find a lover who will be beside me until my dying days written in my destiny, or is it just a human construct? If you’ve ever experienced love, real love, it is a feeling that is indescribable. This is the feeling that makes monogamy something that is worth fighting for and holding on to. Is love to blame for the downfall of monogamy, or have we become frivolous with our relationships? Is monogamy really the hallmark of a perfect, stable relationship? Some have blamed our superficial culture for the so called ‘disposable’ relationships. Others say it’s because it isn’t in our biological nature to be with one person for the rest of our lives – that we are built to experience relationships with many people. We’ve entered an interesting time for monogamy. The discussion around gender equality is creating new boundaries and alleviating many social limitations. It seems as if men are suddenly realising almost everything has a ripple-effect on the other important things in life, like sex. To put it simply, if you’ve cleaned the dishes just as much as your partner, then all that saved arm energy can be used for a good wristy. While I understand making monogamy work is a bit more than doing the dishes, I think it can have the power to make or break a relationship. For me monogamy can mean a happily ever after, but only if it’s a team effort.


CAMERON HART – against From childhood, the media we read, watch, consume, and even write is dominated by a patriarchal love narrative which tells us several things about the way our romantic entanglements ‘should be.’ The first: that we are hopelessly and helplessly subjected to outdated and ridiculous paradigms such as ‘destiny’, things ‘meant to be’, ‘soulmates’, and the most saccharine of all, ‘the One™’. This idea of a singular person you are fated by a higher power to spend the rest of your life with is just one of many examples of conditioned monogamy. These are virtually ubiquitous in a society where love is perceived as a resource, quickly and easily depleted (if current divorce rates are anything to go by). Frankly, this perspective of the ideal of love is reductive, fallible, and ignorant to the complexity and uniqueness of the concept. We are taught to see love this way because our idea of it is built upon a scarcity complex: that, for instance, to tell your partner that you love somebody else must unequivocally mean you somehow love them less. That doesn’t have to be true. You can love both your parents, love two kinds of Messina sorbet, and love the company of your we-play-basketball-together friend as much as your we-both-loveGerman-cinema friend, and this shouldn’t be any different of romantic partners. You might love them equally or differently. I’m not advising how you love them, only proposing that you should be able to do it because you want to, and without having to justify your choices as though they are less legitimate than someone else’s, just because you’ve chosen to do it with more than one person. If, right now, you’re protesting that these are bad examples because sex changes the circumstances, you need to understand that sex is just another way of being intimate with people; and it doesn’t have to mean anything more than what you want it to. It doesn’t have to feel like a confession of promiscuity, or infidelity, or dishonesty for you to be polygamous; to have intimate, committed, and fulfilling relationships with multiple people. Like all the best kinds of relationships, polygamous ones are built upon open communication, honesty, empathy, and above all, an abundance complex, because that’s what it takes to make these kinds of relationships work. There is enough love to go around. As the saying goes, it takes a whole village to raise a child, so why can’t the village have a little bit of fun while doing it?

a r t w o r k : K E L LY L A M

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*For more access to events around Sydney, including giveaways and reviews, head to utsvertigo.com.au.


c u lt u r e : t r i b u t e

Fri da KAH LO

“I don’t give a shit what the world thinks. I was born a bitch, I was born a painter, I was born fucked. But I was happy in my way. You did not understand what I am. I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am tenacious. I am; simply I am… You are a shit.” -Frida Kahlo in an unsent letter to Diego Rivera

LING MCGREGOR There are some people who are simply drawn to sorrowful stories. I am one of them – starting the day with horrible world news, telling my friends about parasites over lunch, and trawling through serial killers on Wikipedia as I settle in to sleep. If you find yourself without a hobby, try any of the above. You may notice that there are some people, their lives often hinged on tumultuous relationships with others, that are endlessly fascinating – not only for their experiences, but for their means of articulating them. Like Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes, or Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Frida Kahlo met Diego Rivera while he was painting his first significant mural, ‘Creation’, at the Bolívar Auditorium of the National Preparatory School in Mexico City in 1922. Kahlo, at 15 years old, was one of only 35 female students attending the prestigious institution. She stumbled across Rivera painting one night, and watched him at his work for three hours. They met again when Kahlo was 18 years old and approached Rivera, nearly twice her age, while on his mural scaffolding, asking for a serious critique of her artworks. Kahlo was mischievous, fiercely ambitious, and acutely self-assured; Rivera was instantly captivated. Their marriage in 1929 was proclaimed by the Mayor of Coyocań to be “an historical event.” Despite many troubles in their open marriage, the pair held each other in incredibly high regard and remained together until Kahlo’s death. I spoke to the curator, Nicholas Chambers, about the exhibition of their works, currently running at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. While the couple’s works were not exhibited together throughout their lifetime, contemporary galleries have taken to showing Kahlo and Rivera’s artwork alongside each other. In doing so, they take a collective and collaborative place in 20th century art history. Chambers

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c u lt u r e : t r i b u t e

explains, “stylistically and conceptually their works are quite divergent, but the exhibition reveals that they reflect on common themes, on the story of their life together, and life in Mexico after the revolution.” Exhibition designer, Belqis Youssofzay, has curated the works to follow this narrative; while paintings are primarily viewed in isolation, apertures in the display walls also allow for glimpses throughout the gallery, connecting the pieces. In their art practice, the two were extremely self-referential. As Chambers explains, Kahlo and Rivera were great critiques of each other’s work, writing extensively in essays and catalogues, and in doing so, “each of them contextualised the other within a broader sweep of Mexican artistic history.” The two artists reimagine life after the revolution, at a crucial time in which Mexico was both embracing its indigenous and pre-colonial history, and simultaneously resolving to modernity. Alongside the 40 paintings in this exhibition, other artefacts pinpoint their personal lives, and speak to this wider history. The exhibition also features vintage films, including home movies taken by Kahlo’s ex-lover Nickolas Muray, which give a colour depiction of Kahlo and Rivera in the garden of their home in Mexico City, the Blue House. There is footage of Rivera painting a mural in Detroit, Kahlo balanced on the scaffolding, as well as the artists welcoming Leon Trotsky in 1937, following his exile from the Soviet Union. Trotsky lived in the artists’ house for two years, during which time he was depicted in one of Rivera’s murals, and engaged in a passionate affair with Kahlo. His final move was only a few blocks away from them, where he lived until his assassination in 1940. Ultimately, the exhibition sits intimately within their relationship and lives. Lithographs drawn by Rivera show a newly-wed Kahlo. Letters, stored by the National Museum of Women in Arts, detail Kahlo’s thoughts to her friends and family – her longing for home, the hollow of an empty womb. The exhibition also includes 57 photographs by eminent photographers of the time, including Bernard Silberstein, Edward Weston and Lola Alvarez Bravo. Throughout her lifetime, Kahlo was surrounded by photographers, including her father, Guillermo Kahlo, and was photographed with the

status of a celebrity. Professor Salomon Grimberg has suggested that Kahlo viewed herself in a photograph before seeing her own reflection. It is clear that photography had an essential function in Kahlo’s practice, and an evident impact on the self-imaging that takes place in her paintings – Kahlo painted herself again and again in over 60 haunting self-portraits. In these self-portraits, Kahlo tells of her pain in the pinch of thorns, in a body butchered by arrows, and in the splintering of spines. When she was 17 years old, Kahlo was travelling in a bus when it collided with a trolley car. Kahlo was impaled by a piece of metal, and her body was instantly macerated – her ribs smashed, her pelvis shattered, her right leg fractured 11 times, her foot mangled, and her spinal column broken. From her isolated hospital bed, Kahlo spent months painting on an easel made for her by her mother, and experimenting with her father’s oil paints. Kahlo’s works began to speak acutely to the tribulations of womanhood, and the persistence of trauma. From the accident until her death in 1954, when she was aged 57, Kahlo dealt with her pain; crippling orthopaedic corsets, 35 operations, Rivera’s infidelities, recurrent miscarriages, and the amputation of her leg, infected by gangrene. Kahlo once wrote of her works, “They have a message of pain in them, but I think they’ll interest a few people.” Kahlo has indeed become recognised as one of the 20th century’s most important artists, and particularly as a symbol of womanhood. Chambers importantly drew on the popular narrative that Frida Kahlo was overshadowed by her husband throughout her lifetime. While Rivera was behind some of the most influential and revolutionary public art, Chambers argues that it is worth recognising that although Kahlo’s works were more personal, and of a smaller scale, she was a highly acclaimed and celebrated artist in her own right. During her lifetime, Kahlo held frequent major exhibitions, was a prominent figure in international art scenes, and her work ‘The Frame’ was the first artwork by a 20th century Mexican artist that France acquired, displayed in the Louvre since 1939.


ARTWORK : ling mcgregor

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Surabi Alauddin Surabi Alauddin reviews Björk’s Virtual Reality Debut at Carriageworks for Vivid.

The past, present and future of one the most iconic and unique artists was on display for Sydney audiences at Carriageworks during Sydney’s Vivid Festival. ‘Björk Digital’ explored: the Icelandic songbird’s past – with her 23 years worth of music videos playing on loop in a cinema, her present – with a marathon DJ set on the opening night, and her future – through virtual reality music videos viewed in cutting-edge, surround-sound, in darkened rooms. Björk’s latest album, ‘Vulnicura’ (2015), is her most personal release yet. Recorded in a remote Icelandic cabin, ‘Vulnicura’, is an intensely fiery and impassioned ode to the trials and tribulations of heartbreak. As Björk says, “strings are like your nervous system… like being played with a bow.” And this rings true for the album, which is full of dark and elaborate string arrangements balanced with stark, sparse electronica. Track four, ‘Black Lake’, is an operatic and gripping immersion into the grief of family breakdown in which Björk croons mournfully, “my hear t is an enormous lake… I am blind, drowning in this ocean.” Fittingly, the virtual reality music video for ‘Black Lake’ was featured as the highlight of ‘Björk Digital’, in which the musician emerges reborn amidst volcanic rubble, surrounded by a lush, green landscape which is juxtaposed with the darkened room. Spectators instinctively know how to explore the space – the two parallel wide-angle screens and impressive sound system allow them to experience the varying visual and aural dynamics simultaneously.

As demonstrated at ‘Björk Digital’, few artists have embraced technology so much or so effortlessly, yet continue to maintain a raw and folk sentimentality. Björk’s musical career is no doubt a reflection of her origins – the isolation of Iceland contributing to her music’s mythic quality. Björk effortlessly blends the traditional folk music and storytelling of her native Iceland with cutting-edge modern technology so much so that the boundary between the past and future becomes blurred within her music. For ‘Vulnicura’, Björk used the audio software, Melodyne, to embroider harmonies with her own voice, altering the pitches on a single track and then weaving together the result. She has fabricated and programmed new instruments, including utilising a Tesla coil. Inspired by her 2011 album, ‘Biophilia’, Björk created apps which explored musicology, science and technology. With the help of educational and science experts, the program was expanded into the school’s curriculum across Scandinavia. ‘Björk Digital’ aptly demonstrated her love affair with immersive technology and her quirky persona, with the DJ set fusing 90s R&wB classics and Bollywood with industrial techno and modern pop. She danced erratically in white leather, with her head enclosed in a glowing green orb, reminding audiences of the possibilities she has envisioned and realised. Björk has pushed and reinvented old musical and technological boundaries, and eschewed conventional methods to produce distinct, original, stunning creations. And that is indeed something to celebrate.

ARTWORK : megan wong

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vertigo meets broods Huyen Hac Helen Tran Vertigo chats with Georgia Nott, lead singer of BROODS about the release of their new album ‘Conscious’.

