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THE OFFICIAL Volume 6, 2022


Andrew Lavery: The Historical Materialism of Urban Ruin in A Village Called Arncliffe 


Keywords: Urban ruin, contemporary art, historical materialism, modernity, gentrification


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This article explores the critical underpinnings of Australian artist Andrew Lavery’s artwork titled A Village Called Arncliffe (Lavery 2021). The text considers an artistic methodology that applies historical materialism's revelatory and emancipatory intent to an artwork exploring a Sydney suburb’s evolution and decay. Particular focus is given to ways in which the temporal dimensions of historical materialism are realised through walking tours, sculptural objects, photomontage and mirror. By discussing artistic methods aimed at revealing the distorted reality of capitalist modernity through a historical materialist lens, this article extends ways of thinking and working with urban ruin in contemporary art.


Malcom Bywaters: The Problem with Purpose: the Contemporary Monument 


Keywords: Monument, acknowledgement, memorial, memory, sculpture


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This article will argue that regardless of what physical form a community chooses to select, the contemporary monument must be a process of public discussion, perseverance, and tolerance. The paper explores the reappraisal of history associated with the commemorative monument now underway, and how this is challenged by a new generational change. With memorialisation we must ask the question of whom we are acknowledging, the victim, those remaining or perpetrator. The Sandy Hook massacre and Tuam Scandal are used as examples to explain a new type of media memorialisation. One now grounded within monetary return, community acknowledgement and global media interest


Sue Beyer: Digital Combines: A Metamodern Oscillation of Oppositional Objects and Concepts in Contemporary Interdisciplinary Art Practice


Keywords: Digital combine, metamodernism, interdisciplinary contemporary art, installation, new aesthetic


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This article examines the proposed genre of Digital Combines, first coined by interdisciplinary artist and educator Claudia Hart in 2021, and how it aligns with ideas that can be found in the currently evolving term known as Metamodernism. While contemporary visual artists have long used unusual juxtapositions in their art making and presentation of work to tell a story or examine a concept Digital Combines take this further by situating the physical, digital and the virtual in space using a combination of traditional, new media and blockchain smart contracts. In the recent exhibition We Are Data held at Box Gallery in Melbourne during August 2022, an exploration of this new genre was investigated through the use of a combination of traditional and new media. The outcome was an installation using a metamodern framework that contributed to a greater understanding of the present moment in contemporary culture. 


Shaun Wilson: Plague, Allegory, and Metamodernism as contemporary studio practice in Placing the Decameron


Keywords: Pandemic, Bocaccio, The Decameron, plague, COVID-19, contemporary art, painting, place


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As the first of two articles exploring how plague can be represented through allegorical art making, this article will seek to examine the logic of the metamodern to attest to ways of developing painting through a metamodernity from a topographical analysis of Boccaccio’s The Decameron. As defined as a structure of feeling, metamodernism has yielded a coming to terms with the current state of anxiousness and uncertainty to be congealed in an amalgam of what we now understand as a new sincerity. Representing this contextualisation will be a test case from artist Shaun Wilson’s ‘Placing the Decameron’ artist in residency online at the Fremantle Arts Centre between 2021 and 2022, and concluding in 2023. The artefacts produced within this body of knowledge developed a new way to approach metamodernist painting, and by this, contribute to a new way of understanding how artists can use allegory to situate new ways of representing the global health crisis in contemporary art.



THE OFFICIAL Volume 5, Number 2, 2021:


Special edition Malcom Bywaters: Escaping Reality: Airfix and the art of Roy Cross


Keywords: Airfix, model making, creativity, artwork, COVID -19

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This Paper will discuss the use of plastic model making in the Covid-19 era as a source of community. Further, the paper will locate the plastic model box top artwork of Roy Cross within a contemporary and creative environment. There will be a reflection on the original aeroplanes used by Cross as the artwork’s origin. Finally, the paper will argue that Cross’s artworks represent a positioning of the box top artworks as making a significant contribution to the understanding of the Covid-19 environment.


