Tag Archive: space


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Rubem Alves tells a story of a spider, safe and happy over empty space – building her house – no hesitation and with precision. Fragile yet perfect, symmetrical, beautiful, fit to its purpose.     “…I did not see her first move, the move which was the beginning of the web, the leap into the void…” (p.3)

What the spider needs to fulfil her intention is within her body. “Her body knows, her body remembers. But we have forgotten it.” (p.4)

Rubem Alves tells a story of a boy who found the body of a dead man
washed up on the edge of a seaside village.

There is only one thing to do with the dead: they must be buried.

In that village it was the custom for the women to prepare the dead for burial,
so the women began to clean the body in preparation for the funeral.
As they did, the women began to talk and
ponder about the dead stranger.

He was tall… and would have had to duck his head to enter their houses.
His voice… was it like a whisper or like thunder.
His hands… they were big. Did they play with children
or sail the seas or know how to caress and embrace a woman’s body.

The women laughed
“and were surprised as they realised that the funeral had become resurrection:
a moment in their flesh, dreams, long believed to be dead,
returning… their bodies alive again”. (p.24)

The husbands, waiting outside, and watching what was happening,
became jealous of the drowned man
as they realised he had power which they did not have.

And they thought about the dreams they had never had…

Alves ends this part of the story by telling that they finally buried the dead man.
But the village was never the same again.

“The dead man did not say one single word.
He was full of silence.
And his silence was the space of remembrance.
His dead body was full of their lost memories…” (p.31)

“Hoc est corpus meum. This is the bit of my flesh which became alive again by the power of the silence of this dead man…

What are we without the help of that which does not exist? – Valerie”  (p.35)

Acts 17:22-31

Then Paul stood in front of the Areopagus and said, “Athenians, I see how extremely religious you are in every way. For as I went through the city and looked carefully at the objects of your worship, I found among them an altar with the inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mortals life and breath and all things. From one ancestor he made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him—though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring.’

Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will have the world judged in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

(NRSV)

Reading 1: (Read through twice) What word or passage touches/speaks to you?

Reading 2: How does this word/passage touch your life/experience?

Reading 3: How are we called into being/doing by this word/passage?

 

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Panel: Nayuka Gorrie, Areej Nur, Meelee Soorkia, Namila Benson

 

I wrote a book. It brought together other women like me.
I was not ‘other’ anymore.

Meelee Sorkia

Those pink pussy beanies at the Women’s March,
as a black, trans, feminist – what is my “in”?
White women can assume they’re your ally
but I might identify with other labels more.

Nayuka Gorrie

There is such silencing and erasure of women of colour.
Constantly thinking about ‘how do I put myself forward’ in a space?

Namila Benson

There a tenets of of feminism that are important.  Living that and being active in it is really important. We need paid opportunities, spaces that are ‘ours’ to help others out – support, build up, encourage other women of colour. Building and supporting other women in my community is my priority. I’m not interested in helping white women.

Areej Nur

Do the work.  What role do you have?
What opportunities do you have that other women don’t?
Please be self aware.

Meelee Sorkia

Just listening instead of defensive, derailing, silencing. Take up the generous labour of being in the space. Take advantage of the chance to learn something. Know your place. That’s it: Listening and give space. It’s fatiguing [to keep explaining].

Namila Benson

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Panel: Chi Vu, Amos Gebhardt, Candy Bowers, Lisa French

Writers are men, Directors are men. I realised ‘That’s where the influence is’. No one asked me to audition for those roles… I had to write my own where black characters are at the centre – not “other” or sidelined… sick of the male storyline, had it for 100 years, can we hear 100 years of women’s stories now?

Candy Bowers

Have to resist the ‘gaze’.  Hollywood is the value-driver of who we are to love, to empathise with, who to victimise, who to villainise… there’s a distance from male/female to this non-conforming space. You can have a binary conversation about art-making. Alternative gaze: all women, women of colour, all oppressed by these stories… perspective as an artist is gender fluid.

Amos Gebhardt

I’m Vietnamese. I was born here but Vietnamese is my first language.  I was thinking and dreaming in Vietnamese until I was 12.  I’m bilingual, not two monolingual languages in one person.

Chi Vu

We know the tropes of the male gaze. Their product and process… set, thinking, psychology… very fast. That’s male. It would be great to see something more embodied, with more emotionality, given space.

Amos Gebhardt

Female gaze can be a starting point – not codifed though – but to open space for exploring other view points. Where there is a minor character we are invited to dislike, someone else liking them draws you closer to them… the audience member flips perspective.  The “alternative gaze” is not a fixed gaze but fluid.

Chi Vu

Of those coming through NADA 90% are white.
How do we create beyond our colonisation?
We’re yet to see the fullness of what’s possible.

Candy Bowers

I know this movie was directed by a woman because my emotions are being prioritised over what’s getting done.

Lisa French

When we create new worlds we can create safety. [eg. sci-fi/fantasy]
Allows space to take greater aesthetic risk – culture, gender, etc…

Chi Vu

This  is what success looks like: I’m the only black woman in the room.  Wardrobe can’t do my hair and makeup. We need cultural safety and support.  I need people expert in ‘me’ around me.
When it’s there… feel more free.

Candy Bowers

Language exists in a moment.  Not forever.
Female and Asian… don’t always want that label.

Chi Vu

Feel held if filmmaker is listening.
Spiritual dimension and depth of characters on screen.

Amos Gebhardt

Fear and freedom.  We’re all trying to get a gold star.
It’s a risk to try something new. In the end the final panel is 4 white men.  Don’t want to have to try and impress them anymore.
Activism is built into the struggle.