It’s eight o’clock at night in a small L.A. rehearsal studio when 21-year-old Georgia Nott answers my call. She’s just finished rehearsing with her brother Caleb, preparing for a slew of live shows for the tour of their second album, ‘Conscious’. They’ve moved to L.A. temporarily, but that doesn’t stop Georgia from forgetting her roots. Growing up in a large family with a love for music, this Kiwi duo was destined for more than playing in the garage. “Everything we do, we attack it as 100 percent us,” she says. “We never put on a front, because if one of us starts acting like they’re cool, the other person’s going to know straight away and be like, ‘you’re an idiot!’” It’s always been a pipe dream for them, their whirlwind adventure: playing cheesy covers in bars to performing their single ‘Free’ on the Late Late Show with James Corden. “All of a sudden it went from being an idea to an actual reality”. Despite this, she remains humble to the core. When asked if she has any personal goals for the band in the future, she answers with a laugh, “I would just really like for people to, you know, like it! I mean, that would be ideal.” “We just want to keep growing our fan base so that every time we go to a new city or country we can play at a new venue. We want to keep spreading throughout the world,” she says, “a personal goal for me would be to play some shows over in Europe, because that’s something we haven’t really done yet.” It’s been two years since the release of their last album, ‘Evergreen’, where songs like ‘Mother & Father’ and ‘Four Walls’ entered the US Alternative Billboard Charts and were played regularly on Triple J. Recording another album, however, wasn’t as easy as some might think, “It’s actually a little bit scarier,” Georgia says. “I overthink everything - you want to evolve and get better and improve. You want to show people you are always getting better. It’s kind of scary releasing a second album when you’ve got your fans and you really want them to still like it, but you know you want to reach for more.”

With such a commanding stage presence and voice, it is surprising, but also insanely comforting, to hear the nervous giggles throughout Georgia’s answers. It’s easy to forget that singers are real people too. “I always overthink things and get anxious, but the way I see it, if I’m not scared then I’m not pushing myself enough. I get happy when I’m getting nervous because it means I’m doing something that I didn’t think I’d be able to do.” One thing’s for sure – Georgia knows she’s in the right place. “I’m just a full-on muso. I definitely feel more in the zone in this lifestyle.” When asked about whether she maintains a rhythm or takes things as they come, Georgia speaks about learning to make “your own consistency in the chaos.” It’s all about having stable support, she says, and balance. “There are some things you do differently, like finding your rhythm when you’re on the road. That’s when it’s nice to have a routine. We’ve done that with who we tour with: a bunch of really close friends and people that are pretty much your family. But I think when you go into the studio, that’s when you want to attack everything in a different way, experiment, and get everything out. You try everything under the sun.” When it comes to Caleb, not only does Georgia talk about the support they have for each other, but also of how they work as a team, pushing for what they believe in and want as artists, “There’s always going to be people that want to see how far they can push you. The best thing about us is that we can lean on each other and talk about it together - really hone in on what we actually do want, and then go and attack it together. It’s easier to hold your ground with two people than it would be with just one.” If you haven’t listened to their new album, ‘Conscious’, put that on the to-do list right away. Notable tracks include ‘Free’, ‘Heartlines’, ‘Couldn’t Believe’ and, for those late winter nights, ‘Bedroom Door’. You can follow BROODS on Twitter and Instagram at @broodsmusic.

ARTWORK : megan wong

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spotlight local emma louise Larissa Shearman Emma Louise, the Brisbane songstress who found her beginnings on YouTube, is releasing her highly anticipated follow-up to ‘vs. Head vs. Heart’ on the 8 July 2016. The new LP is titled ‘Supercry’, and is touted to be a more personal, grown-up record. If the singles ‘Underflow’ and ‘Talk Baby Talk’ are any indication, she’s nailed it. Production comes courtesy of Pascal Gabriel, who has worked with the likes of Goldfrapp and Ladyhawke. You can still find Emma Louise’s five-year-old videos online, and the haunting quality of her songwriting and instrumental talent translates just as well in her new tracks as it did in those humble recordings. Thanks to Triple J Unearthed, she was brought into the spotlight, and she hasn’t looked back.

tour, and collaborated with Sydney duo Flight Facilities on their 2014 track, ‘Two Bodies’. When people like that take notice, you know you’re onto a good thing. Her voice is as powerful on her new tracks as on any of her previous work, but this time she has become more sure of herself as a person and songwriter, and we reap all the rewards. ‘Supercry’ (Liberation Music) will be released on the 8 July 2016. You can follow Emma Louise on Twitter at @EmmaLouiseHere, and on Instagram at @EmmaLouiseMusic.

Since her last release in 2013, she’s also gained a few important fans: she supported Sam Smith on his ‘The Lonely Hour’

spotlight international samuel drake fenty Raised in gypsy camps and children’s homes in Ireland, vocalist Samuel spent a part of his youth living on the streets, finding solace and refuge in the music therapy programs on offer at the shelters. A passionate and soulful musician, Samuel’s talent and pure love for the art led him to win a series of scholarships to the music program at Goldsmith University in the south of London. Signing with record label Interia (Meg Mac, Japanese Wallpaper, Björk) in 2013, Samuel has already released his first EP, ‘Falling Star’ and the single, ‘These Days’, both reminiscent of easy Sundays, pants off, and about thirty pillows. The first track of his new EP, ‘LUV CRY’, is entitled ‘Killr’. It takes on a more serious lyrical theme, with a repetition

artwork : jess lin

of the line “killer killer, killing me, with your touch, you’re killing me”. It’s dark, emotional, and filled with a heavy but slowly delivered bass line. Yet the second track, ‘Aleesha’, turns right back onto a happier road, with a sweet sunseton-the-beach tone, as he croons, “because I can be your holy man, I can be your sun, I can be rainfall.” A “wee gypsy” as he describes himself, Samuel’s voice simply glides along the colourful electronic beats and distorted instruments. The four-track EP plays out like the four distinct emotions of a man in love, each simmering with nostalgia. You can follow Samuel on Facebook and Twitter at @chasingsamuel.


c u lt u r e : l i v e

Brittany Smith The first question that popped into my head when I entered the world of Sexpo was: “is it smart to take a shiny, new boyfriend into an enclosed space filled with scantily-clad women?” It was dark and surprisingly smoky inside and I immediately regretted not doing my squats. Walking through the stalls was overwhelming at first, but I quickly learnt how to do Sexpo the right way. Strap in or strapon because you’ll want to smell the large dickshaped candles, but won’t want to listen to the awkward commentary on stage – no Mr Emcee, no one went to church this morning and that lady does not want to show you the vibrator she bought. Do watch Pricasso, the artist who paints with his penis. Taste the chocolate-covered strawberries. And, as the ancient proverb goes: definitely, definitely slow down when walking past women wearing vibrating massage gloves because they will randomly touch you. Despite my reservations and insecurities, Sexpo was surprisingly positive. There was a wall filled with photographs of genitals of all shapes and sizes. One photo even showed a close-up of a woman touching herself while covered in menstrual blood (oh, the horror, the taboo!). The main thing I learnt is that Sexpo is not just a place for the young, lithe, and lubricated. I saw plenty of white hair throughout the day (mostly on heads) and opened myself up to many fetishes. Sure, the happy ending maybe wasn’t worth the price, but I’m not one to say no to coming again.

ARTWORK : collette duong

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c u lt u r e : f i l m

I v a n S e n’s ‘G o l d s t o n e’

Zalehah Turner Zalehah Turner reviews the darling of this year’s Sydney Film Festival. ‘Goldstone’, a neo-Western crossed with outback noir, is a spin-off from Ivan Sen’s last feature film, ‘Mystery Road’ (2013). Indigenous detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) returns, caught once again between two worlds but feeling as if he belongs in neither, while on the hunt for a missing girl in outback Queensland. Multi-talented, Ivan Sen was the scriptwriter, cinematog– rapher, editor and director of ‘Goldstone’, and also composed the moving soundtrack for his forth feature film. While the mining town of Goldstone is fictional, Ivan Sen used the town of Middleton, Queensland as the location for ‘Goldstone’. As Middletown, with a population of three, has “a landscape but no town,” Ivan Sen built the town of Goldstone from demountable buildings and shipping containers, which doubled as the crew’s accommodation. Sen gives significant weight to the desert landscape. Pedersen noted that in ‘Goldstone’, “desolation and isolation become important characters - the land is character, the wind is character, and even the sun is

character - the greater elements bind us all together.” Ivan Sen described the land as “the all-important stage” that informs the decisions of the actors. For Sen, the mythic frontier town of Goldstone, a mining outpost, is a place where he says, “different cultural worlds collide, in an epically beautiful desert landscape”. Detective Swan, who has one foot in each, has the power to connect those worlds. An Indigenous upholder of the laws that have replaced those of the First People, he is in a unique but incredibly difficult position, which “has profound sociopolitical repercussions”. Sen views people like Jay Swan as “invaluable to our society” as they can walk between boundaries, connect worlds, and facilitate “a greater understanding and empathy to all cultures”. As an Indigenous director, Sen believes that both Pedersen and himself have a strong connection to Jay Swan, in their blood, upbringing, personal lives, and the communities they came from. More importantly, he feels that like Jay Swan, both of them step “outside of those communities


to face the other world” in order to help encourage an understanding between the two. However, buried deep within the few people who can walk between cultural boundaries is a sense of not belonging. Jay Swan’s desire for justice despite the incredible resistance he encounters from all sides has a profound impact on his life, both professionally and personally. From the opening scene of ‘Goldstone’ we see the heavy toll his work and home life has taken upon him. No longer the clean-shaven man with closely cropped hair and a muscular frame that audiences saw in ‘Mystery Road’, he is drinking heavily while driving along the desolate desert road towards Goldstone. A young local cop, Josh (Alex Russell) pulls him over for drink driving, arrests him, and locks him in a cell overnight. Their relationship is fraught with personal conflict and tension. However, despite their differences, the missing person’s case that Jay has come to solve reveals a level of corruption and crime in Goldstone that both Josh and Jay must fight for the sake of the community and themselves.

“A d r a m a - c h a r g e d t h r i l l e r w h i c h moves to the beat of the sacred l a n d i t i s p l a y e d o u t o n.”

–Ivan Sen, Director

Ivan Sen wanted a stark contrast between the portrayal of Jay Swan in ‘Goldstone’ and that of ‘Mystery Road’- to “dirty him up a bit” in order to convey a sense of time passing, as well as the impact of the past events on Jay’s life. It was Pederson’s suggestion that given all that had happened to Jay, he should be drinking. Pedersen believes that, “We were able to achieve it without reinforcing negatives”. Both Jay and Josh have to overcome their own inner demons in order to deal with the problems created by greed and corruption in the local mine, Furnace Creek. However, Jay’s drinking appears overly self-indulgent in light of the incredible danger that the women and members of the community face. From the outset Sen wanted to create a level of intimacy between the audience and Swan. We are drawn closer to him than in ‘Mystery Road’ through a script that is as much

an action-packed drama as an emotional journey of selfdiscovery. Sen’s aim was to, “make it more personal than last time”. In ‘Mystery Road’ he is trying to help solve the problems of a town but this time we kind of wanted those problems to manifest within him.” At the heart of Jay’s personal journey in ‘Goldstone’ is a need to reclaim his sense of belonging, something that a local, traditional elder, Jimmy (David Gulpilil) holds the key to. In order to begin his cultural and spiritual awakening, he must pull himself together to save Goldstone from its web of corruption, greed and crime. Sen stresses that through ‘Goldstone’, he wanted to make a film that was like its protagonist: a film that could connect cultures that had been clashing since the first European contact, those of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. He stressed that, “We are all connected but we separate ourselves with cultural and social boundaries,” which are only there “because we construct them”. The trick with ‘Goldstone’, he claimed, was to make these themes not only “palatable and presentable to an audience,” but also thoughtprovoking, moving, and entertaining at the same time. For Ivan Sen, film was the perfect format through which to tell the story of Jay Swan as it has the power to cross cultural boundaries. Through a strong script with complex and engaging characters, a well-paced crime drama balanced by powerful journeys of self-discovery, and a stunning location, Ivan Sen manages to entertain while raising important issues such as Land Rights, people trafficking, and mining. ‘Goldstone’ premiered at the Opening Night Gala of the 63rd Sydney Film Festival on 8 June, 2016 and competed in the Official Competition. The Sydney Film Festival has since selected it for the Travelling Film Festival, which will tour eighteen cities in regional New South Wales, Queensland, and the Northern Territory. Unlike ‘Mystery Road’, which only had a limited release, ‘Goldstone’ screens in cinemas around Australia from 7 July 2016. Goldstone is currently being screened at Event Cinemas, Palace Cinemas, the Dendy, Hayden Orpheum, and the Ritz and as part of the Travelling Film Festival. See individual websites for details.

