THE OFFICIAL Volume 3, Number 1, 2018


Phil Edwards: The Sound Recordings of Tony Woods

Keywords: Tony Woods, Contemporary Art, Australian Art

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This article is a personal reflection of the relationship between artist Tony Woods sound recordings and his visual art practice. Complimenting Tony Woods’ predominantly painting based visual art practice were his parallel sound compilations of often unnoticed background noises of the natural world and community activities. Used in conjunction with his Super-8 film practice and paintings these recordings emphasised his use of shadows in his work to explore themes of time passing and mortality. These recordings form a rich parallel contribution to the history of abstractions role in Australian painting by an often overlooked yet major artist.

Sophie Brown: Overcoming the Great Chain of Being: Posthumanism in Young Adult Fiction

Key words: Posthumanism, Transhumanism, Young Adult Fiction

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Originally established by Plato, the Great Chain of Being illustrates the hierarchical system of thought that has dominated Western philosophy for centuries. A tiered system, it places the strong white male on the top of the Chain and posits oppressed individuals sequentially on the lower tiers. This problematic system has been called into question as humanism develops into posthumanism; a theory that seeks to erase the border between hierarchical dichotomies, such as man/woman, black/white, and even human/machine. Posthuman theorists such as Rosi Braidotti and N Katherine Hayles employs posthumanism as a powerful philosophical tool in the overhaul of humanism’s Great Chain of Being, while transhumanists like Nick Bostrom present posthumanism as a means of approaching the technological future. The following essay seeks to establish the difference between the philosophical and technological implications of posthumanism, linking it to contemporary young adult dystopias and science fiction. It is imperative that upcoming generations learn to question social hierarchism and approach the future with care, reducing oppression and enhancing human life.

Mira Thurner: Gender as Constitution: Monsters and Others

Key words: Gender, 'The Other', Monster

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Whether cartoonesque, terrifying or mesmeric, the monstrous has inhabited our world and psyche since the beginnings of humanity. We have loved and hated them, from classical mythologies in the bodies of the Hydra and the Kraken to B-grade offerings such as ‘The Blob’ [dir. Yeaworth, 1958; Russell, 1988] and through to 21st century representation of the ‘Pale Man’ in ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ [dir. del Torro; 2006] and ‘The Babadook’ [dir. Kent; 2014]. In apostrophising the monster, the intention is to dissolve sexual and gender stereotyping and counteract narrowly confined gender definitions. Far from being a reductive approach, the non-human beings discussed here are representative of archetype. Their forms are recognisable as part of a trans-cultural monster canon, a lineage that has followed humans throughout history. They are ‘other’ in as much as they are related to us, and though they can be ‘physically’ separated from us, contextually they are. In this way, despite local referencing they are read as universal figures.  Intended as a precis to a longer paper, an example of monster typology, specifically via Japanese mythology and contemporary anime, will be discussed in examining gender, its limitations and potential.

Shaun Wilson: On Digital Otherness: Being 'of Art' in the Age of the Internet

Key words: Contemporary Art, Digital Media, Internet Art

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This paper will explore the notion of digital otherness by examining creative practice in a 21st century context to art that is neither belonging to or a part of classifiable genres of the academy. Discussion will look to the notion of otherness through art in the proliferation of the internet of things and consider a position of how memes, creative apps, and fan art have replaced contemporary art as being ‘of art’ in a global context through the understanding of the space of social media and browser-based networks to derive at a conclusion which posits Hegel’s Das Absolute as a means of coming to terms with digital otherness in the space of the academy for aesthetic critique.

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