Shaun Wilson: A Fear of Place: An Ontology of Symbiosis in Pandemic Times


Keywords: Pace, fear, England, COVID-19, plague


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This article considers the relations between fear and place during the eras of pandemic crisis. It first defines the concept of a symbiosis as the connection between people and places to then explore how this sense of place has contributed to fear and anxiety from the places and circumstances of contagion. Specific historical periods will be discussed from Black Death, the Great London Plague, and recently, COVID-19. Some of the broader discussions throughout will reflect on plague bills, plague houses, early plague hospitals and zones of infection to determine a deeper understanding of why fear and illness have impacted societies in profound ways through ongoing instances or repeated outbreaks and lockdowns. 


THE OFFICIAL Volume 5, Number 1, 2021 


Heather Timms, Mitch Tawhi Thomas, Peter Zazzali: Questions of Context and Actor Training: Embracing Difference and Inviting Complexity

Keywords: Actor training, COVID-19, Lasalle, Toi Whakaari

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The impact of COVID-19 on the arts-education landscape necessitates confronting structures of power and how they operate within the industry as well as in our training programs. What does it mean to train actors during a time when a pandemic frames an unprecedented examination of cultural identity and social justice? In what ways can embracing difference and inviting complexity inform our teaching and learning? How might we challenge and disrupt systems of power and corresponding complacency towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable pedagogy?  This article engages a range of contextual issues to address these questions. We posit the training environment of an acting program as complex and reliant upon the values and identities of a given institution. We apply this thinking through our respective programs in Singapore and Aotearoa - New Zealand. Thus, we depict LASALLE and Toi Whakaari as forward-facing in responding to the aforementioned questions. We teach among a diverse group of students and colleagues, thereby affording us considerable experience from within Oceania, South- East Asia, and beyond. We argue that actor trainers should meet this moment of threatened sustainability and survival by deeply reconsidering our pedagogies in complex and variant ways. We suggest thinking through the impact of the pandemic and related challenges by robustly responding to questions of context as they relate to teaching and learning through embracing difference and remaining open to equitable and inclusive exchanges of culture. 

Heather Timms, Vaughan Slinn: ‘Archetypes’ – Liberating increasingly diverse actors towards specific and deeply embodied playing for live and screen.

Key words: Archetypes, character, embodiment, imagination, creativity

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Over the last seven years, acting cohorts at Te Kura Toi Whakaari O Aotearoa - New Zealand Drama School have reflected increasing diversity in their student base, comprising students of Māori, Pasifika, Pāheka (New Zealanders of European ancestry), Asian, Scandinavian, Middle Eastern and African descent.  This is reflective of our ever-changing world and has called for changes in how acting craft is taught. Amidst this new landscape, one key inquiry has been how to liberate  our young actors to reach for greater imaginative freedom and more sophisticated choices. This requires our students to go beyond a blinkered picture of ‘realism’ many enter the training with.  Such liberation is crucial to achieve embodied, layered characterisation and targeted acting choices. Working with ‘action’ has been challenging in this regard; students routinely struggle to move beyond a cerebral conceptualisation of action and often get stuck in superficial, lifeless work. To address this, Heather Timms (Director of Actor Training) and Vaughan Slinn (Senior Tutor, Screen and Creative Practice) have developed an embodied approach to character and action, using a version of ‘Archetypes.’ This approach has been developed within rehearsal and performance across stage and screen.   This evolving technique is both a process and tool that explores personas drawn from archetypal and poetic origin. Over time this approach has proven to quickly build and test embodied characterisation, liberate greater physical, vocal and imaginative range and scale, and employ the actor’s individual artistry. It has also created a pathway for more deeply integrated application of action and objective.  This use of  ‘Archetype,’ rather than creating broad, non-specific characterisation, has instead proven to create highly detailed categories of playable action, and allowed students to work more imaginatively in crafting affecting, idiosyncratic and original acting choices. With these discoveries, this approach has now become a key acting tool, and supports Toi Whakaari’s deeper acting pedagogical aim: creating self-sustainable, creative and unique actors.