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Wolf Creek and Grand Designs

jennifer worgan My mother flinched when she heard I had watched ‘Wolf Creek’. My mother likes watching shows about home renovation, which are not as intense, but can still be quite scary depending on what colour the owners choose to paint the kitchen. ‘Wolf Creek’ is a relatively scary horror movie, but it isn’t unbearable, because I don’t live in the Northern Territory and I don’t go camping. I am also, in general, the sort of person who can handle horror movies, a fact I am proud of, and one which is written in bold at the top of my résumé. In my opinion, the best horror movies go straight to DVD. The worst horror movies are the ones that make the rounds of festivals and are described by critics as being metaphors for the human condition. A horror movie should not be about the human condition because possessed dolls and zombies do not exist (hopefully). If they suddenly showed up and became part of the mainstream human experience, we would probably do something completely unprecedented, like give them a cooking show. Of course, not everyone shares this opinion, and my mother is one of those people. My mother is interested in the human condition, and also the condition of buildings. She is not interested in children being possessed by demons. “If I wanted to be shocked,” my mother says, “I could just look at a room after you’ve lived in it for a month.” When I was 15, my mother ventured out in public with me while I wore a Cobra Starship T-shirt. She is a brave woman. Unlike her, I am not known for my courage. Out and about in the world, I like to exercise caution where necessary, and sometimes where unnecessary. I once refused to climb a mountain in case it suddenly became volcanic, despite having been assured several times that this was a geological impossibility. Despite this, watching a fictional woman’s limbs being ripped off one by one doesn’t bother me much. In fact, I find it far easier to do than to acknowledge the existence of mice, which are rodents and


could carry the plague. I admire people who say, “I can’t watch horror movies at all, not even one”, while casually owning pet rats. I can’t say that I love watching TV shows about real estate. To me, nothing is more confronting than watching people doing hard work and making important life decisions while looking like they are enjoying themselves. There is a segment in every episode of ‘Rescue My Renovation’ where someone inevitably grabs a sledgehammer and starts tearing down a wall to create an open plan living space; this causes my throat to tighten. My mother, on the other hand, says that she finds it comforting to watch other people work, both on and off screen. Over time, I have come to realise that horror movies play a similar role in my life to the role that ‘Grand Designs’ plays in my mother’s life. Both have suspense, both follow a set formula, and both often feature dilapidated buildings. The best horror movies and home renovation shows always have a twist. There is nothing more satisfying than discovering that a significant supporting character has been dead the whole time, or that the entire hospital staff are being controlled by a rare breed of super-intelligent frogs. In the same way, the best episodes of ‘Grand Designs’ are the ones where, two-thirds of the way through a build,

someone suddenly decides to paint a bathroom avocado green. Everyone is shocked at the edginess of this decision, and the rest of the episode is spent in suspense as we wait to discover if anyone could possibly live somewhere so unorthodox. One of the best things about horror movies is seeing what a victim will try to do in order to escape their doom. The hardened serial killer will obviously outsmart the backpackers, but not for a lack of trying. In the same way, there is nothing more thrilling than watching someone on ‘Grand Designs’ make what seems to be a sensible decision that then completely backfires. The thing that separates a normal episode from a truly great one, my mother tells me, is watching Louise and Greg try to convert a medieval church in Surrey, only to find two months into the build that their basement is flooding and they are four million pounds over budget. Just as no one can stop the murderous rampage of a serial killer, no couple can magically give the internal structure of their dream property integrity without being forced to take out a second loan. Personally, this kind of drama is too much for me. I hide my face in my hands and pray for Louise and Greg to come out of this alive. My mother, on the other hand isn’t so easily fazed. She takes it like a pro.

ARTWORK : georgia doust

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‘O n C h e s i l B e a c h ’ by I an M c Ewan Olivia Costa

$14.99, published by Jonathan Cape In just 40,000 words, almost half that of a standard novel, McEwan tells the story of young newlyweds Florence and Edward on their honeymoon. The short length is perfect for those who don’t read often. The novel offers an intimate look into Florence and Edward’s minds while they grapple with the idea of sex: a physical act which will mark the start of their lives together. Both hold unexpressed concerns about consummating their marriage; Edward waits in anxious anticipation, while Florence is terrified by the thought of any sexual contact. McEwan regales this story with tenderness and light humour, even when dealing with uncomfortable subject matter; a vague breadcrumb trail that hints at Florence as a victim of sexual abuse is subtle and never confirmed. McEwan deftly traverses the past, present, and the uncertain future of his characters, drifting seamlessly between time and place. His writing is refined and quietly assured, with prose that edges on poetry to tell a haunting story of how “the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing”. I recommend ‘On Chesil Beach’ to everybody and anybody who will listen. It was given to me by someone who helped me realise not to live a life “transformed by a gesture not made or a word not spoken” – words are there to be spoken, and life is there to be lived. Every page of this book is filled with beauty and truth. When I finished it I felt a little bit hollow because of its poignancy. It is honest and affecting, and well worth the read.


c u lt u r e : b o o ks

The BreakBeat Poets zac blue

$19.95, Haymarket Books The BreakBeat Poets is a unique anthology for the Hip-Hop generation. This is an anthology on the language of the working; black identity, the adaptability of poetry, Hip-Hop culture, as well as the wordsmiths partial to it. A book for the well-versed or the beginner, it is both an introduction and an ode to the revolution of Hip-Hop. Combining honest and raw poetry with the spirit of HipHop, the anthology looks to expand the literary canon into a “fresher” take on what it means to be alive in this moment. The BreakBeat Poets guide the reader through Hip-Hop as a poetry form, the reclamation of the power of poetry from “dead white dudes”, and its use as a vehicle of response, rebellion, and protest. The BreakBeat Poets includes 78 poets of diverse nature and style, culminating in an engaging and passionate anthology. With a modern introduction and essay section, the anthology provides an approachable take on the meaning of poetry and Hip-Hop culture’s effect on the form from poets and rappers within the game. Expect to be moved, angered, and enlightened by poets that are “saving American poetry”.

ARTWORK : Jess lin

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c u lt u r e : t h e a r t s / o p i n i o n

Where to From Here? The Next Step for Young Artists Camilla Turnbull


June 17 2016 was the National Day of Action for the arts – and what a turbulent time it is to be an emerging artist in Australia. Every cafe-breakfaster with a smartphone is a photographer, and any outgoing personality with a webcam is on the brink of becoming a YouTube sensation. You can’t turn your head without catching wind of a pitch for another web series cataloguing the ‘real lives’ of the residents of a well-known Sydney suburb. Recently I sat in an auditorium surrounded by promising Australian media artists as we watched their graduating works. UTS’s Media Arts and Production discipline caters to young creators that wish to engage across ar tistic mediums, including: visual art, audio, film, media and live performance. UTS does not hesitate to remind its students that its communication degree is ranked number one in New South Wales. The MAP screenings at UTS are an event for artists and their communities to celebrate and showcase their graduating works. After an incubation period of 3-5 years, these students are on the precipice of making their debut in the Australian arts industry – bringing insightful ideas to present on Australian screens, stages, and in galleries. This final exhibit is an opportunity to get drunk on ego and revel in what it means to be a big fish in a small pond before being thrust into the real creative world – to start over and make work without a safety net. This semester presents a drop in the ocean, a wave of recent ar ts graduates from COFA, SCA, NIDA, USYD, UNSW and beyond – and they are all asking the same question as those who came before them: what’s next? For an artist who seeks to make independent work, this means securing support. This usually takes the form of funding, mentorships, workshops, internships, grants, and residencies. In Australia, most of these opportunities are provided by arts organisations through government funding. However, for the emerging artist, now is a tougher time than ever to secure government-funded patronage for new work. It is no secret that since 2014, the budget cuts made to the Australian arts sector under a Liberal government have put major strain on the patronage that government-funded bodies can provide to artists. In the past two years, both

Screen Australia and the Australia Council, two major funding bodies for independent theatre and film work, have received cuts that amount to millions of dollars in work that can no longer be produced. The closing thud of the government chequebook has reverberated down the line – Metroscreen announced its closure at the end of 2015 after adequate funding went unprovided. Now PACT Centre for Emerging Artists in Erskineville faces a similar fate and is uncertain of its future as a development, rehearsal, and performance space for young creatives. Smaller companies that have existed to provide opportunities and grants to independent theatre, film, and performance artists have had to announce various cutbacks. In particular, the deregulation of programs and opportunities once provided to the emerging artistic community can no longer be sustained. This information can be suffocating for a person who has yet to step foot into the professional industry. It seems cumbersome to seek support when the opportunities that remain are susceptible to a funnel of elitism. Increased demand met by a limited supply stands create a situation where only those deemed the ‘most worthy’ will receive government patronage. What can be done when support opportunities for young artists are diminished? How can creatives continue to make work once they leave their tertiary institutions? There is no clean-cut answer. I acknowledge that it is easy to take the negative route from a privileged position of a university graduate, or to become sore for the opportunities that were given to our predecessors, but denied to us. I would instead like to urge our crowd to push beyond indulging a multitude of reasons not to make work, and to find opportunity in what seems to be a dark time. The next step can either be dictated by the work we decide we cannot make, or the works we choose to pursue with the lot we are given. A restraint in resources could become a generation’s signifier. Many will argue that it is the strength of an idea that can carry an artwork – not the mere medium in which is it made. Unfortunately, government patronage is only the first obstacle for our cohort and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s a grounding realisation that this journey will not be without difficulty, but also that this journey will not be taken alone. ARTWORK : Kristina Grasiella

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visual showcase : fashion

Jamilla McCrossin Ling McGregor

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visual showcase : fashion

Jamilla McCrossin’s collection, ‘Stitched’, draws on the spontaneous, automatic, and subconscious creation found in abstract expressionism. The collection incorporates a variety of fabrics including linen, raw silk, cotton georgette and denim, which were reimagined through an extensive process of both machine and hand embroidery.

For this project, Jamilla was awarded the Yangsters Paradise scholarship for embroidery, which assisted her in developing a unique design. She explains that the value of embroidery in her work was not limited to providing a tactile element, but also allowed her to practice spontaneity. Her aim was to “embody a spontaneous approach to practice by creating garments that suggest a pulse.” To create the patterns, Jamilla designed abstracted landscapes, finding inspiration in the ocean and filming its movements. Jamilla explains, “I played with the idea of stitching into machine embroidery, stitching onto the wrong side, hand stitching randomly, and stitching patterns from the ocean films.”


Jamilla also incorporated film within the process of draping the garments. After finding that traditional methods of draping were static and lacked the fluidity she wanted to achieve, she filmed herself throwing pre-existing garments, and from the films gathered stills that provided the basis for all following design processes. The shapes of the pieces were then formed by tracing over stills from the film. Jamilla explains, “I traced and traced, then placed and displaced, and drew garments from little sketches to try and generate silhouettes�. Through an extensive process of refinement, Jamilla formed a coherent collection in which the garments can be thrown on, wrapped, and tied with ease.

