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Protester in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, 27th April 2017, West Bank (smile), Anti-government protester in Manila, 23rd July 2018, Philippines (tears), Anti-fascist protester against alt-right in Charlottesville, 12th August 2017, USA (safety glasses), Leonardo Bravo statue used to protest air pollution in Mexico City, 29th February 2012, Mexico (statue with mask), Protesters against the badger cull in London, 22nd September 2018, England (three badgers), PETA advocate protesting at Fashion Week in NYC, 14th September 2010, USA (zebra face-paint), Mask used in sign to protest NHS cuts in London, 4th March 2017, England (Darth Vader), Anti-president protesters in New York, 18th February 2017, USA (spiky crown and Abram Lincoln), Protester against the expansion of Israeli territory and in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Jails, 6th June 2014, Palestine (striped shirt with skull mask), Animal rights activists against laboratory breeding in Strasbourg, 22nd October 2017, France (monkey with bars), ‘Unite the Right’ counter-protester from ‘Black Lives Matter’ in Charlottesville 12th August 2017, USA (shackles), Anti-KKK protester in Dayton Ohio, 26th May 2019, USA (necklaces), Protester against shale gas in Sofia, 26th November 2011, Bulgaria(drawn skull), ‘People in Purple’ protest at Silvio Berlusconi’s trial in Rome, 27th February 2010, Italy (holding ball), Protester against the sale of radioactive lamb, 1986, UK (sheep), Anti (Iraq) war protester in Washington DC , 21st March 2009, USA (skull liberty), Protester against Juggalos being labeled as a gang, 16th September 2017,Washington DC, USA (tongue out), Right-wing protester against Prime Minster Romano Prodi, 13th October 2007, Italy (hand to nose in stripes), Protester at G8 summit in Enniskillenin, 17th June 2013, Northern Ireland
(match-stick), Anti-government protester in Caracas, 23rd January 2019, Venezuela (knitted Mickey), Protester against austerity in Athens outside parliament, 1st December 2011, Greece (paper in lap), Protesters against the racist celebration of Saint Nicholas in Zaandam, 17th November 2018, (black face-paint eye-mask with beard) Netherlands, Government budget protesters in London, 22nd November 2017, England (Teresa May paper mask), Protester for peace in disputed housing ownership in Jerusalem, 25th December 2009, Israel (white gun), Anti-Nixon demonstrators at the White House, Washington, DC, 22nd October 1973 (Nixon), Anti-government and World Cup protester in Rio de Janerio12th June 2014, Brazil (Batman), Performer supports protestors against police brutality in Taksim Square in Istanbul, 5th June 2013 (miming gun being shot), Protesters against the use of animals in circuses, 12th April 2018, France (shackled animals), Protester for PETA against animals in zoos, 15th July 2010, Dubai (striped monkey), Protester against the racist celebration of Saint Nicholas in Zaandam, 17th November 2018, (black face-paint eye-mask with dreads) Netherlands, ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protester raising awareness around climate change, 23rd April 2019, England (rabbit), Millions Mask March in Washington DC, 5th November 2016, USA (black mask), Protester against government council members theft of tax payer money, 11th March 2010, England (pig), Protester against college loan debit at Occupy DC, 1st February 2012, USA (mortarboard), May Day protest banner in New York, 1st May 2018, USA (‘Stop financing…’), Protester against government corruption, Rio De Janeiro, 17th March 2016, Brazil (striped beanie), Anti-government and anti-labor reform law protester, South Korea, 5th December 2015 (black cross on mouth and black hoodie), Protester against the killing of Osama bin Laden, 6th May 2011, England (phone camera), Protesters against Armenia government’s imprisonments of opposition members in 2008, 19th October 2010 (behind bars), Black Bloc protesting in Rio De Janerio, 7th September 2013, Brazil (arms linked), ‘Climate Change March’ participant in London, 29th November 2015, USA (pelican), Student protester against outdated education reform in Santiago, 10th June 2015, Chile (black eyes face-paint), ‘Extinction Rebellion’ protesters shirt, 15th May 2019, Norway (bat fabric), Protester at Global Climate March, 29th November 2015, Mexico (spotted hawk), Protester against censorship, government corruption, and police brutality, 5th November 2016, Amsterdam (peace sign fingers), Greenpeace activists against air pollution in London, 20th April 2016, England (statue with shield), Protester against the Michael Brown verdict in NYC, 1st December 2014,USA (‘All power…’), Protester in solidarity with jailed activists (Abdel Hadi Khawaja and Nabeel Rajab), 17th May 2012, Bahrain (two hands to