‘Sinophobia never went away in Australia. Colonisation never ended. Racists might sometimes shift their focus but it’s the same lens. Maybe now it’s our turn in the crosshairs again. But we’re in all the water, treading furiously while trying to turn off the tap, here, there, and everywhere.’
In April, Emma Thomson from Correspondences asked me to be part of a project reflecting on escalating racism against Asian Australians and the themes of Lisel Mueller’s poem, ‘Immortality’. I said yes and I wrote these reflections in May and June. Now they feel like time capsules as every month of this year introduces another world entirely. You can read or listen to my pieces at the link above or visit the viewing room for the whole project here, which includes work by Kuang Zai, Selina Lo, Eileen Chong, and Ouyang Yu.
‘Artists are in a constant state of precarity and crisis. For many of us, there’s nothing to return to, nothing to recover. The status quo is already broken. It’s an empty bowl – with a smear of racism, sexism and ableism to boot.’
On Thursday, I’ll be chatting about online and offline communities with Pauline Vetuna and Huna Amweero in a live event hosted by Areej Nur. It’s part of BLEED, a new festival from Arts House and Campbelltown Arts Centre. The talk is via Zoom so you can attend from anywhere in the world but you need to register.
Underfoot presents four virtual audio tours through Footscray’s past. Liz and I bring an intimate lens to local history as we wander the streets and the archives looking for people like us: queers, migrants, radicals and artists. There are some big conversations about capitalism, nationalism and settler nativism, as well as some finely aged gossip.
Each track comes with a map, transcript, photos and notes so you can either explore these places in real life (observing social distancing!) or just enjoy the stories while staying home. You can even dive into some historical research yourself if you’re so inclined.
‘Unlike the pandemic, the playlist doesn’t have a case definition or an epicentre. It’s just an endless filament of sound, the connections between the tracks both tenuous and elemental. It’s as open-ended as Chineseness could be.’
Hopefully it’s a useful resource for artists, venues, publicists and commissioning editors to access a wider pool of critics. You can view the spreadsheet here. Please share with all your critically-minded mates.