@jeko photography

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visual showcase : FILM

Sabrina Calero I love to work within documentary forms – they allow me to tell stories of people creating their own inspiring works. I also enjoy creating short videos that give a bit of an insight into my travels and experiences. I am inspired by female directors and women of colour in filmmaking and visual media – I believe that the female voice is incredibly powerful and it can offer beautiful and underrepresented portrayals of women. I look up to creators such as Rebecca Sugar for her animated works, and a whole multitude of other female creators who are fearless in what they do.

Top, Top Right: Agnes Choi, Annerose De Jong (actors), Sebastian Reategui (producer), Jess Chen (DOP) Bottom, Bottom Right: Craig Stubbs-Race @craigwave

As I’m in my final year of my degree, I’m currently venturing into more fictional filmmaking – I’m hoping to explore topics such as multiculturalism and growing up mixed-race, both of which are close to my heart. My most recent work is a short documentary on the underappreciated ar t form of ‘VJing’, which I created with my boyfriend – check it out on the YouTube channel ‘Painting with Pixels’.


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showcase : Visual Sampling


Natalie Shue Visual Communications, Honours

Innerbloom: Visual Samples I’ve always been interested in the overlap of creative processes, especially between music and design. In this project, I transformed the traditional practice of audio sampling into a new form of visual sampling. The work mimics the steps of ‘copy, transform and combine’ in music production, and is based on the ten-minute song, ‘Innerbloom’ by Rufus du Sol. To recreate the song’s movement and energy I used a combination of digital collage and glitch techniques, including: repetition, layering, cutting, and splicing.

The first ar twork, ‘A Graphic Score’, deconstructs the layers within the song by visually notating each sound, sample, and effect. It also considers tempo and dynamics, which are visually reflected in the colour saturation. The song is condensed to four bars per stave. Without access to the musical score, I notated the piece by ear (choosing a ten-minute song was a big mistake). The second piece, ‘A Summary’, is an interpretation of the song as a whole, while the third artwork, ‘A Remix’, is an alteration and combination of the two previous artworks, and is based on What So Not’s remix of ‘Innerbloom’.

w w w . n a t a l i e s h u e . c o m , @ n a t t y. s h u e

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visual showcase : photography

INSTAGRAM : @joumana._


Joumana Elomar

Bachelor of Design in Architecture, Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation

A camera’s lens is unlike the eye; while the eye sees all, the lens sees only what we want it to see. In my eyes, photography is a silent form of speech. Anyone can speak if they feel they have something to say. Through the ar t, we give meaning to a moment. There are no rules or regulations – we see, we feel, we capture. In the world of design and architecture (the world that I find myself falling into), ways of seeing and thinking are at the heart of our discipline. Photography plays an intrinsic role in sculpting this, and is one of the many paths that people can take in jolting their creative spirits. Previous Page: Italy / Above: India

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visual showcase : photography

REKHA DhANaram chat with our cover artist

For this volume’s cover, I wanted to create an intriguing illustration that explores the liminal space between nature and humans. This saw me heavily drawn towards science, particularly the detail in old, scientific botanical illustrations and the patterns in nature at a microscopic level. Deciding to do the greater par t of it by hand, I drew the illustration with pencil, then proceeded to outline and paint it with ink. The process was long, but I find that using a pen and brush by hand adds a very natural flow and quality to it, something I truly admire of traditional hand crafts. Overall my art and design follows this organic path which is very much influenced by nature, ar t and my collection of random hoarded things. Furthermore I continuously seek to explore new mediums and forms to experiment and grow as a designer.


35mm b/w film photos with experimental use of developer

Rekhas “collections of random hoarded things� 63


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written showcase : Fiction

Green Mangoes Harry Goddard My house was huge, a leftover from Singapore’s colonial years. When it rained I’d come inside and traipse mud across white, tiled floors. There was a mango tree that grew outside my bedroom window. Josie would climb it with a basket tucked under her arm, taking green mangoes right from their branches. She’d eat them with salt and nothing else.


I wasn’t allowed to climb the mango tree or explore the banana grove next door. We had snakes. Josie once found a pit viper after climbing into the upper branches of her tree. I stood watching as she climbed down and returned, armed with a pool net and a shovel. She scooped up the snake, trapping it in the net, and then brought the shovel down onto its head. She stomped on the flat of the blade to make sure she had cut right through it. A clean kill. She kept the viper in a glass jar, its body pickled in vinegar. I only saw the jar when I was being scolded for wandering too far. She would hold it up to me, the snake curled in on itself, scales glinting through the brine, its head lolling beside its body. Instead of playing in the grove I would explore the old house being renovated on my street. The garden was full of a grass that twitched and closed up when you brushed your hand over it. Most of the walls had been torn down and the metal framework was exposed like a rusting rib-cage. You could see the upstairs bathroom from the street, a single toilet alone in a naked house. Once I climbed up and looked into the toilet bowl. A huge insect, like a stick insect, crawled out of the pipe.

It’s been so long. I wonder if the insect was actually there or if the thrill of exploration made me imagine it. Empty places have always felt haunted to me: schools after hours, playgrounds at night, abandoned streets and forgotten tunnels. I used to think people left behind pieces of themselves during the day, empty places filling up with our echoes. These echoes could come alive, but only to me and only if I was watching carefully. It’s why I loved that house with its missing pieces and glassless windows. Strange things could happen there and go completely unnoticed by the rest of the world. I moved to Australia soon after the renovation of that house had been completed. I had long since finished exploring it. Time passed and the houses on that street were knocked down to become part of an industrial park. I forgot how to speak the languages I learnt. Instead I kept small things with me like snakes and stick insects. They remind me of when green mangoes grew on a tree in the grounds of a house that’s been replaced.

artwork : natalie borghi

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written showcase : fiction

Just Pretend Zoe Knowles

The little boy stared at the TV screen with swollen eyes, shovelling handfuls of popcorn into his mouth. He sucked on the golden clouds, spitting the seeds back into the bag, his hands slick with fake butter. It was dark in the house. Dark as a three-day-old bruise.


It seemed to the boy that the man with the bad hair and the gun was upset with the hero because he kept waving it around and yelling words that would get the boy in trouble if he said them. He thought the man’s face should turn red, or maybe purple, and imagined spit flying from the man’s mouth as he said the bad words. Rah rah bad word bad word. He could feel the spit hitting his face. The boy shrunk into the couch, hugging the bag of popcorn. He peeked through his squeezed-shut eyes, wishing it all wasn’t so loud. The man with the bad hair kept yelling and thwacking punches. They slapped the air like belts on a back, thumping like fists on a door, rattling like beer caps hitting the sink, stinging like smoke when

it gets blown in your face, knocking the old one-two like your two feet on the long walk home, messing like messing around only he’s not messing around he’s messing you up. Stop it. The boy squished his hands over his ears. It’s just pretend, he told himself. He was curled up so tightly, his feet tucked up beneath him. It’s just pretend. The man with the bad hair had the gun pointed at the hero, right at his nose. This time he meant what he said. The boy pushed his face into the cushions. He could see the hot look in the man’s eyes, see his hands shake just a little. The gun went off. Heroes weren’t supposed to be scared of men with bad hair. But he was.

artwork : jasmine mijares

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written showcase : fiction/thriller

Tar

Michael Louis Kennedy


They were there, standing on the front lawn. Eli saw them through the window. He shouldn’t have looked but he did. Now the lights were out and he sat with his back to the wall, the window-sill just above his head.

Just as he shuffled slowly to the wardrobe’s corner the old wood creaked and Dominic snapped to face him. Without turning, their whole body appeared to shift and reorient.

Eli’s phone was ringing again with the polyphonic clamour he could never seem to change. He’d removed the SIM and sliced it in half with a pair of craft scissors but it still rang once or twice an hour.

“I’ve missed you so much, Eli,” they whispered; the voice at once cast from before and behind him. His muscles tensed and skin prickled as the hot, damp sensation of Dom’s tongue landed on the back of his neck. He lunged for the door but already his arms were stuck, their hands gripping his wrists and fingers twisting around the length of his arm up to the elbow. A third hand extended and clasped his mouth, a fourth wrapped tightly around his waist lifting him from the ground.

With a graceless thunk, a rock hit his window pane. He clutched the Swiss army knife his grandfather had given him for his 14th birthday and began to cry as a second rock hit the glass. “Eli, please let me in. I know you’re in there, I miss you.” It was as loud as if they were in the room. As loud as if it were shouted into his ear. Their voice was grotesque; a sloppy imitation of the real Dominic. “Please.” For a moment there was silence, then the sharp and jarring clash of glass from beneath him. He gasped and crawled on all fours to his venetian wardrobe, pulling the doors shut just as his bedroom door creaked open. Each step was unnaturally quiet. Their skin rippled and shifted, blackening and bubbling before returning to its pale, mascarpone white. Their eyes, unsettled like ink swirling in water, captured all the incandescent light of the street lamps.

The other Dom pressed against the doors, and Eli watched, unable to scream, as their whole body seeped through the slats and recongealed before him – once again a vision of statuesque symmetry. “I love you,” they said, as they removed their hand from his mouth and drove their lips into Eli’s. With fervour, Dom grasped Eli’s face with two hands and his thighs with two more. The two of them bubbling and expanding as hand upon hand, viscous and probing emerged from within the clothes, placing themselves on his body. This was not his Dom. He felt their tongue slipping deeper and deeper into his throat. All the while they repeated, “I love you, I love you” from any of the hundreds of mouths that formed and collapsed in the tar and the darkness. All the while Eli rasped, “I can’t breathe.”

“I can feel you with me, Elijah. I can feel your heart, at every moment, beating in my hands.” Still his phone was ringing, Dom’s name emboldened on the screen. “I know you’re here, Eli.” He watched while covering his mouth as this Dom’s fingers collapsed and reformed, falling from their hands after bubbling into a thick tar that poured from their palms onto the carpet. From his bedside, Dom picked up his book and held it to their face as the ooze from their person gushed down the cover, pooling at their feet. Eli buried himself between his coats, his eyes stinging with salt as they inhaled deeply from the pages of the novel. artwork : jordan evans

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written showcase : poetry

Bright Lights Tamara Fraser

People must look away from the burning flame of her. They risk themselves, being lost like her and so they walk away, leaving scorch marks on her skin from the places they’ve touched, explored, caressed, and cut. She tries to connect, to kindle a fire inside, some shield; she gives over all of herself, every time, holes and caverns forming, given over to intangible forms of men as real as dawn fog, as greedy and lustful as ravenous wolves all sweetness and smiles until her light burns through them and they realise she is too much to fix.

I see her twice; once in the daylight; purposeful, electric lights bouncing radiantly from her soft steps, forced bustle and grace in order to drown something ticking in her head; and at night, a quiet mess, the light’s fingers can no longer grasp her, wrapped in the sturdy oozing blackness encasing her cries.


I see it all. I am blessed with the ability to discern such lights. Yours is frightening trembling body, tight in defence, I pity you. You shine such brilliant light, eyes squinted shut, I told you to never look at yourself. You know how worthless you are, you know abandonment like no other, do you need to see it again for yourself ?

In a small truth, you are beautiful. you rise up from your falls, a phoenix given the warmth of fire. Yet that small cling-wrap of beauty compares little to the coiled, twisting mass of loss you carry inside. The hole you cry for others to fill, the seething pain that keeps you from sleep, the head that worries, the body that aches, the heart that slows and the breathing that escalates, when will someone be able to fix you?

artwork : wilson leung

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written showcase : BLACKOUT POETRY

On the 31 May, 2016, Vertigo hosted a blackout poetry event as part of UTS’ Creative Takeover. Below we have featured the top two pieces from said hoedown, created by Helena Rainert, who modified previous Vertigo volumes into original work.

VERTIGO 2015 : ISSUE 5


vertigo 2015 : issue 1

77 31


OFF-BROADWAY : JOIN THE CLUB

WHO RUN THE WORLD? ISAAC GARCIA Vertigo sends its coolest and fittest writer, Isaac Garcia, to break it down and break down UTS’ Hiphop Society.