mask), Anti-government ‘Red Shirt’ protester, 7th June 2010, Thailand (B&W cobweb), Protesters for affordable public transport in Sao Paulo, 12th January 2016, Brazil (horns mask), African immigrant protesting deportation, 26th February 2018, Israeli (white face-paint), Animal right activists in Washington DC, 24th January 2018, USA (mouse), Farmer protesting higher taxes in Athens, 8th March 2017, Greece (white face-paint sunglasses), Protester against Israeli occupation in Bethlehem, October-December 2015, Palestine (smokey gas mask), Anti-bullfighting protester in Mexico City, 20th September 2016, Mexico (black mask red tears), Anarchist against the 1968 student massacre in Zocalo square, 2nd October 2015, Mexico (studded jacket), Protester against Electoral fraud and government corruption in Kisumu, 16th October 2017, Kenya (screaming gorilla), Protester demanding the jail release of Yulia Tymoshenko after a health scare, 28th March 2012, Ukrainian (scream mask), Protester for ‘Black Lives Matter’ in Chicago, 11th July 2016, USA (#BLM), ‘School Strike 4 Climate’ protester in Budapest, 25th March 2019, Hungry (polar bear on shoulders), Student protester against the Spanish government blocking the vote for independence in Catalonia, 8th October 2014, Barcelona (cross over plain white mask), Protester against Donald Trumps visit to the United Kingdom, 16th July 2018, England (pointed hair), Anti-government protesters, 10th August 2019, Hong Kong (bike helmet), Protester against proposed cull of badgers in London, 1st June 2013, England (jolly roger on furry hat), Protester against ‘Stars Earn Stripes’ reality TV show in NYC, 13th August 2012, USA
(back of stripped shirt), Protester against coal plant in Nairobi, 5th June 2018, Kenya (‘deCOALonize’), Greenpeace activists against air pollution in London, 20th April 2016, England (sitting statue), Anti-corruption protester against President Dilma Rousseff’s government, 15th March 2015, Brazil (dollar bills in hand), Protester for clean energy at United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, 9th December 2015, France (Storm trooper), Free speech protester at University of California Berkley, 27th April 2017, USA (skull helmet), Anti-government protester outside the Ministry of Defense in Cairo, 30th April 2012, Egypt (keffiyeh over head), Labor law protester in Paris, 14th June 2016, France (silver scream with teeth), Russian Young Guard member protesting Mikhail Saakashvili (Georgian President) 2nd October 2006, Moscow (vertical stripe prison uniform), A protester against the jailing of Alexei Navalny, 18th July 2013, Russia (open mouth with two hands), Anarchist at RNC in Cleveland, 19th July 2016, USA (paisley bandanna), Protesting at G20, Toronto, 26th June 2010 (goggles), (goggles on head two hands smashing), A sign by a protester against an employment redundancy plan in Madrid, 27th March 2014, Spain (‘$’ Skull), Protester at the ‘Global Climate March’, 29th November 2015, Mexico (Panda), PETA protester against fur used in fashion, 11th September 2014, UK (fluffy bunny), G-8 protester in Calgary, 26th June 2002, Canada (lace umbrella), ‘Anonymous’ protester against Scientology in Millennium Park Chicago, 10th October 2009, USA (half-mask white), Student protester against the Spanish government blocking the vote for independence in Catalonia, 8th October 2014, Barcelona (cross over plain white mask), Protester against the holding of Palestinians in Israeli jails in the Gaza Strip, 16th April 2013, Palestine (customized scream mask x 3).
Digital photo collage, 190cm (unframed), 2020. Commissioned by Antidote Projects, 2020
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BY ISABELLE HORE-THORBURN
It’s been a big year (already) for bad people making good films, and the most recent Oscars was the locus of that tension. The sad poetics of Brie Larson awarding Casey Affleck his Oscar award jarringly articulated the strange hypocrisy of Hollywood’s obsession with sexual violence as a plot device and its inability (or unwillingness) to combat it as an industry problem. It’s not only film executives, but people at every level of the industry (Meryl Streep!) who ignore the crimes and behaviour of men like Bernado Bertolucci and Roman Polanski; men who abuse their power to intimidate, degrade and violate their female colleagues.
The fact that these individuals continue to be celebrated and rewarded sends an unsettling message to women in cinema, namely that the art created by their aggressor is of more value to the Academy than their own safety. Broadly speaking, it seems that Hollywood continually justifies the separation of the art from the artist; to try to find a work that is untainted by sexual violence in a patriarchal society would be futile. Indeed, it would vastly limit the pool of Oscar contenders to do so.
