Australian pulp fiction: these works can be read as a symptom, laying bare the unspoken fears, desires, dreams and nightmares of the time.
May 10, 2018
Mid-20th century pulp fiction was trashy, tasteless, exploitative and lurid. There’s a lot there to love. You might read pulp as a cultural Freudian slip, loony bulletins from the collective Id.
Eleni Foureira performs Cyprus’s 2018 Eurovision entry, Fuego, in the first semi-final in Portugal.
Jose Sena Goulao/EPA
Since it began in the 1950s, Eurovision has embraced everything from metal to the global juggernaut of Scandi-pop, and of course the Eurodance and disco synonymous with Eurovision.
Women modelling qipao.
The cultural appropriation debate has flared after an American teenager wore a qipao, a Chinese-style dress, to her prom. But the meanings around the dress are complicated.
An ad for cotton thread drawing on the scene in Gulliver’s Travels in which Gulliver is tied down by Liliputians.
May 8, 2018
Guide to the classics
In its abridged form, Gulliver's Travels has become a children's classic. But in full, it is a misanthropic satire, scathing of politicians.
eSports, which includes online multiplayer games like PUGB, is an industry forecast to reach nearly US$1 billion in revenue by 2019.
PlayerUnknown's Battleground - a multiplayer, fight-to-the-death video game - was the most downloaded game for the first quarter of 2018. It feels like an immersive experience of today’s nightmares.
Despite the myth that men don’t care about clothes, men’s fashion has been surprisingly political over the past 300 years.
For centuries, men’s fashion has been part of dynamic social change. Hairstyles, fabrics and suit styles have carried a political charge.
Avengers: Infinity War is more than empty spectacle, particularly due to its complex villain Thanos.
To some, superhero films are the equivalent of fracking. But they offer audiences transcendence, mystery, a moral compass, and even the hope of salvation.
People are still drawn to cinema to share the mass experience of watching a movie.
Netflix's Chief Content Officer has said the streaming service is the future of film. But cinemas have survived many other threats to their dominance.
Four of the six shortlisted books for the 2018 Stella Prize were from smaller presses, as was the winner, Alexis Wright’s Tracker.
As major publishers chase bestselling books, small ones are leading the way in publishing Australian literary fiction. And of late, they have been sweeping our major literary awards.
The battle for the Franklin River runs far deeper than simply providing the backdrop for a political tug-of-war.
PETER DOMBROVSKIS/ LIZ DOMBROVSKIS/AAP
Essays on Air: how archaeology helped save the Franklin River.
The Conversation 23.2 MB (download)
The battle to save the Franklin River - an exhilarating story of politics, cultural heritage and passionate environmentalism - captivated the nation in 1983.
Gay conversion therapy is often carried out in the name of religion.
May 2, 2018
From injection of a morphine derivative to the administering of electric shocks, gay conversion therapy here has a painful legacy.
The Real Bodies exhibition in Sydney has come under fire for uncertainty over the origins of its remains.
MICK TSIKAS/AAP Image
April 29, 2018
Protesters have urged a boycott of Sydney's current Real Bodies exhibition, over claims that it could display remains of executed Chinese political prisoners.
While the arts certainly have an economic benefit, they must also be recognised for their intrinsic value.
Economist David Throsby in a new Platform Paper calls for strong cultural policies from the Australian government.
Kendrick Lamar in the music video for Humble.
Screenshot from Youtube
Whether it is art or pop, high or low, terms such as creativity, authenticity, innovation and uniqueness can help us judge a work of music. And Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. brims with these qualities.
Jia Baoyu, the protagonist of Dream of the Red Chamber, as drawn by Gai Qi, 1879.
April 18, 2018
Guide to the classics
Dream of the Red Chamber, by Cao Xueqin, follows the travails of a pubescent boy. Somehow, through the spats, crushes and rivalries of a handful of teenagers, the great questions of the human condition are broached.
Before the outsiders arrived in Wurundjeri country this billabong enjoyed a vital ecological connection with other waterways.
April 26, 2018
At 14, writer Tony Birch had rarely travelled two miles out of the centre of Melbourne. Encountering a billabong on the Birrarung River was the first time that country spoke to him.
Graffiti comment adorning an image of a woman in Brunswick. The comment was quickly erased, nearby tags stayed up much longer.
A walk down Melbourne's streets reveals more commercial street art than the spontaneous politics of years past.
Yorta Yorta women and girls at the Cummeragunja Reserve in NSW with their knitting for soldiers serving in the second world war.
Australian War Memorial: P01562.001
During the second world war, a young Aboriginal soldier, Private Clarrie Combo from New South Wales, exchanged mail with Mrs F. C. Brown from Loxton, South Australia — a white woman whom he had never met…
The “Burney Relief,” which is believed to represent either Ishtar, the Mesopotamian goddess of love and war, or her older sister Ereshkigal, Queen of the underworld (c. 19th or 18th century BC)
April 22, 2018
Sex was central to life in ancient Mesopotamia. And the authors of Sumerian love poetry, depicting the exploits of divine couples, showed a wealth of practical knowledge about the stages of female sexual arousal.
In Season Two, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) reclaims the identity stripped from her by GIlead.
In the much awaited second season of the TV series, Offred is more openly defiant than she was in Margaret Atwood's novel. Still, the first two episodes remain true to the themes of Atwood's book.