I never thought of myself as much of a dancer. In fact, when the Killers asked “are we human or are we dancer”, I went safe and picked human. When I was asked to review the Hiphop Society, I could only assume that the Vertigo team were either high, or just convinced that your entertainment was far more important than my dignity. Fearing for everyone’s safety and scraping up what was left of my self-worth, I decided to attend my first UTS hip-hop dance lesson during the winter break. The Hiphop Society regularly holds foundational classes, which are perfect for newbies like myself, but still helpful for those with actual dancing talent. These classes usually only run during the semester, but after some pleading, Emily, the events executive who teaches hip-hop, was kind enough to give me a time and a place, and it was set to happen. I readied myself to dance. I prepared by watching the questionable 2009 remake of ‘Fame’ and binge watching ‘Dance Moms’. The day came and my investment in the sports-luxe trend finally proved useful. Everything was looking up. Until Beyoncé. Emily had not only chosen the goddess herself, but also her power track: ‘Run the World (Girls)’. As it turned out, I had a unique

style of hip-hop; it was a modern fusion of dad dancing and had-too-many-predrinks floundering. I didn’t even care. I have never felt cooler in my life than in that gruelling hour, swearing at one point that I became Sasha Fierce. Emily gave so much energy in her routine, never failing to lend a helping hand. She always made you feel like you could achieve each step. The choreography was amazing and perfect for anyone; it was challenging, but never overwhelming. I was transformed. The Hiphop Society is more than just knees weak, arms heavy, it’s more than just vomit on your sweater already – it is your mum’s spaghetti. Score: 5/5 highly recommended. The UTS Hiphop Society holds various classes for its members throughout the semester (popping, breaking, girls hip-hop, urban choreography and more). Check out their Facebook page for more info: UTS Hiphopsociety.

ARTWORK : Vanessa Papastavros

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O F F - B R O A D WA Y : FA C U LT Y F E A T U R E

L A W FA C U LT Y Vertigo chats to the UTS Law Society (LSS)

What is the cohort like? Is there a specific culture in the faculty? Bryce Craig, President The culture of the law student cohort is for the most part collegiate, dynamic, and friendly. Whether it be in the classroom, in the library or at a messy Law Cruise afterparty, students are happy to help their peers in times of need. In my experience, group work in law is more reliable and accountable too, and there’s no real competitive vibe. Something always seems to be on at law school and I think that’s what sets law student-life apart. They’re a bunch of great people, willing to engage time and time again in taking opportunities and building friendships.

What are some fun things to do as a student in the Law faculty? Sophie Ray, Vice-President of Activities Whether you’re after a relaxed vibe, intellectual conversation, or a late night dance party, there’s always something to do in the Law faculty. Being a stone’s throw away from Market City and Chinatown pretty much puts you in the central eating district down in Haymarket. First years are all inducted by the rite of passage that is Dodgy Dumplings – this will be the go-to post-class, post-exam venue for the duration of your degree. On the party side of things, the LSS has you covered. From Law Cruise to Start of Semesters to End of Semesters and Law Ball, every semester there are plenty of opportunities to have a few (too many) drinks with your mates and dance the woes of having four assignments and three exams away. How does UTS Law fare against the sandstone universities in terms of graduate employment, and results? Sharni Nichols, Vice-President of Sponsorship & Careers In order to compete against the sandstone universities, UTS works hard to offer a dynamic and practice-oriented degree that produces quality graduates with a knack for innovation and teamwork. This has been recognised by the world as the UTS Law program is ranked 6th in Australia and 41st worldwide by the international QS University Rankings by Subject. It didn’t take long for employers to catch on. UTS:Law

graduates have a reputation for their problem-solving skills, humility, and down-to-earth approach to legal work. It is these qualities that keep a law firm moving, not being able to write a 10,000-word jurisprudential essay. Thus 80.9 percent of UTS Law graduates find full time employment after graduation (similar to our sandstone friends), and our median salaries aren’t far behind either! What are some of the extra-curricular opportunities for law students? Christina Knezevich, Vice-President of Marketing With such an emphasis on practical degrees, it’s a lucky coincidence that law at UTS is full of opportunities to refine your legal prowess outside the classroom (and add to that resume in time for clerkship season). An invaluable extracurricular program is the extensive legal competitions available to law students, including client interview, negotiation, witness examination, and mooting to name a few. Whether you love shouting “objection” or arguing your opponent to get the best outcome for your client, this is the chance to show off your best Cleaver Greene impression. There’s one for every experience level, from Junior, Open and Intervarsity which are all organised by the UTS Law Students’ Society, all the way to National and International competitions run through the Law Faculty. There are no reasons to say no. Another unique feature of UTS:Law is the Brennan Justice and Leadership Program organised jointly by the Law Faculty and UTS LSS. The program is twofold, encouraging students to expand their understanding of the law through reflections on justice and leadership through service. Students need to accrue 100 ‘reflections on justice’ points, which can be achieved by attending speaking events and discussion groups, and up to 200 hours volunteering. If you want to get even more involved in social justice aspects of law, the multiple ALSA award-winning Justice Action Committee galvanises student volunteers to, among other initiatives, write submissions to Parliament and organise events highlighting issues such as youth homelessness. Otherwise, there are many legal mentoring programs to put your hand up for, such as the Advocates Mentoring Program


DAY IN THE LIFE OF A LAW STUDENT Jason Corbett, Treasurer and Buddy Project, which enable you to gain valuable knowledge from a practicing barrister or pass on your own words of wisdom to a fresh first year student. There are always openings to contribute a piece of legal writing to the academic law journal, The Full Bench, or an article to the Careers Guide, and the UTS LSS is always looking for contributions to the Wellbeing Blog. There are limitless avenues through which you can pursue your interests and enhance your law degree with the many extra-curricular activates available at UTS – all you have to do is get involved. Give us a run down on what the process is like for newly graduated law students attempting to enter the workforce – warts and all. What can current students expect from their first couple of years out? Imogen Bailey, Secretary The spectre of the legal job market is certainly daunting to any prospective graduate, but that shouldn’t deter you from trying to find out where you want to work. While clerkships at big, shiny top tier firms can seem like the be-all, what you see when you step into these firms is that their lawyers have come from all manner of legal backgrounds: small firms, mid-tiers, even community legal centres, as well as from a variety of interstate and international origins. As a current student, whether you’re in first or final year, my advice would be to try everything. Try to get work experience in varied legal and non-legal environments, as this will greatly shape your perspective moving forward. And don’t stress over getting that one perfect job straight out of law school; you may find that a different and varied path leads to a more satisfying career and more opportunities for lateral movement later down the track. As for what to expect in your first couple of years out – learning, lots and lots of learning. Law school is very conveniently compartmentalised but practice is nowhere near as organised. Being a good student is very different to being a good lawyer, so be ready to learn.

5:30am

Good morning darkness. Come to terms with the fact that you have to face another day before the sun does.

6:00am

First coffee of the day.

7:00am

Boot camp with the UTS LSS. Important to question why you do this to yourself.

8:00am

Second coffee of the day. Get to work on your five assignments.

9:00am

It’s now time to actually start studying, get off Facebook.

10:00am

Get a call from work telling you that that thing due at the end of next week is now due yesterday.

11:00am

Third coffee of the day.

12:00am

Microsoft Word crashes. Fuck everything and go to Dodgy Dumplings.

1:00pm

Greet a stranger and inform them that you study law. Your conversation should be four parts complaining and one part subtle-brag.

2.00pm

Send half-written oral submissions to friends to read while you rush to work for a surprise meeting.

3:00pm

Back to the assignments. Calculate how many marks you need to pass. Accept defeat. Repeat the above steps in place of doing your referencing.

4:00pm

Microsoft word crashes again. On this occasion cry in the bathroom.

5:00pm

Do a quick proof read of the assignments on your way to the Law Reception. Find a mistake on the first page of every one. Sign the academic declarations and hand them in with a minute to spare.

6:00pm

Try to write the rest of your oral submission. Run out of time. Resort to muttering your submission under your breath, pausing only to shout at people where necessary.

7:00pm

Moot moot motherfucker.

8:00pm

Fill the time spent waiting for the judges to deliberate by mourning the empty cheese platter.

9:00pm

Nurse the wounds inflicted by the judges. If you are announced as the winner, hold the trophy up high and smile so hard that even your gums say, “This picture is going to look so great on my Linkedin.”

10:00pm

Dinner with mates at Bar Luca.

11:00pm

Feel blessed to be home early. Try to get a head start on applying for Clerkships, but actually just watch Suits.

12:00pm

Get your things together for work or uni tomorrow.

1:00am

As you settle in to sleep, realise that everything you wrote in your last exam was wrong. Lie awake questioning your life choices. A R T W O R K : K I M B E R LY L U O

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OFF-BROADWAY : INSEARCH

HELPING A VILLAGEONE BAR OF SOAP AT A TIME ANDREW BLUNT As a woman growing up in a small Tibetan nomadic village, Danma always dreamed of studying overseas, but in a village surrounded by snow-capped mountains and located 4,000 metres above the sea, Danma never imagined it would be possible. “As a child, my only future seemed to be having children and herding livestock,” says Danma. “After finishing nine years of free early education, I knew my family would face financial hardship if I wanted to continue my studies. Thankfully, my granduncle convinced my father to send me to a free high school run by foreigners, so I was able to finish school.” It was in high school that Danma learnt English and developed a passion for community development projects. Using the skills she learnt, Danma applied for grants that enabled her to bring running water and electricity through solar panel generators to her village. “When I shared my ideas for possible projects and the benefits it would bring to the community, my community wouldn’t put any faith in me as they felt I was too young and too little to manage such ambitious projects.”

Despite this, and through her determination to improve the lives of her community, she ended up working for a not-for-profit organisation in China after high school. It was here that she had a chance encounter with an Australian, who helped Danma begin a journey to the other side of the world. “I’ve been very fortunate to receive lots of support from the UTS community,” says Danma. “I wouldn’t have been able to graduate from UTS:INSEARCH and UTS with new skills without the scholarships I was lucky enough to receive.” Since graduating from UTS, Danma has continued studying, and is helping her community by establishing Maya Mountain Natural Cosmetics, a social enterprise which employs local women to make yak milk soaps. With plans to increase the distribution networks of Maya Mountain, Danma hopes she will be able to employ more women and fund a community mental health program with any profits from sales. Danma was awarded the 2015 UTS:INSEARCH Alumni Prize in recognition of her efforts in overcoming challenges and working with traditional Tibetan villages.


OFF-BROADWAY : AWARD PROGRAM

UTS SHOPFRONT’S SOUL AWARD RUBY WAWN

Hi! My name is Ruby and I’m a fourth year Social Inquiry and Law student. First a few questions: Are you passionate about social justice? Are you keen to donate some of your time to help not-forprofit organisations in your community? Do you want to learn skills that prepare you for facilitating social engagement and action? Do you want to meet other students who want to work together to make a difference? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, the UTS Soul Award Program is a great option for you.