Mark Seton: What we ‘profess’ as professionals and how we behave – are they the same thing?

Key words: Disaster media, consumption, pandemic, experiment, cinema, video games, COVID-19

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This article contains both an offer and a response to a lingering challenge experienced by many acting teachers regarding students’ moments of both resistance and compliance during their training journey. This theme emerged during the 2020 AusAct: Australian Actor Training Conference where I presented a paper identifying accounts of students who may be resistant to change in regards to their own ongoing well-being. In my presentation I suggested that student actors, desiring to align themselves with certain perceived professional values or maxims such as ‘suffering for your art’ may not embrace seemingly contradictory advice about nurturing their future sustainable professional well-being. I will outline my argument for this claim in the second section of this chapter. However, I will also offer a reflection and response drawing upon some cautious reactions to this presentation at the conference in which it was felt that I was advocating that acting teachers might need to step into the role of psychologist or therapist to equip students into change. While this was not my intention, the immediate post-presentation conversation did highlight some important tensions that teachers may be experiencing as they seek to enable students to become professional actors while being sensitive to not triggering detrimental experiences in the process of potentially highly confronting training experiences. Through this offer and response I hope, in this chapter, to map out a new way of framing the ethical accountability between teacher, student and educational institution in regard to professional identity formation.

Robert Lewis, Dominique Sweeney: Action/Reaction and everything in between in the Virtual Space: (dis)embodied learning through online performance practice

Key words: Archetypes, character, embodiment, imagination, creativity

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Robert Lewis and Dominique Sweeney have been developing a place-based actor training andragogy at Charles Sturt University. Since moving practical classes, rehearsals and performances online during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, this ‘place-based’ andragogy has been somewhat challenged. What happens when place is disrupted and student actors are connecting from multiple ‘places’? Is there a unified place/space in between these points? Throughout the rehearsals of Mark Roger’s ‘Seeing Horrors 2’ during the lockdown, the authors address how place, space and grounding have maintained a strong element in their work via the online space. Online actor training for platforms such as Zoom is an new and foreign phenomenon. Actor training for film and television contexts may not be suitable for this platform, therefore it is important to look at what Zoom offers that other screen media doesn’t. In addition to the performance process, the authors discuss one specific training system that has been developed for the online performance space.

Andrea Moor: Rethinking the Conservatoire: Is the traditional drama school model tenable in a post Covid world and if not, how can institutions maintain excellence in training?

Key words: Conservatoire, Acting, Training, COVID, Theatre

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Leading Australian actor training institutions were originally modelled on the conservatoire format of the British Drama School. This model included many hours of acting classes or rehearsals, hours of voice and speech classes and hours of a variety of movement classes per day. In addition, there were specialist classes in fight choreography, accent, Alexander technique, period movement, acting in style, comedy and more. Traditionally there were a number of second year and third year productions each year. And in more recent years screen training has been introduced in the shape of studio and location shoots, with emphasis also on self-testing. This smorgasbord of classes and projects has created a forty hour plus week with programs requiring specialist teachers and directors to deliver industry standard training. Staff costs are very high for such a program, and, with between four and eight productions a year, plus filming costs, these projects have a hefty price tag. Actor training institutions all over the world are faced with diminished budgets, and yet institutions remain committed to maintaining their reputation of excellence. Can we continue to train actors in the conservatoire model going forward? This paper will attempt to answer this question. Via a series of interviews with teachers from leading schools around the world I will attempt to offer new models for the BA/BFA. One cannot attempt this task without considering the urgent need for a more diverse representation in the teaching staff as well as exposure to a wider variety of playscripts that challenge the patriarchal heteronormative status quo of years gone by. These changes are already afoot as suggested by initiatives being implemented at London’s Central School; “They include moves to "de-colonise" its curriculum and "cultivate a workforce of more diverse academic staff".”(BBC, 2020) I will look at those schools who are at the forefront of this change and seek to redefine what relevant training could look like in the post Covid world.

