A relief at the ancient Persian city of Persepolis (now in modern Iran), including inscriptions in cuneiform, the world’s oldest form of writing.
October 5, 2017
Cuneiform was used for over 3,000 years in the Ancient Near East, but was only decoded in the 19th century. The writing form is still revealing amazing stories, from literature to mathematics.
John Fead, Shakespeare and his contemporaries, 1851.
October 4, 2017
The first recorded performance of the theatre company that Shakespeare co-founded was at a playhouse south of the Thames, but was lost to historians for centuries. Now we know where it lies.
Ern McQuillan, Tuna Fishing at Eden, New South Wales, 1960.
National Library of Australia
October 2, 2017
The history of fisheries exploitation in Australia reveals a staggering natural bounty, which has been alarmingly fragile without proper management.
Eric McCormack and Debra Messing as Will and Grace.
October 3, 2017
While many people may see the term "fag hag" a slur, women have long been allies of gay men, and it now might be time to reclaim the word.
Giotto’s Last Judgment in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, inspired by Dante Alighieri’s vision of heaven and hell.
October 1, 2017
The gates to hell in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy tell us to "abandon all hope, yet who enter here". Despite its unfunny premise, 'La Commedia' ends well, with its protagonist Dante reaching heaven.
Robbie ‘Bones’ McGhie after playing in the 1973 Grand Final, in which his team, Richmond, won.
Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive
Football has changed dramatically in the 35 years since Richmond last had a chance at the Grand Final. But while footy is now 'an industry', the arrival of the first women's league is to be celebrated.
Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, has died age 91.
September 28, 2017
Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, has died age 91. While many have pointed to Playboy's problematic relationship with women, when it first appeared in 1953 the magazine was a challenge to Cold War men.
A sacred paperbark tree at Djiliwirri, the most sacred homeland of the Indigenous elder and public intellectual, Dr Joe Gumbula, in 2004.
September 28, 2017
Dr Joe Gumbula was a master-singer of Manikay, the exquisite Yolŋu tradition of public ceremonial song. While the songs contain incredible knowledge, scholars have rarely treated them as an intellectual tradition.
Detail from a statue of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus (15th-century Slovenia). For many centuries, the pain that could accompany dying was seen as punishment for sin and ultimately redemptive.
September 26, 2017
For centuries, in Western societies, 'euthanasia' referred to a pious death, blessed by God. The pain that could accompany dying was seen as ultimately redemptive.
Peter Cummins as Monk O’Neill in the 1972 Australian Performing Group production of A Stretch of the Imagination.
David Williamson and Jack Hibberd tower over Australian drama. Williamson's The Department and Hibberd's A Stretch of the Imagination both showcase the strange yet compelling detachment of these playwrights' visions.
Waiting for my lunch 2014. What happens when we start noticing the white noise of ‘non places’?
September 25, 2017
We constantly use electronic devices to distract ourselves from the tedium associated with waiting. Yet being bored can be a creative activity.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote Give Peace a Chance in a ‘bed-in’ in Montreal.
Ahead of International Peace Day celebrity musicians like Yoko Ono have released music for peace. But the same qualities that bring us together around music can also inflame conflict, from the Yugoslav civil wars to Northern Ireland.
An F/A-18 Hornet breaking the sound barrier.
Fly-bys by RAAF Super Hornets and army helicopters are a noisy finale to the Brisbane Festival. While many find this sound awe-inspiring, what of those with lived experience of war?
Art and Seek Workshop participants examining locks of Keats’s hair and the painting P.B. Shelley in the Baths of Caracalla by Joseph Severn.
A. Frances Johnson
September 25, 2017
Was John Keats a refugee in his day? A workshop for refugees, migrants and artists took place recently at Keats-Shelley House and the story of the great Romantic poet's life and death hit a nerve.
David Bowie performs on his 1974 Diamond Dogs world tour.
David Bowie was the tasteful thief and practised faker, and his 1974 album Diamond Dogs borrowed from everything to create a sublime post-apocalyptic soundscape.
Gil Birmingham (Cory) and Jeremy Renner (Martin) in Wind River: grieving fathers who come together in the realm of the dead.
Production Co: Acacia Filmed Entertainment, Film 44, Ingenious Media
September 21, 2017
Myths on screen
American cinema mines Greek myth most strongly at times of profound social anxiety. In the age of Trump, we are already seeing key political battlegrounds framed as underworld quests in film.
Megabots, coming soon to sports channels?
Screenshot from Youtube
September 21, 2017
US and Japanese tech companies are building fighting megabots to kicktstart what they envisage as a sporting franchise on the scale of Formula 1.
The Big Banana, Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, 2015.
September 18, 2017
Australia has more than 200 Big Things, from the heritage-listed Pineapple to a giant Captain Cook. What are we to do with these structures as they age and decay? And should we be building new ones?
Kurt Cobain killed himself a week before this album was due to come out. It became a perfect soundtrack to Gen X's grief and with its raw, angry, feminist-inspired, grunge sound, remains a classic.
Danny Lim, Sydney, was convicted of ‘offensive behaviour’ for a sign that referred to Tony Abbott and alluded to the c-bomb. The conviction was dismissed in August this year.
September 17, 2017
Australia has a reputation for swearing. Yet this sits at odds with laws that criminalise offensive words.