I’ve been involved with the SOUL program since my first year of uni. It’s been a great way to orient myself within the university, and find a community of like-minded people. SOUL is unique in that it’s not just about CV building – it’s about doing social good. I’m part of SOULstars, which is an extension of the program. It gives SOUL students the opportunity to be trained in facilitation techniques, and run four compulsory workshops. To join the SOUL program, all you need to do is sign up. In order to qualify for your award, you need to complete 90 hours of volunteer work throughout the course of your degree and attend the four skillup workshops: Active Communication, Skills 4 Leaders, Social Issues 101, and How to Run a Project. SOUL is a great way to apply the skills you’ve learned from your degree into making a difference and serving some social good. Throughout the program, you’ll build a solid network, which you can work with for the rest of the life to create meaningful social outcomes. For more information on the UTS Soul Award, you can check out the website, www.soul.uts.edu.au, or their Facebook page at @UTSSoulAward.

artwork : rekha dhanaram

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OFF-BROADWAY

SA REPORTS PRESIDENT’S REPORT Sam Howes Happy second semester! I hope you enjoyed your final weeks of last semester and everything that came with them. Exams can be a stressful time and I hope you took care of yourselves and your loved ones. On that note, if you have had difficulties with exam results, or if you have found yourself in any trouble, please feel free to contact the Students’ Association and organise a meeting with one of our brilliant caseworkers. A few exciting things will be happening this semester that the Students’ Association has been planning. Clubs Day is coming up, and as you know you can stop by the SA stalls to have a chat, and grab a keep-cup or some helpful information. Pride Week is also just around the corner, and I’m sure you will hear more about it in the coming weeks, but if you are LGBTQIAP+ identifying then feel free to get in touch with our fantastic Queer Collective. Drop by the Queer Space or the SA office to get involved!  The UTSSA has just hosted the NOWSA (Network of Women Students Australia) annual conference and it was fantastic. From slam poetry to distinguished panellists, the week was an overwhelming success. Congratulations to all of the fantastic activists that helped put this event together and hold it at UTS. If you are a woman-identifying student, then please feel free to drop into the Students’ Association and join the Wom*ns collective to help organise events, rally support, and grow feminism on campus. The education department has been busy with our student survey on the new academic calendar. The survey has now officially closed. I would like to offer a huge thank you to all those students that took time out to complete that survey. We had an overwhelming and encouraging response from students all over UTS. You will hear more from the UTSSA on this issue soon.

Finally, regarding the federal election and the recent proposals regarding the deregulation of university fees, the UTSSA is prepared to organise with the National Union of Students and the Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations against any government policy that will deregulate university fees. Education is a right not a privilege, and we will fiercely rally against any proposal of $100, 000 degrees in the best interests of the students we were elected to represent. Remember to vote early, vote often, and vote against university fee-deregulation. I hope you have had a great break and taken the time to relax. We are so excited to join you for what will be an amazing semester.  EDUCATION VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT Gabriella Brackenbury-Soldenhoff A lot has happened since June! Especially when it comes to our response to the balanced teaching periods – colloquially known as trimesters, shorter semesters, or balanced semesters. I organised the ‘Balanced Teaching Period Survey’ with the UTS Students’ Association and the amount of responses have been incredible. There have been 1,600 so far, making it one of the most successful surveys the association has run. The only other survey or petition that has gotten this scale of responses was in regards to deregulation. The results so far show an extremely clear position that students have taken. Students feel that they do not have an understanding of the restructure and that the university have not properly consulted or informed students about the restructure. Furthermore, students are not happy with the new academic calendar. The first issue that was raised was that preparation week was ineffective and students overwhelmingly desired longer teaching periods. The top four major impacts that the restructure has had


on students have been: dealing with the workload, coping with work commitments, their ability to engage outside of the classroom, and mental health. Students go into detail, stating that these impacts have been largely negative. Students are also saying that the restructure does not provide value for money and is degrading the quality of education that UTS has previously provided. Management have and will continue to argue that the extra online services have been adequate to respond to these issues, and that students should adapt to this new way of learning. The transition to the restructure, from our perspective, has been appalling and was not designed to benefit the majority of students. There are ways in which we as students can use the results to lobby management and discuss with them the ways that they can help students. Now is the time to band together. If management do not take this seriously, we will come back in the spring semester, ready to be part of the campaign to demand and ensure that our voices are heard. TREASURER’S REPORT Mohamed Rumman We’re still not broke! NOWSA funding has been passed and the UTS Students’ Association are proud to have hosted the NOWSA conference for 2016. UTS students in attendance received a subsidy for their tickets to the conference in July.

SECRETARY’S REPORT Lachlan Barker At the close of Autumn semester, one would anticipate a winding down in student politics. I can assure you that the last couple of months have allowed for anything but that. Between meetings of collectives, pulling together survey results, tidying up the website and negotiating with other student bodies, the UTSSA is chugging along diligently. Most of my work has been in processing motions, with several student conferences coming up over the break. My tip to future secretaries: be prepared for Google to randomly remove money from your account and then explain it to you four days later. Super fun. The minutes for each general SRC, and executive meeting are available in hard copies at the SA office or through an email from me until the website is up and running. Again, we appreciate attendance at any of our meetings by council members and non-voting attendees. Feel free to contact us over Facebook or via secretary@utsstudentsassociation.org if you want any further information.

At the close of the Autumn semester and the beginning of the Spring semester, appeals and misconducts may arise. The UTS Students’ Association provides counselling and assistance to students who are in need of help during these times. Contact the SA as soon as possible if this occurs.

artwork : wilson leung

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OFF-BROADWAY : COLLECTIVES

THE ENVIRO COLLECTIVE SHANNON KELLEHER


While it is my first year at UTS, I play a significant role as a member of the UTS Enviro Collective. I run meetings, organise events, and liaise with staff members. Last year, I was involved with the Environment Collective at UNSW. It was there that I learnt most of the skills needed to organise and run a collective, and most of what I know about divestment, fossil fuels, and environmental justice. It was also where I was introduced to ASEN (Australian Student Environment Network), a valuable nationwide network of Environment Collectives. The UTS Enviro Collective is affiliated with ASEN, which holds workshops and training sessions about how to campaign, facilitate and run a collective, promote sustainable activism, and take part in actions across Australia. One of the biggest challenges for the collective this year has been building up a core group. In previous years, the Environment Collective did some great work and have had fabulous people on board. This year, however, many of those members have graduated, which meant that there was a lot of work, but only a few people who were aware of exactly what was happening with ongoing campaigns, and the position of staff and the university as a whole in regards to those campaigns. To help build up a core group, the collective has held actions and ‘crafternoons’, and focussed on promoting events during Green Week at UTS to reach out to students who are interested in environmental activism. We’ve had some cool actions already this year – a great success for us was on 31 May 2016, when the UTS Financial Committee met to discuss the draft Responsible Investment Framework. We met outside the meeting room and urged the university to divest all of its fossil fuel assets as a part of our Fossil Free campaign. The Fossil Free campaign isn’t exclusive to UTS. In fact, it is a global movement urging a range of institutions, including universities and banks, to take a stand against investing in fossil fuels. It asks us to consider it wrong to destroy the planet, and in turn to question making profit from that wreckage – in effect, there must be a halt to all fossil fuel investments.

UTS has invested approximately $400,000 in companies that rely on fossil fuels. While the removal of this investment is not enough to significantly impact the fossil fuel industry, the campaign within our university is more concerned with taking a moral standpoint against an industry which has been proven to be one of the leading causes of climate change. In previous years, members of the Enviro Collective have taken part in amazing actions and liaised extensively with university staff regarding divestment, and we are extremely proud to be continuing their great work and persisting in the divestment campaign. So far, we have seen that UTS has a demonstrated enthusiasm for divestment, and is happy to listen to and work with students on this issue. They have drafted the Ethical Investment Framework which, while not specifying fossil fuels or explicitly mentioning climate change, does look at ending all unethical investments, which would include fossil fuels. Another issue the Enviro Collective will be working on this year will be that of nuclear energy. We believe in a transition to 100 percent renewable energy. We are firm in the argument that the only way to achieve actual justice in this transition is to take a strong anti-nuclear stance. Nuclear energy is not clean energy, and nuclear waste dumped in landfills has an extremely adverse effect on the environment. Alongside this, it is important to recognise that the land being used is Aboriginal land, which has resulted in further displacement of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands. There can be no environmental justice without Aboriginal justice, and the Enviro Collective will continue to campaign against nuclear energy in 2016 in order to achieve this. Of course, what makes the Enviro Collective at UTS so special is its people. While we have a fairly new working group, we have some amazing talent behind us. Each member is a valuable member and everyone has something wonderful to contribute. In 2016, the Enviro Collective will be taking giant leaps. We have made significant progress and will continue to achieve great things. Students can help and contribute towards a just transition and the time to take a stand is now!

artwork : REKHA DHANARAM

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lifestyle & innovation : charity

A b o v e T h e B e lt: T h e ‘ L i v e Below the Line’ Challenge

Lucy Murray Anyone wishing to understand my ‘Live Below the Line’ challenge must first understand my relationship with food. Put simply, I am head-over-heels for food. It has been a long-lasting bond since the day I could say “parmesan cheese”. I am not a difficult partner when it comes to food. I love and respect it in all its forms: savoury, sweet, hot, cold, raw, stale, mouldy - you name it. I snack all day, every day, and try to fit in as many flavours as I can without making myself physically ill. In short, I depend on food. It all began when I was sitting on the grass behind the Central Park shopping centre, aimlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed (potentially eating a doughnut). A Facebook sponsored ad, titled “8,000 Australians are living below the line this May” caught my eye. I clicked through to the website and within five minutes I had signed up for a challenge I didn’t know anything about. I was surprised that I had never heard of ‘Live Below the Line’ before. Participants choose to live on $2 a day, for five days, to raise money for work that helps to end poverty.

The challenge is run by the organisation Oaktree, who use the money raised to fund education programs in the AsiaPacific region. The notion that education transforms lives and breaks the cycle of poverty was the sole reason why I chose to put my intimate relationship with food on hold for a week. I was ambitious - I set up extra challenges, without realising how hard the non-eating part alone would be. I was dared to wear the same clothes for the duration of the challenge. I could only wear thongs (my most hated form of footwear), and I pledged to write poems for a few donors as per their request. The night before my challenge, I went to Woolworths and dawdled in the aisles for about an hour before having to call my boyfriend for emotional support. I left the shop with exclusively Homebrand products, only to discover later that this was a really poor life choice. My basket consisted of: 2 x cans of tuna, 1 x crunchy peanut butter jar, 2 x loaves of white bread, 1 x bag of potatoes, and 1 x medium-size bag of white rice. I spent the rest of the night farewelling my Milo tin.


I dressed in my uniform for the week and headed off to uni. I immediately regretted challenging myself to wear thongs as the temperature forced me to wear them with woolly socks. By ten a.m. I was starving and my breakfast of two slices of peanut butter toast was starting to make me feel queasy. I had packed a peanut butter sandwich for lunch but couldn’t bring myself to eat it. I was beginning to feel like a piece of cardboard, undernourished and frustrated that I had put myself in this position, doing so in a manner so public. The next day my breakfast consisted of porridge, made with just oats and water, which reminded me of my youth, eating Clag glue. I packed boiled potatoes and plain rice for lunch, which is, I can assure you, as bland as it sounds. My family thought it would be funny to eat lasagne for dinner, a dish that only appears on special occasions. I sat at the table, hating every family member equally, as they scooped copious amounts of lasagne onto their plates and boasted about the delicious flavours. The final days of the challenge were most definitely the hardest. I made hash browns out of my remaining potatoes but besides that, I didn’t properly eat for the rest of the days. At this point in the challenge I was a smelly loner with

no energy and blistery feet. I tried to sleep the time away, as I felt incredibly weak, and took work off for two days. I wondered about how people lived like this every single day. Over the five days I had lost two and a half kilos and potentially 50 Instagram followers. That aside, and most importantly, I had gained a new perspective on food consumption. During the challenge, I saw food as fuel, and perceived what I would normally consume as over-the-top. In our society, we often spend $5 or more on coffee daily, or whine about having no food in the fridge when there is an abundance of ingredients. My experience of eating with limited choices was insightful, though I admit; I did live with other luxuries. I had shelter, transport, and clean-drinking water, which is more that can be said for those living in poverty. I finished the challenge having raised $1,265, which placed me 82nd place out of roughly 9,000 participants. Thank you to those who took time out of their day to donate and support the challenge. The challenge takes place in May each year, and valuably provides children in poverty with educational opportunities and a chance to better their life.

artwork : KAZUKI KOMATSU

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lifestyle & innovation : food