Candy Bowers

There are different well-worn roads, the Hollywood Highway.
Going a different way there can be a small or no path.
It takes longer. There is no one around you.
If you’re lucky, you might meet someone else stumbling around,
then it might go faster. It takes courage to go off the path.

Chi Vu

The female gaze is the collection of all other gazes.

Lisa French

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West Writers Festival Artwork by Aysha Tea

When they speak, it is scientific; when we speak, it is unscientific;
When they speak, it is universal; when we speak, it is specific;
When they speak, it is objective; when we speak, it is subjective;
When they speak, it is neutral; when we speak, it is personal;
When they speak, it is rational; when we speak, it is emotional;
When they speak, it is impartial; when we speak, it is partial;
When they speak, they have facts; when we speak, we have opinions;
When they speak, they have knowledge; when we speak, we have experiences.
These are not simple semantic categorizations; they possess a dimension of power that maintains hierarchical positions. We are not dealing here with simple semantic, but rather with a violent hierarchy, which defines who can speak.

Grada Kilomba

Epistemic struggle

  • imperial based identity
  • colonised
  • don’t think of themselves as “indigenous”, they don’t need to
  • needs to critique; not only the centre but different voices (otherwise issues remain invisible)
  • speak to defining powers
  • theorising as a community member not for. Invited to participate for skills not your cultural identity.
  • protect space – doesn’t respect all knowledge and doesn’t deserve all knowledge

 

Decolonising the Narrative

Characteristics

  • is an epistemic struggle
  • not answering set questions, it sets the questions
  • changes terms of the enunciation/conversation
  • process not fixed point
  • creates pluriversality, rather than universality
  • makes visible the epistemological zero-point*

 

* EPISTEMOLOGICAL ZERO-POINT “Europeans are people who do not know their place because they have not explored it yet. People living there have situated knowledge and knowledge grounded in their experiences… Operating under the hubris of zero-point blinds you to the fact that other people, with their own existence and knowledges, do not have the same problems that you have and therefore could care less about your knowledge, until the moment that you impose it on them and tell them they do not know about themselves what you know about them.  You conclude that they are inferior and ignorant, that their reasoning is defective, that their sense of beautiful doesn’t exist. You do not stop to think that they are as ignorant of your interests and values as you are of theirs. However, you assume you “know” them because you describe them and include them in your system of knowledge and in your epistemic architectonic.” – Walter Mignolo

example:

“What are you?”

 “I’m Vietnamese. What are you?”

“Nothing”

Vietnamese can’t be “nothing” without white people. White is the canvas of the world.

Who has the imperial power to “welcome”? We need to decolonise our aesthetic.  Initiatives must critique to be de-colonising.

e.g. “Real Australians say welcome” – posters do not critique or #RefugeesWelcome these are not decolonising initiatives.

 

Walter Mignolo on Decolonial Thinking

  • who is the knowing subject? What is his/her material apparatus on enunciation? (Who gets to say who can speak or when?) Construction of visibility.
  • what kind of knowledge/understanding is s/he engaged in generating, and why?
  • who is benefitting or taking advantage of such-and-such knowledge or understanding
  • what institutions (universities, media, foundations, corporations) are supporting and encouraging such knowledge and understanding e.g. Rhodes scholars – took the statue down. Yale cafeteria staff smashed a window depicting slaves.

 

Being an advocate is speaking to my cohort…
awareness brings change

 

 

 

We are all too small

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we are all too small
we cannot fathom
the entirety of You
or know Your ways
we want to understand
the meaning of all of this
all there is
is finding space
to live with
some of the
fog of unknowing
softening the harsh
light and life
diffusing
grace

Talitha Fraser

ssh…

135

ssh… ssh… ssh…
the sea soothes
ssh… ssh… ssh…
the sea moves
ssh… ssh… ssh…
the moving sea soothes
ssh… ssh… ssh…
the soothing sea moves
ssh…
ssh…
ssh…

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Eco-cosm

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This discipleship, or growing up, or whatever you want to call it is the process of discovering and defining our own ecocosm.  Each book of spirituality invites me to visit other peoples’ ecocosms and this is useful in as much as it assists with the awareness and structuring of my own.  This is where churches suit or not, where communities thrive or not… space needs to be allowed/created for the expression and fuelling of our individual ecocosms. In knowing others better I know myself and this is the strongest recommendation I can make for living in community.  In clarifying all the ways that I can understand 1-am-not-you, I can be affirmed in all the ways-I-can-be-my-best-self. We are each of us individually knitted in the womb, the hairs on our head counted, each of us made by God, each of us co-creators with God. Walk the path set before you to walk.  God is with you exactly where you are right now.  God has put people around you who need you, God has put people around you who can help you, inspire you, teach you… Ask always “What is the next step?” What is your leading edge? Our God moves and invites us to walk along the Way.  Pray “Here I am send me” and take a copy of Dr Seuss’s ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’ because it’s the closest thing to a handbook there is.  I’m a Type 2 in the Enneagram, I am INFJ in Myers-Briggs, my top 5 in Strengths Finder are: Belief, Restoration, Responsibility, Individualisation and Strategy, I am single in a world where marriage is the dominant culture, I am a woman in a male-dominated culture, I am mad in several specific but (hopefully) endearing ways and a product of my family of origin and the sum of all my life experiences to date.  I am my own ecocosm.  I need to own my own ecocosm.  No one else will tend it for me. I need to consciously tend my ecocosm – who can I meet up with? what can I read? where can I travel? how can I see anew, with new eyes, those familiar things that are so easy to take for granted or become complacent about the vital life breath of why-I-am? This might be right within the four walls of exactly, specifically, particularly where I am right now.  There is a story of an American Indian elder speaking with his grandson:

“…there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

i tell you arise