Here is a typical, timeless complaint: nowadays we have lost the capacity to enjoy moments of calm or to engage in quiet contemplation. Bertrand Russell once wrote that children should be spared excessive trips to the theatre. Later it became comic books or pulp fiction. Then cinema and television. Then the internet. Now it is smartphones and the iPad.
It is hard to determine the veracity without having been there, but the tale is a good one. Guglielmo Marconi had a series of heart attacks in the mid 1930s – that much we know for sure. By this time, he was in his late fifties and an Italian hero: a pioneer of long-distance radio transmission, a statesman, a friend of Mussolini. Somewhere around the time of his fourth or fifth heart episode, so the story goes, Marconi became convinced that sounds live forever.
The Victorian government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence is currently under way, but no-one who works in the sector is expecting it to produce any new insights. ‘Domestic and family violence’ is, overwhelmingly, violence against women and children by men.
The most provocative cinema in 2015 gave us a multi-faceted profile of contemporary capitalism and its woes. Transcending popcorn escapism, these four films that reflect the lived effects of the economic and social structures of our day collectively make an impassioned claim: that something is ill about the state of the world.
In the area where I was born and raised, there is one remaining independent art school. This is because of the restructuring of Australian art schools that happened almost thirty years ago, a process that saw most independent institutions affiliate themselves with the major universities. The mergers, part of a reform policy by federal education minister John Dawkins, aimed to heighten the ‘international competitiveness’ and ‘national economic development’ of the tertiary education sector, and came just after free education was abolished in 1989.