Coffee, Cake and Conversation: Death Café Zac blue “The birthday party went off well, and no one died.” In the Parliament Café in St. Peters, a group sits amongst ageing novels and old skulls to talk about one thing: death. Come in for a coffee and you may overhear a few phrases you didn’t expect to be served with your afternoon beverage – organ donors, dead uncles lying on the dinner table, and funeral curtain malfunctions. I’m not a morbid person, yet there I was, sitting with a group of adults on a Saturday afternoon trading remarks on death, occasionally interrupted by an incessant and too loud coffee machine. The atmosphere was far more cheerful than I expected, and a lively audience of around 12 threw ideas at each other on the afterlife, rites of passage, grief, and burial. One lady reminisced on the traditions surrounding death in Italian culture, remembering how as a nine-year-old she had witnessed her family laying a dead relative on the dinner table for three days, with the household unable to cook or turn on appliances out of respect. Another woman spoke of her interaction with psychics and ‘feeling’ the presence of souls, motivating her belief in the afterlife. Sipping tea and talking about organ donation, a lady added above the

group, “I’ve donated my body to science and I think they’re just going to laugh!” A man who’s only came for a coffee seemed acutely aware of himself, struggling to make sense of the situation. Growing up, I wasn’t a stranger to death. When I was young I frequently attended funerals as a choirboy. Living on the farm, I’ve helped raise cattle to be sent to the abattoir, dug graves after rabbit shootings, killed snakes, seen foxes put down after poisoning. But the café wasn’t just a chat about death in general. People came to the meeting with a burning desire to ask about death. How does one cater for a loved one close to dying whilst not neglecting their own health? What ecofriendly alternatives are there to traditional burial? What if I need my organs in the afterlife? Attending the Death Café is not a morbid experience – it is fuelled by laughter and curiosity. Patrons come out focussed on making the most of their lives, not being afraid of, or shying from the idea that we all die. It’s a meeting built around acknowledging the existence of death, and removing the taboos around it.


Kiên Lê Board “Kiên, do you want to come with me to a death café?” Finally, the dream of every UTS student was coming true. Zachary Blue, famed poetry editor and all-star, Sydneybased rapper, was asking me on a date. “Wait, did you say death café?” * Turns out Zac was only in it for a Vertigo article. Typical. Slightly dispirited, I pushed open the door of the café and was immediately greeted by the convenor of the event. She didn’t look anything like how I had unfairly stereotyped her to look. No cat or cauldron in sight. No chanting, “one of us, one of us”, under her breath, either. Just a warm smile asking how I had heard about the Death Café. For a young person, there’s something cathartic about meeting people in a situation that has nothing to do with university study, work, or sport. After a round of introductions, we started talking. It reminded me of a book club where everyone gets a turn to share, and the discussion naturally developed from there. One of the topics we discussed was how we processed our first experiences with death. All I could really describe in my sharing time was the extreme puzzlement I felt at the very minute details that I had noted at a funeral service of a primary school acquaintance. How strange it felt to be singing a hymn with a gaggle of twelve-year-olds in a dusty church that, until that very moment, had meant nothing more to me than a community sausage sizzle.

The two hours at the Death Café really flew by for me. What struck me about the whole experience wasn’t what we talked about, but really the way the group approached talking to new people. These weren’t vague metaphorical musings on empty or distant concepts of mortality. These were real people, with a range of experiences. Bereavement counsellors, aged care workers, nurses – all people whose lives had intersection with death – were opening up in a small Newtown lounge room about how difficult it can be to talk to your parents about a funeral plan. Or how hard it can be to carry the three kilos worth of ashes (the average weight of a cremated person) home again to sprinkle on the backyard rosebush, and whether or not the neighbours would mind. In my experience, I have noticed a tendency in Australia to avoid conversations about death, or to not really engage with them past a perfunctory giggle. How weird or morbid must it be to think about what might happen if you die before your elderly parents and how they would have to change their life. These conversations are just as valid as any other, so why wait until people who matter to you have died to discuss them properly? Little postcards were given out at the end with the title “Coffee, Cake and Conversation” and a feedback form. Unlike most UTS feedback forms, I really jumped at the chance to write a review of the Death Café because I knew my time had been well spent. For more information about the Death Café and for upcoming events, visit their Facebook page: Death Café Marrickville.

artwork : Emiko Reed

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l i f e s t y l e & i n n o vat i o n : H E A LT H

Death with Dignity: Voluntary Euthanasia Ninah Kopel Birth and death are life’s most messy experiences, but Caroline Cox has never found them daunting. A midwife of 25 years, she spent her days delivering new life, until a rare neurological disease left her a quadriplegic and chronic pain sufferer. While Caroline never liked the way people died, she used to see voluntary euthanasia as a black and white issue: a way of giving terminal illness sufferers a dignified end. But with debilitating transverse myelitis, came new perspective on death. “My marriage broke down, I lost my career, I lost my ability to control my own bowel and bladder. I’ve now got to live with really chronic pain and so, there should come a point when I’ve had enough, and I’m tired of dealing with the pain and I’m finished my job in raising my children. I should be allowed to die by my choice,” Caroline says. While day-to-day life is a struggle, she takes joy in her daughters: 16 and 11 year old young women, who know for themselves a thing or two about birth and death. “I’m a midwife,” says Caroline, “so they’ve got their vaginal birth photos. They know how they were born, and their father was a forensic post-mortem technician. The childcare I used was on his work place site, so they’ve had their lunches in mortuaries. It’s just a part of their life.” While Caroline hopes she will live to see euthanasia legislated, she is resigned to the fact that she might have to end her life before it is. In 1995 the Northern Territory became the first jurisdiction in the world to allow euthanasia. Four people died under the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act, before the Federal Parliament passed a bill that ended the right of states and territories to make laws for the terminally ill.

Dr Philip Nitschke, or as he is better known, Doctor Death, assisted these people in their suicides in the 11 months it was legal for him to do so. But Nitschke, who is Director of Exit International, didn’t entirely stop this line of work afterwards, working to provide information and tools for those looking to end their lives peacefully. “I mean the best question that comes up all the time is, ‘how do I get hold of the best of the drugs, the Nembutal?’” Nitschke says. “And I give them an account of a situation where the wife of a very sick man in Sydney went off and had an affair with a vet so that she could get the drugs, and I often suggest to people that that might be a strategy they might like to consider.” It’s not hard to believe that someone who jokes about affairs with vets when discussing sickness and death isn’t exactly popular. So it’s unsurprising that in 2014 the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) suspended Nitschke’s medical license. They claimed he had counselled a depressed man to take his own life. Dr Nitschke’s medical license was reinstated last year, but the lift of his suspension depended on him meeting 26 conditions, including that he never gave advice or information about Nembutol. He burned his medical license in protest. For Caroline, Nitschke is “up there with Gough Whitlam”, and says Australia’s ban on Exit International’s The Peaceful Pill Handbook won’t hold her back. “I want that book because I can’t have it, you know what I mean? And I’m going to get it; it’s on its way in the post,” she says. You probably don’t realise just how easy it is to access end of life resources. A popular website selling nitrogen for beer brewery is a favourite, shipping nitrogen in Australia for $780 US.


Previously, people had been acquiring helium from a balloon inflation company, but when they started adding oxygen to their helium, they lost a portion of their client base. “Of course many people were using those kits to end their lives,” says Nitschke. “Now with 20 per cent oxygen that’s not a possibility. And so the search for a new alternative was set up.” And that alternative is nitrogen, for which Dr. Death claims there is an increasing demand. “There’s a lot of sales. I don’t want to quantify those sales because it will just alarm people. But there’s a lot,” he says. Dr. Sarah Edelman, Clinical Psychologist and President of Dying with Dignity New South Wales (DWD), has been involved in advocating for a change in legislation for over eight years, after she saw her aunt suffer and eventually die from breast cancer. Slowly, across the country, states are beginning to move towards legislating change. A bill is currently being debated in South Australia that would legalise voluntary euthanasia over seen by a medical professional, and Premier of that state, Jay Weatherill, has spoken in support of it. There is also a bill being debated in Tasmania, and a recent parliamentary inquiry in Victoria, recommended the introduction of legislation. But Dr Edelman isn’t convinced this will all eventuate in anything. “I’ve been involved in this movement for quite a few years now and I’ve learnt not to get my hopes up,” She says. But things “could turn around in the next few years.” One of the key arguments often brought up in debate is the idea of vulnerable people being taken advantage of. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Edelman gives no weight to this, saying it is, “a scare tactic which is really not supported by the

evidence. When you look at people who have accessed assisted dying over seas, they are hopelessly ill, much of the time they are terminally ill or dying and not that far from death anyway.” But not everyone takes this view. Paul Russel, Director of HOPE: Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide, says, “If there are people who are acting unethically at the moment, changing the law is not going to stop them.” Russel believes that no law is safe from abuse, and legislating euthanasia would not be an exception. “And we’re also incredibly concerned that this lack of safety does raise concerns for vulnerable people in our society,” says Russel. “Those that are charged by our government and our society to protect and they might find that they become vulnerable in some respect if euthanasia were to become law.” Caroline sees religion as the fundamental force behind the anti-euthanasia movement. She points out the people scattered around us in a Burwood café: a microcosm of Australia’s multicultural society, which Caroline provides as evidence to me that everyone is different, and entitled to make their own choices. But Russel doesn’t believe religion has a place in this debate: “I would agree, probably, that the majority of people who oppose [voluntary euthanasia] have some sort of religious view or some religious background of one kind or another, but not all of them. I don’t believe we should be arguing this in the public based on religious tenet,” he says. For now Caroline is focussing on raising her daughters, and taking life a day at a time. “Once everyone’s had their counselling and come to terms with the fact that my end is coming, it won’t be a shock,” says Caroline. “It will just be like ‘Well she did it her way,’ like Frank Sinatra’s song, you know?”

artwork : luke darcy

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lifestyle & innovation : SEX

Great Sexpectations Edition Three Aunt Agnes runs you through five sex positions inspired by the animal kingdom.

Animal Shapes with Agnes I don’t know about you, but I get antsy in missionary. Lying flat on my back with my toosh pressed into the mattress, my mind slips to other things, like how much a packet of Chang’s Noodles goes for these days - I like chocolate spiders (if you don’t know what these are, look them up on Google). Interestingly enough, it was while googling how to make small animals out of fondant for a jungle-themed birthday cake, that I discovered a web page entitled ‘Best Animal Positionz That Arent Just Dogy Style!!! (sic)’. It was a rather enlightening experience, and for your experimental pleasure, I have listed them here:

1. The Rabbit “Got buns?” How? Squat on top of your partner and bounce. Repeat. 2. The Spider “Eight legs of fun” How? Sit on your partner with your legs astride before slowly lowering yourself back to the bed. Great for when you’re too drunk to sit up. 3. The Tortoise “A shell of a good time” How? One person lies flat on their stomach with their legs closed, while the other lies on top of them and enters. Deep penetration 10/10. 4. The Kneeling Fox “Cause have you ever seen a fox stand up?” How? One person leans forwards on their hands and knees with their booty resting on their feet while the other grabs their waist and enters from behind. Foxy. 5. The Koala “Putting the ‘us’ in Eucalyptus” How? Take a slow jump at your partner, proceed to climb them like a tree, before falling asleep for approximately 22.5 hours. Refreshing.

ARTWORK : EDEN LIM


*Rear Window is Vertigo’s satire section, and it is not intended to be taken as seriously as other medications.


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rear window

Kieran Smith Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an emergency cabinet meeting today in an attempt to deal with the most pressing issue facing the nation: Arnott’s changing the flavour of Shapes. In a press statement released this morning, Mr. Turnbull said that the issue was of highest national importance, and indicated that the Government would be diverting all health and education funding to support the Change.org petition to bring back the original flavours. In a press conference called shortly after the end of the meeting, Mr. Turnbull expressed his shock at the decision made by Arnott’s, and reflected on enjoying the biscuits in his youth. “I, like many Australians, have enjoyed a tasty Shape biscuit with caviar before polo on a Sunday,” said Mr. Turnbull, before expressing genuine surprise and confusion that no one in the press gallery had shared his experience. Following the conclusion of the press conference, Mr. Turnbull unveiled the Coalition’s 2016 election campaign promise to ‘Bring Back Shapes’, delighting left-wing bloggers everywhere with the opportunity to joke about more three-word slogans.