This argument is emboldened by Kant’s aesthetic theory, and subsequent art movements like aestheticism and formalism. In his essay Art and Ethical Criticism: An Overview of Recent Directions of Research, Noel Carroll identifies the “effective moratorium on ethical criticism in philosophical theories of art”. This moratorium is particularly helpful if you want the art that you make to be lauded by the Academy, but you also want to sexually harass people in the process of creating it. It is interesting, though perhaps not surprising, that this logic only extends to straight white men. The reception of African American film maker Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation was framed as an explicitly moral issue – critics talked about whether or not they would go to see it because of rape allegations leveled against the director in 1999. The crime of the artist does not seem to be collapsed with the art for white filmmakers – Blue Jasmine is a discrete work that is critically acclaimed because of Cate Blanchett’s incredible performance, regardless of whether the film’s director Woody Allen sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.
As a feminist, or even as a human being, it can be difficult to evaluate the implications of the art that you choose to consume, and how you should consume cinema in “good” conscience. This week on Agenda, we spoke to writer and film critic Lauren Carroll Harris, who has written extensively on Screen Australia’s gender policy. She explained that the film industry’s pervasive sexism is not simply a question of consumption. In an article for The Guardian last year, she noted:
“The Australian film industry is government subsidised. That means policy can be enacted right now to correct gender discrimination – and it is fully within the remit of Screen Australia to only fund projects that employ women in key creative positions equally”.
Part of addressing the rampant sexism in cinema is to correct the gender imbalance at all levels of the film industry. As Lauren explained, this cannot only happen through the strategic consumption of films, but has to also come from pressure on governments to implement “mandatory quotas, not optional targets, to ensure that male-dominated projects do not automatically receive the majority of public funding”.
Beyond policy changes, perhaps we should stop validating those institutions that would protect the Casey Afflecks of the industry and take heed of Solange to:
“create your own committees, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself, and be the gold you wanna hold my g’s”
— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) February 13, 2017
Image by Kevin Banatte: https://www.instagram.com/p/
BY KATIE WINTEN AND ISABELLE HORE-THORBURN OF WOMEN IN THE ARTS
It’s been a big start to the year for political upheaval, activism and feminism. It feels like we’re in a singular and potentially very important period where many of us are confronting some of our assumptions about our own political identities and the efficacy of protest. While on one hand we have Trump fatigue, on the other we can never be doing enough. It seems like every podcast we listen to, every article we read and every social media update we see is about Trump (which is not to say that people shouldn’t be talking about it). The question is – where do we go from here?
The Women’s March on Washington on January 21st following Trump’s inauguration was one of the largest demonstrations in US history, with Australian marches taking place in solidarity in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Australians have also just had the Invasion Day March on January 26th, which grew from a few hundred participants in Sydney last year to a few thousand this year. Something we’ve been wondering is whether that growth reflects a broader movement of increasing political engagement, as well as a growing capacity to empathise with intersections of oppressions outside of your own experience.
While these demonstrations invoke an important sense of community and awareness, we’ve also been wondering who doesn’t go to the protests and whose voices are erased from these movements. Feminism has a long history of recreating oppressive patriarchal structures. While The Women’s March had an inclusive and quite coherent message, it was still dominated by pink pussy hats and subsequently treated with caution and apprehension by many. Many museums and libraries in the U.S. collected the Women’s March protest signs and ephemera to archive, but signs and posters only tell one side of the story. The act of remembering is incredibly complicated and political, and we’ve been thinking about ways that we can create an archive that resists the historical space of an archive as colonial and authoritarian.
In an effort to hear from people who did and didn’t go to The Women’s March on Sydney, we held a meeting at Frontyard Projects in Marrickville, as an open invitation for anyone to talk to us about their experience. Given the different responses to the Women’s March and the fractures in feminism more generally, we thought it was interesting to look at the ways that people resisted and embraced the Women’s March, and what that reflected about feminism in our communities. The meeting looked at alternate and contemporary ways of remembering, including materials like poetry, text messages, facebook rants and oral histories, questioning what an archive that captures that breath of material would look like.
One of the recurring observations from the meeting was the importance of oral histories, including storytelling and poetry. There’s a multitude of ways that artists and writers have been engaging with activism in the wake of Trump. Here’s one of our favourite poems by Wendy Cope that’s gone viral (poetry is going viral now!);
He tells her that the earth is flat –
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong
But he has learned to argue well
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell
She cannot win. He stands his ground.
The planet goes on being round.
If you’d like to contribute to the conversation surrounding the Women’s March on Sydney, please get in contact with us – email@example.com