Melanie Beddie, Anthony Crowley, Kim Durban, Ross Hall: Not a Pivot, But a Pirouette: A Panel Presentation about the Arts Academy Online in a Time of Pandemic

Key words: COVID-19, acting, online rehearsals, adaptation

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This paper is an extract from a presentation given by a group of academic staff from the Arts Academy in Ballarat at AusAct: The Australian Actor Training Conference, which was held online in December 2020. The title alludes to the ways that the Performing Arts teaching team adapted to the restrictions placed on three-dimensional training by the global pandemic. It focuses on the impact of COVID 19’s second wave of lockdown on performance training at Federation University’s Arts Academy in Victoria. It plots the experiences of transitioning from live face-to-face studio classes to working online with students, culminating in a series of Zoom productions, including Second Year actors rehearsing and performing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Third Year actors and music theatre students rehearsing and performing A Chorus Line, an adaptation of Hamlet entitled Out of Joint, and an Australian play, Embers by Campion Decent. It describes various dimensions of adapting dramatic and musical works to a new online format; the way many of the rehearsal processes simulated their theatrical counterparts; the adjusted online rehearsal cycle; the way students grew into learning online; and the unexpected discoveries of working in a new and nascent medium of performance.


Bree Hadley, Caroline Heim: Addressing the mental health issues of the ‘Covid Generation’ –Innovative approaches to Performing Arts Studies in Times of Crisis

Key words: University students, Performing arts students, Anxiety, Mental Health, COVID-19

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Pre-COVID-19 rates of reported anxiety amongst Australian university students were significantly high. With 79% of Australian university students reporting anxiety as an impediment to their learning (Headspace 2017). With the onset of Covid19, anxiety issues soared. Globally, these impacts were being recorded with a 42.5% horizontal increase in anxiety for some university students (Kaparounaki et al. 2020). As Study Area Coordinators for the Acting & Drama programs at QUT, Heim and Hadley observed this rise in students’ anxiety and its effects on learning. In the scramble to adapt performing arts programs to the online learning environment necessitated by Covid19 shutdowns, colleagues around the globe, fellow lecturers, and learning designers were quick all quick to share resources to help translate performing, rehearsing, and directing activities online. What was missing, amongst this abundance of resources, was tools, techniques, activities, or supports to assist performing arts students – already prone to perfectionism, performance anxiety, and stress (McQuade 2009) – in dealing with the rise in stress they were feeling. In this paper, Heim and Hadley report on initiatives implemented to understand the nature of this rise in stress, through invitations to self-report issues arising via an anonymous Padlet tool during our shutdown Semester – including fear of failure, and judgement, amplified by a sense of ‘missing out’ on key learning that could never be recouped for those who would forever be known as the ‘Covid Generation’. They then report on initial approach to address these concerns, including mental health talks, videos, and adaptations to teaching models to address fear of failure and judgement as students began a staged CovidSafe return to campus in the following Semester.


Suzie J. Jarmain: Beyond Real(ism): An Investigation of the Twenty-First Century Transformational Actor and Identity