A R T W O R K : K I M B E R LY L U O

When pressed for comment on how the backlash from the flavour change would likely affect their bottom line, head of Arnott’s Australia Warren Percival replied, “Our bottom line? We own all of the biscuits, fuckers!” He then laughed maniacally, and utilised an overcooked scotch finger as a battering ram to escape the media scrum. Vertigo is exclusively able to verify Mr. Percival’s claim, following a trip to the shops to buy Monte Carlos. Despite government intervention, the move has already had widespread national consequences, with the Business Council of Australia reporting major falls in productivity and a significant dwindling in the number of refugee boat arrivals. Recent arrival Ali Momani expressed his overwhelming shock upon reaching the now-desolate Australian shores, stating that he would have sought asylum in New Zealand had he realised that the savoury biscuit options were now so poor. In a rare moment of bi-partisanism, opposition leader Bill Shorten agreed that the Shapes issue was of highest national importance. He supported the Government by uploading a picture of himself with a box of new pizza Shapes, captioned “new flavours are yuk and crap you suk Arnotts”. So far the post has attracted over 300,000 likes.


Quality of Alcohol Taken Into Account

Chrs McKy From today, sentencing for alcohol-related crimes will take into account the quality of the alcohol involved, as part of a new State Government initiative to “class up the joint”. New South Wales Minister for Booze, Saccharine Volostock, announced at a press conference today that while supplying minors with cheap vodka and Cruisers will carry heavier punishments, introducing them to fine wines and spirits will be viewed more favourably.

It isn’t just supplying higher quality alcohol that will now be viewed more lightly. If an individual can prove that they were drinking a high quality vodka, rather than Smirnoff, it will be taken into account. Similarly, the tough legislation introduced to counter ‘king hits’, often renamed ‘coward punches’ in an attempt to symbolically affect change without actually doing anything about it, will not apply to individuals who are drunk on bourbon.

“Kids will be kids,” Volostock remarked, pausing to sip a bourbon old-fashioned. “You can’t beat them. It’s illegal. And while we certainly don’t want to be seen to be encouraging dangerous drinking behaviours, we believe strongly in encouraging the youth of Australia to think long and hard about our drinking culture. Namely, that many people choose to drink shitty beer rather than a smooth whiskey or refreshing gin and tonic.”

Volostock, however, warns that there are still exceptions, “I’ll be damned if I let someone drink Red Label and get away with a crime. If I had my way, Red Label would be banned outright. It’s more expensive than Monkey Shoulder – I just don’t understand the appeal…”

a r t w o r k : k i m b e r ly l u o

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rear window

A Modest Proposal

Tiernan Rennie One brisk morning in June I was making my way out the southern end of Central Station. I believe I was running late for work, thinking about the report going out that evening and not paying attention to the passersby. I came to the first set of lights and looked around while I waited to cross. Propped up against a garbage bin only a few feet away there was a man, head down, bearing a piece of cardboard that told of family trouble, child support and God bless. I’d been thumbing a dollar in my pocket mindlessly, and so dropped it in his jar to which he sputtered a wheezy thanks. I kept on walking, up into the thick of a Surry Hills, gradually being consumed by the new-guard of acai berry frappes and startups. I stopped in to get my morning coffee and asked what the special was; a halloumi stack with poached eggs, dukkah, quinoa, grated cucumber and carrot on either sprouted whole-wheat grain bread, or Iggy’s Sourdough. But that man sitting there, shredded clothing exposing lean ribs stayed with me... It was a tragedy to see such impoverishment in a city and a country of so much plenty. Here was a man stripped of his dignity, all he had left to his name being a tin, that cardboard and a blanket that he had been using as a pillow to sit on. Did anyone still know he existed? He almost certainly would have no identification, nor anyone he could

call on as friend or family. What would happen to him when the winter came? He didn’t seem to even have the trappings of those slightly better off, such as a sleeping bag, or a shopping trolley filled with scavenged blankets and newspapers. He might well be found dead under a bridge. And this was a man who had grown to probably thirty-five, been educated, worked, paid taxes; I couldn’t help but feel like it was all such a waste. Many more times I passed that same man and others of the disenfranchised homeless begging on the streets, but it wasn’t until almost a month after that first interaction that it came to me. In NSW alone there were just over 24,0001 who identified as homeless on the night of the 2014 census, each and every one of them could be desired, dignified and of worth to our society and those they love. Imagine the impact of removing over 100,0002 homeless persons Australia-wide from the burden of the public purse, giving them meaning, and an opportunity for purpose in their life! At an estimated $45,000 in services provided by the government, ($30,000 more per person than the average Australian) this could potentially free upwards of 3 billion dollars yearly to be better spent.


I propose that it’s quite feasible to remove the permanent insecurity of those living hand-to-mouth and in constant fear for where they might spend their next night. In doing so we would also finally end all the pointless debate and misappropriation of funds and work-hours by successive governments and scattered awareness groups, the cost of which is almost impossible to measure. Recently at an evening put on by Australian Geographic I bumped into explorer and journalist Paul Raffaele, who spoke extensively of the peoples in the deep Guinea jungle. He was particularly interested by the Korowai people, who were famed amongst those in the region for their strength, longevity and resistance to illness. Upon his arrival, he was shown their way of life, and documented in detail the source of their uncanny abilities. Rather than try to elongate the life and suffering of the individual, then as is inevitable, burn or bury their remains, they prepare them for a life after life. A ritual is performed, and a sedative plant mixture is given which quickly and painlessly stops the heart of the individual, at which point the body is prepared specifically in line with the particular characteristics of the deceased, and is promptly cooked as to avoid spoiling the gift that has been offered to them. They have developed means of smoking, poaching, boiling, and roasting that ensure that no part of the body goes to waste. It is considered to be a great honour and sombre parting ritual to be returned to the people, as it were. And this is without the many techniques and technologies that we have at our disposal here in Australia. Modern butchery would allow us to fry, slow-cook, and dry strips of meat as jerky; the liver might become patê and we could use unsalable bones as part of a bone-broth soup, or for specialty marrow. We could procure large racks of rib and bacon from the belly, and a whole leg or shoulder section might feed a gathering of up to ten people. The other advantage of our modern methods is that we may ensure 100 percent sanitation, and reduce the occurrence of transmissible diseases, if any.

(Homelessness-Australia 2014b) (Homelessness-Australia 2014a)

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artwork : eden lim

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I am certainly not suggesting that such a thing be taken lightly, nor should it, and at this point of adoption we have the opportunity to undertake the thing with all the weight and consideration appropriate to a nation of law and order as ours is. Indeed, the process can and should be heavily regulated, ensuring that there is fair market pricing, humane treatment, and quality certification for an industry that would otherwise be ripe for exploitation. Based on my research it is clear that as a product Ho-Bo is in keeping with all the latest food trends and advancements in nutrition: lean, high in natural energy and antioxidants, and organic, whilst also being ethically responsible as a certified single-origin, free-range and carbon-neutral product. The convergence of these traits puts Ho-Bo in great demand and makes it easily marketable as a superfood similar to goji or chia, ultimately increasing the commission for the individual, and thus tax revenue for the state. There is also the added benefit of significant variety. Within the homeless community 25% are Indigenous and 30% are born overseas, which in combination with differences in lifestyle and diet (from abstinence to full blown drug and alcohol addiction), allow for a whole basket of different flavours. Much like fine wine, it is imaginable that the rarer of these would fetch particularly attractive prices, with an obvious desire for yearling (<12yrs) and aged (>45yrs) options. In the case of Muslim or Jewish Homeless, we also might easily produce Halal or Kosher offerings respectively with the appropriate religious supervision. Let us take our man from earlier as an example, he was aged maybe thirty years, still a relatively young and supple offering, comparable to five year cellared Shiraz. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d guess heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d weigh 70 or so kilos, tall at six foot and change, and with reasonably healthy colour. Such a man might easily

be worth $250 per kilo wholesale, or more if biometric assessment indicates desirable aspects such as marbling. Once an agreement is reached (and for my purposes here I shall assume a total commission of $17,500), then a contract should be entered into, whereby the individual may choose to take the money upfront and do with it as they see fit during an agreed settlement period, or they may wish to bequeath the money partially or entirely to another. Or in the case of outstanding debts to the state, the relevant portion may be reclaimed. On top of this, payable by the producer/distributor, would come certain taxes and duties (35% for my hypothetical) as well as payments for certification ($1000 flat fee), to be agreed upon by the relevant government body(s). This totals $7125 of tax revenue for a single transaction, not to mention relevant trickle-ons to company tax, GST, and employment offerings. Furthermore, in the case that the individual wishes to take a single payout, the money will almost certainly go towards discretionary expenditure. If we take the above example to be an average case, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s at least $712.5 million dollars simply waiting to be employed, once again without factoring in any of the secondary increases or benefits. I imagine there are some who would believe this to be inhumane or unethical, however, it is clear that it resumes the dignity of the individual, and is no different from euthanasia of the unwell or comatose and certainly more merciful than a slow decline into disease and death. It puts the agency and power back into the hands of the individual, and gives them the option to take charge of their future and that of our nation.


artwork : andrew vuong

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Horoscopes by Peter aries /

Taurus /

Communication could take place subtly today. Instead of communicating verbally, try to use a complicated system of winking or telepathy. It’s a good idea to schedule an evening with a lover, being careful not to compromise the winking system.

You will be feeling particularly intuitive today, and will make a number of very serious accusations against friends and family. The resulting legal proceedings may halt or delay home repair plans you have made, especially anything involving a patio.

virgo /

cancer /

You generally enjoy philosophy, metaphysics, and other forms of higher thought, Virgo, but you need to stop telling strangers about them over the cubicle doors of public toilets.

Today, write a lengthy thesis and distribute it into mailboxes in your area. Start calling yourself ‘Professor’ and buy a large hat with the word PROFESSOR on it that you refuse to take off, even in the bath.

leo /

scorpio /

Changes in your immediate environment could bring new and exciting possibilities to you, specifically the possibility of a new pair of socks. This could be stressful; drink an especially cold drink to calm yourself down.

Be careful to keep your mind on the present moment. Do not read this horoscope if you are supposed to be performing open-heart surgery or piloting a helicopter. Remember that you have made these mistakes before.

libra /

gemini /

Spend time socialising today by joining a Celtic dancing class. This will improve your coordination, although you may find yourself too preoccupied by your growing obsession with staring at your own hand to perform to the best of your ability.

A group you’re associated with could meet today, without telling you the meeting is on. They are also going on holiday to Mexico without you. Console yourself by selecting a tree that appeals to you and writing a poem about it. The tree is your real friend.

Sagittarius /

Capricorn /

Contemplation is the word for today. While you are eating breakfast or soaking in the bath, take a couple of seconds to contemplate your favourite flavour of jam. Is it strawberry? If so, you are correct – congratulations.

You will receive a phone call from a friend, family member, loved one, colleague, or stranger today. Make sure you know what day of the week it is, because this is all they will be interested in asking you for.

Aquarius /

Pisces /

You are wise to keep everything you can’t manage at bay today – don’t try to drive a train, since you don’t have a license. Someone close to you, probably a property surveyor, could wake you up when you are oversleeping.

You might find yourself considering running in the election, having forgotten that the election has already happened. Never fear! With your natural drive you will easily adapt, and elect yourself as the leader of your own toothbrush. Do not take your responsibilities lightly.

a r t w o r k : m a r i a ya n o v s k y


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