Five years have passed since an Aboriginal voice was at the centre of exhibitions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and ceremonial practice at the NGV, when Yamatji curator Stephen Gilchrist worked at the gallery (2005-10). He recently wrote about the potential strength of an art institution when Indigenous perspectives inform the way it operates, going beyond ‘us vs them’ scenarios to create ‘culturally resonant’ spaces that can attract and interest multiethnic Australian audiences.
It hardly goes without saying that such moral disengagement is a characteristic feature of Abbott’s style of rule, though in all fairness it is hardly unique to him. It is this that is lost when his actions are attributed to stupidity rather than duplicity. He is, after all, the protege of former PM John Howard, who used the ‘ancient fantasy’ to devastating effect during such events as the Tampa crisis and the children overboard affair as an ideological safety value for weaseling out of all the harmful consequences of three decades of neoliberal policies.
For Feminist Frequency, non-violence in games is about ‘what’s possible when games approach human experience through a lens of empathy rather than one of violence’. But I strongly disagree with this idea: most violent acts in games are inherently empathic within a particular framework – you are fighting for your side (whichever side that is), and many games even allow a degree of choice in that fight, depending on your own moral framework.
Take the spoils and leave the debts. In other words, let’s fly the Confederate flag, but refuse to have a conversation about reparations or affirmative action. Let’s have hundreds of Confederate memorials, and not one museum dedicated to slavery. Let’s all read Gone with the Wind, but ignore the convict lease system that locked African Americans into unpaid labour in the aftermath of slavery.
The stories Devine herself relates about gender, race and class speak to our contemporary, paradoxical moment: we are in an increasingly conservative Australia within a world where feminist thought – though not without compromise – is becoming increasingly mainstream. Devine, a conservative woman with a politics deeply complicated by her feminine subjectivity, is perfectly placed to articulate the profound traumas of contemporary Australian gender politics.