Key words: Transformational acting, realism, identity, Leder, Mirodan

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Transformational acting is a fragile, technical process reflective of blowing a soap bubble. This type of realism-based acting, different to personality acting I will refer to as actors disappearing into characters. When they disappear, they begin living in a metaphoric bubble breathing life into its contents, keeping it afloat. Transformational actors work in fantasy worlds that could pop at any moment. A dangerous ‘floating world’ replicating the world actors live in with fictional character, moving from identity to identity. Actors sometimes ‘lose’ themselves in these imaginary ‘worlds,’ disappear inside this metaphorical bubble or it bursts depositing an unexpected psychological ‘mess’ on the rehearsal room, stage or virtual Zoom floor. Actors ‘becoming’ the character is a familiar statement in acting theory texts but what does this do to the actor’s identity? There is currently little clarity or practical investigation into what happens to the actor in transformation. How could the process of transformation develop a language that grounds the phenomenon through disappearance? Studies blending cognitive science shed light on the transformational acting process, while keeping strong, ‘sticky’ hooks in ‘mysticism’ and acting folklore. My paper borrows from Leder’s theory of disappearance, dys-appearance and social dys-appearance as an innovative lens viewing actors ‘disappearing into characters’ as an ever changing state of transformation relational to gender. My paper engages discourse in psychological and identity in acting, alongside the work of Mirodan and Stanislavsky to discuss the practice of transforming, highlighting the criticality of knowing who we are and what we do, when we act.

Corinna Di Niro: Covid Commedia: strategies for teaching Commedia dell’Arte in Zoomtopia

Key words: Zoom, Commedia del Arte, Acting, Movement

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Pike, Neideck and Kelly (2020, p. 2) state that the ‘boundaries of neo-liberal bourgeoise capitalism have crumbled as artists dance in their lounge rooms and teachers instruct students from their living rooms, via Zoom’. As the world moves to a screen-to-screen lifestyle, so does Commedia, seeking to find its place among the digital elite. Commedia – a hyper exaggerated form of theatre known for its masks, gestures and movements that allows for immediate understanding of human nature – has survived for well over 500 years due to its ability to reinvent itself to suit varying socio-political contexts. Yet, in the digital space, the genre’s physicality has created a barrier for teachers trying to teach the genre within the walls of Zoomtopia – a place where our physical bodies are left behind while we’re transported to any part of the globe. How can the physical nature of Commedia be taught and enjoyed in a contemporary Zooming culture? Can Commedia reinvent itself for the digital world? To decipher these questions, I discuss my work as a Commedia specialist living in Adelaide, Australia who created a methodology for teaching Commedia to international secondary schools via Zoom. My three-dimensional approach extends upon early Commedia strategies of adaptation and accessibility to better fit the digital age. As the world reinvents itself to fit the unavoidable digital shift, so does Commedia. I argue that Commedia does indeed have a place within Zoomtopia and that it can still be taught and performed in a manner “authentic” to its translingual roots.

Mark Radvan: Reconstructing Actor Training Within a Social Constructionist World View

Key words: Materials of construction, performance as transaction, performance as artefact, dramaturgy

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Pandemic lockdowns, challenges to the economic sustainability of theatre and theatre training institutions and calls to take action on broader social and environmental responsibilities have propelled many in actor training into unfamiliar and unsettling territories. With the future that students are being prepared for radically changing, and the fiscal environment for training them being for many, drastically reshaped, is this an opportune moment to re-evaluate the actor training curriculum?



THE OFFICIAL Volume 4, Number 1, 2020 

Toni Ross: Slow aesthetics and deanthropomorphism as ecocritical strategies in David Claerbout’s ​The pure necessity​ (2016)

Keywords: David Claerbout, video art, ecocriticism, wildlife documentaries, Disney’s The Jungle Book  

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his paper analyses the portrayal of wildlife in ​The pure necessity (2016), an experimental video by Belgian artist David Claerbout that re-imagines Disney’s famous animated film ​The Jungle Book (1967). Aesthetic features of the video will be contrasted with the depiction of wildlife in the Disney film and recent ‘blue-chip’ natural history documentaries. I will argue that the adoption of a slow aesthetic and a retreat from anthropomorphism in ​The pure necessity presents a stark contrast to modern anthropocentric attitudes embedded in contemporary wildlife documentaries and ​The Jungle Book​. In this respect, Claerbout’s video will be interpreted as a significant contribution to ecocritical thinking and art making.

