Articles on Friday essay

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Happy birthday Beethoven, 250 this year. Here, artist Ottmar Hoerl’s sculptural tribute in Bonn, Germany. Shutterstock

Friday essay: Beethoven - an icon at risk of overexposure?

This year Ludwig van Beethoven turns 250. Though some of his creations have been overexposed, they are indisputably brilliant. And there are still others waiting to be discovered by music lovers.
At Echo Point lookout in Katoomba, NSW, people watch smoke from the Green Wattle Creek fire beyond The Three Sisters rock formation. AAP/Steven Saphore

Friday essay: seeing the news up close, one devastating post at a time

Instagram bushfire images cut through our news fatigue. This developing brand of photojournalism brings authenticity and a different sense of proximity.
A scene from the 2017 film Geostorm: many societies have historically attempted to deal with collective trauma by replaying and restaging it in art. Warner Bros., Electric Entertainment, Rat Pac-Dune Entertainment

Friday essay: eco-disaster films in the 21st century - helpful or harmful?

Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and Hollywood cinema has kept pace. In a time of global warming, these 'eco-disaster' films are fraught with meaning.
The smouldering ruins of a child’s bike lies amongst a property lost to bushfires in the Mid North Coast region of NSW last month. Darren Pateman/AAP

Friday essay: living with fire and facing our fears

Living in a bushfire-prone area means every decision - from plants to parking spots to holidays - is shaped by fire risk. We live and die by the advice we are given, and the advice we ignore.
A hollow-log coffin painted with Dhal̲waŋu clan Octopus, Perahu Hull, Anchor and Coral Sunset motifs at Gurrumuru against a coral sunset on the horizon. Photo: Aaron Corn

Friday essay: how Indigenous songs recount deep histories of trade between Australia and Southeast Asia

Yothu Yindi's music introduced the world to the Yolŋu clan traditions of northeast Arnhem Land. But few listeners know these songs echo long histories of engagement with Southeast Asian visitors.
A portrait of George Eliot at 30 by Alexandre-Louis-François d'Albert-Durade. Her masterpiece Middlemarch is often claimed to be the greatest novel in the English language. Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: George Eliot 200 years on - a scandalous life, a brilliant mind and a huge literary legacy

Henry James called her a 'great, horse-faced bluestocking'. On the 200th anniversary of her birth, we celebrate George Eliot, a literary trailblazer with an endless appetite for ideas, living in a patriarchal time.
In ancient China, India and the Middle East, the art of eyebrow threading was popular. It is now enjoying a resurgence. www.shutterstock.com

Friday essay: shaved, shaped and slit - eyebrows through the ages

Moulding eyebrows to make a statement is nothing new. A journey through history, across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, shows some of the highs and lows of brow fashion.
A British Pattern 1907 bayonet with leather scabbard. Wikimedia Commons

Friday essay: a short, sharp history of the bayonet

There is no weapon more visceral than the bayonet. It encourages an intimate form of killing, and during WW1, Australia troops plunged, parried and stabbed with great vigour.
NASA ‘could not imagine the radical effect of seeing the Earth’ from the moon. In the face of a climate catastrophe, we all need to step back and see the Earth again. Bill Anders/NASA/Handout

Friday essay: thinking like a planet - environmental crisis and the humanities

Historical perspective can offer much in this time of ecological crisis,. Many historians are reinventing their traditional scales of space and time to tell different kinds of stories that recognise the unruly power of nature.

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