We were throwing around ideas for an exhibition at a recent Christmas party, and I put ‘Fact or Fiction’ into the mix. But in the general din of a lunchtime pub my friend Zela heard ‘Fat Girl Fiction’ instead. And so an idea was born for a new zine. A place to write ridiculous things or to be serious about serious matters. It’s for writing, micro stories in text or comic format with maybe a few cartoons thrown in. Here’s the cover of the very first edition.
For a change of pace from learning programming (still) I’m doing a graphic illustration course with Junichi Tsuneoka from the Cornish College of Arts. It’s been a great break from the keyboard and screen, sitting in my studio listening to the radio and wielding a pen. I’d almost forgotten the meditative power of drawing just for nothing much in particular, just drawing. First exercise – a self portrait with different line weights, textures and at least 3 repeated shapes. I know I look incredibly solemn and foreboding. It’s because the only way to draw myself is to stand in the studio bathroom in front of the small shaving mirror with a sketchbook and pen. Which means I need my glasses to see the sketchbook and no glasses to see in the mirror. Not a good look.
Second exercise a narrative self portrait. I found this hard. What to include that says who/what I am. In the end it was family, gym, swimming, and computer, with a few flowers thrown in because it’s Spring in the gardens.
I’m looking forward to the rest of this course, and will post more work as it progresses.
I attended the Queensland Arts Advocacy Group forum on Thursday via webinar. If you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that a mini forum chatters away behind the real life conference, commenting on the speakers and the issues and adding their voice to the on-line forum.
The introduction to the forum supported a bi-partisan (meaning non-political?) approach to arts advocacy, although given that the arts is still reeling from Liberal Govt policies at State and Federal government this might be hard to achieve.
Half way through Thursday’s webinar someone asked ‘how much involvement does the Arts Party have in this group?’ I was wondering the same thing, because in the on-line version of the forum, right from the start, there was an aggressive sell of the Arts Party as THE advocate for the arts. A subtle undermining of the purpose of the forum.
On the surface a party that supports and advocates for creativity, cultural activity, and more arts education and funding might seem a good thing. It’s something I can agree with, something I care about. So what’s wrong with it?
Way back in the 1960’s I joined the Australia Party, and then when it morphed into the Democrats in the 1970’s I campaigned for them too. In the 80’s I joined the fledgling Greens movement. I saw it as a way of recognizing the biggest issue facing the World and giving my support to those who cared about the environment.
The trouble with burning issue parties is that if and when they do get some seats in Parliament they have to broaden policies away from the narrow issues that brought them into existence, especially if they hold the balance of power, or are part of a block that holds the balance of power. A recent example is the Senate Motoring Enthusiast Party member.
Ricky Muir may have set up his party to further the interests of motoring enthusiasts, but by being elected to parliament he is in a position where he has to make decisions on other major issues facing the whole country. The people who voted for him might have thought they were supporting motoring enthusiasts, but in reality they were giving a powerful political position to a party or a person whose broader views they really didn’t know.
I still care deeply about environmental issues, but I don’t vote Green, because I don’t agree with their stance on many other issues. I’ve come to the conclusion that single issue parties don’t fit well in our political system. We need to either change the system or be more wary of giving power to minority groups and independents.
On the surface the Arts Party looks like a great deal for those who have an interest in lobbying the government about investment and support for the arts. They say they will field Senate candidates at the next election. What then if one or two members are elected?
It’s possible they could hold the balance of power. It’s possible they will be making decisions about budgets, pensions, family payments, defence, infrastructure projects, health, education and foreign policy. But as far as I can see, on their website, they are a single issue party. Which is why I am afraid.
As an aficionado of virtual worlds, MOOCS and multi player on-line gaming environments participating in five or six text conversations while watching television, filling out my tax forms, moving an avatar around on screen and doing some 3D building on the side is not a big ask.
A webinar meeting should be just as easy. Modern technology gives us the ability to be there and particiapte. Sort of.
The trouble is I am out here in the sticks with a bleary wobbly picture of vague shapes and colours streamed imperfectly over the third world speed internet which is your lot if you live outside the city and not in a marginal electorate.
Maybe the real world presenters don’t realise that the white board they are using to record pertinent points is a tiny blurry cluster of pale pixels for us, and the large sheets of butchers paper they are waving around and inviting us to read look like flying doves they have just produced from under their hat. WAS that a hat or did he just have a lot of hair? It was hard to tell.
We have technology like electronic whiteboards and links to handouts etc. It should be used.
If the picture is wobbly there’s sound to fall back on isn’t there? Well, yes, sort of. But until the speakers learn how to effectively use a microphone a lot of the proceeds sound like the auditorium and the speaker are gurgling their way through a sudden flood.
A good presenter for a webinar is one who stands behind a fixed microphone at a lectern, who doesn’t gesture or EVER move their head in any direction, who stares woodenly ahead and speaks clearly into the microphone. Not many presenters see themselves as wanting to live up to this standard. They like to wander around and gesture and look down at their notes and around at the person behind them.
Behind the physical meeting place, a webinar is like those ‘worms’ used in political debates. There’s an undercurrent of conversation that rises and falls depending on whether we can actually hear the speaker or just a few words once in a while when they remember to speak into the microphone or whether what the speaker is saying is actually engaging. It’s a little mini conference going on in the background. People with their own agendas to push, comments to make, discussion, agreement and disagreement. Sometimes it’s more fun than the actual conference.
In fact, most times it’s more fun.
Today I attended the first meeting of QAAG via webinar, participated in the discussions, said too much as usual, and while I attended also did some yoga, edited some videos, posted on Facebook, talked on WhatsApp, checked my emails, created some animations, edited some images in Photoshop, went for a walk in the local park at morning tea time, and became afraid of the Arts Party.
Whether QAAG becomes a force for good in the Qld. Arts sector or not remains to be seen. Right now I don’t think there’s a clear idea about who they will be advocating for (because of course advocacy implies you are doing on ‘behalf’ of someone or some principle), nor about what they will advocate for (advocacy implies a goal, a desired result) . Today’s forum showed just how broad and diverse ‘the arts’ sector is, that it is a disparate group with different needs, agendas and priorities, and that there is competition between opposing points of view. I guess it is ‘Watch this Space’ for now.
My thanks to Scotia Monkivitch for her patient and tireless coordination of the webinar.
Great little app. that can get some pretty good animations as well as make gifs. I’ll be interested to see how quickly 13-18 year olds can pick it up. I found the interface pretty intuitive and easy to understand.