Joshua H. Adams, Damian Schofield: It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: A Brief History of Disaster Themed Media

Key words: Disaster media, history, pandemic, cinema, video games, COVID-19

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This paper aims to present a brief history of disaster themed media, in particular focusing on cinema and video games. Specific sections also discuss pandemic themed cinema and video games. The media under discussion is mainly from the United States and this paper predominately predominantly discusses the media from a western cultural perspective. The paper posits that the prevalence of disaster themed media in popular culture is closely correlated with ‘real world’ events. These disaster and post-apocalyptic narratives provide the consumer with safe spaces where they can metaphorically deal with the tensions and anxieties of the present world. This paper intends to discuss disaster themes in popular culture, specifically cinema and video games, and to provide some insight into the consumption of disaster themed media during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. This paper is the first in a set of two publications, a more focused examination of media consumption during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found in the companion paper, “It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: Media in the Time of COVID-19.”

Joshua H. Adams, Damian Schofield: It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: Media Consumption in the Time of COVID-19

Key words: Disaster media, consumption, pandemic, experiment, cinema, video games, COVID-19

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This paper presents the results of an experiment undertaken by the authors to capture media consumption trends during the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak. These results are correlated with the demographics, and individual situations of the experimental participants. The overall aim is to correlate the media consumption reported by the experimental participants with national viewing trends and historical data to show that there is an increased consumption of disaster themed media during times of crisis. The research intends to differentiate this increase in disaster themed media consumption by correlating it with the differing circumstances of the viewers. Specifically, whether they watch movies and/or play video games on their own and whether they currently have more free time to consume media. This paper is the second in a set of two publications, a history of disaster themed media consumption can be found in the companion paper, “It’s the End of the World and You Watch It: A Brief History of Disaster Themed Media.”

Shaun Wilson: Representing Climate Activism through Digital Media before and during COVID-19 lockdowns

Key words: Climate activism, digital media, design, internet, COVID-19

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Climate activism in the digital space is recognised as a mechanism active since the late 1980s yet it is only in recent times that the academy is coming to terms with its presence through digital media with any serious measure of analysis and enquiry. This paper acknowledges the contributions made on the topic over its forty year digital history but will instead focus on the recent considerations through the contributions of activism in the online space. Of interest in this regard is to understand the presence and role of climate activism in social and digital media at a more meaningful level through the two periods of before and during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

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.

THE OFFICIAL Volume 2, Number 1, 2017

Mira Thurner: Anonymous Communities: Uploading/Downloading Community arts

Keywords: Community arts, digital uploading, digital downloading

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‘Community Arts’ is a broad and interconnected field. From the local to the global it has created opportunity for countless artists, arts organisations, community groups and individuals. The digital has become a space for community and though often complex and contested, it has taken on a ubiquity and a primary social context on a mass scale. The following paper examines platforms where these two areas overlap and diverge. How successfully can an online platform fulfil the requirements of an artistic community given the constraints of web based interaction? Can community arts sit comfortably in location where time and space are both elastic and hard-coded? What levels of engagement or tools are available for community arts practitioners online? In looking at examples such as the Australia Council's site 'The Platform' of 2013 and the sizeable web entity, deviantArt the research attempts to find a starting point for where more traditional forms of artistic expression and promotion are heading. Many such sites exist and the choice, though not arbitrary, is certainly not definitive of what is possible. Both sites, however, attempt to draw together those who create and those who appreciate art, with possibility for growth and reinvention as technology develops.

Joel Zika: Dark Rides: The Dawn of Virtual Reality

Key words: Dark rides, virtual reality, digital media

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Since the early days of the American amusement park, the ‘Dark Ride’ has been a constant feature.  Whether in the form of indoor scenic railway, spook house or walkthrough haunt, it is a universal experience.  Taking early advantage of electricity, the dark ride became the earliest example of a fully programmed multimedia experience.  It featured elements like triggered sound, lighting and a moving point of view that would not be seen in cinema until years later.  With the growing ubiquity of cinema in the 20th century this once revolutionary entertainment became relegated to a position of nostalgic oddity.  To this day, the dark ride is the most all-encompassing 360- degree immersive experience available to entertainment audiences.  At the turn of the 20th century, the amusement park offered experiences (including the dark ride) that gave access to technological experiences like never before. The sense of embodiment is the common conceptual thread between the user experience of the dark ride and virtual reality.  This paper introduces the importance of the dark ride and amusement park as a technical and conceptual influence on virtual reality. It defines five criteria for virtual immersive experiences and the driving concepts that have been evident since the first electric concessions of the 1900s. The examination defines the dark ride format, its relationship to virtual reality and what this format can teach us about building immersive spaces today.

Shaun Wilson: Towards the Simulation of Sensor Networks [Authenticity and Untruthful Practice]

Key words: Authenticity, fake papers, digital media

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This paper will explore the rise of AI generated fake essays and papers created with browser-based software and probe this phenomenon through questionable peer review processes from online journals. It will take the philosophical perspectives of authenticity and truth into a definition from Correspondence Theory derived at a consideration of atomic positive and negative facts. The paper will examine several instances of how this subject is being exploited through commercial applications and also how satire has become a tool for ridicule in both highlighting untruthful authorship but also a mechanism for validating journal and conference peer review processes. 

THE OFFICIAL Volume 1, Number 1, 2016

Damian Schofield: Waiting for a Robot Godot: theoretical musing on cyborg theatre

Keywords: Cyborg, cyborg theatre, Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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Recent years have seen an explosion in cinema technology, with the introduction of computer-generated characters becoming commonplace in film. On stage, when we move away from screens and ’filmic’ characters (such as the on-screen narrator played by Laurence Olivier in the 1986 West End production of the musical Time), it is natural to see that ‘physical’ robots are a potential theatrical equivalent of the computer generated film actor. This paper extensively discusses the theoretical implications of cyborg thespians and the way the audience perceives this potential innovation. A follow up paper in this journal briefly describes the technical process involved to produce a well-known play using robots and provides a brief comparative analysis and interpretation of the performance. The initial play chosen for this robot experimentation was a relatively recent example of tragicomedy, Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

Damian Schofield: Waiting for a Robot Godot: a cyborg theatre case study

Keywords: Cyborg, cyborg theatre, Waiting for Godot, Samuel Beckett

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There exists a long and rich history of technology being integrated with theatre, dating back to the ancient Greeks. These have ranged from tools used in the mechanics of theatre (winches and revolves for example), the integration of complex props into performances, the use of realistic mannequins and puppets, to the use of technological themes within the narratives themselves. Historically, following Aristotle’s elements of drama; theatrical forms that rely on technological effects are named as a ‘spectacle’, and are often considered as entertainment rather than serious drama (Lauren, 2013). This paper discusses the use of ‘physical’ robots as a natural next stage of theatre, and describes a case study of a cyborg theatre performance.

Tom Penney: Digital Face-ism and Micro-Fascism

Key words: Fascism, micro-fascism, digital media, online dating, affection images

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The exchange of digital images depicting partial bodies is an iconic feature of online dating and contemporary sexuality. I build on previous writing and concepts explored by Deleuze and Guattari in regards to how such images function as “affection-images” (Deleuze, 1986). I then articulate how employing an affective structure of “faciality” (Deleuze and Guattari, 1988) that not only orients our tendencies towards certain faces, but also bodies and body parts, is of political concern in an era of digital capitalism. The reading of faces and bodies that become “facialised”, that is, communicate degrees of affection through digital interfaces, contributes to an algorithmic averaging-out of desire. The key to this critique is that the digital exacerbates pre-existing “micro-fascisms”. These rules of acceptance or rejection that exist on a personal level in all individuals, in collaboration with the rapid availability and processing of faces and bodies online, allows such averaging-out to occur. The writing also makes significant reference to Sarah Ahmed (2006) and Judith Butler (1988).

Alexander D'Aloia: On the Review of Film

Keywords: Film, cinema, film review, audience

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This paper explores the relationship between the reviewer and their review of feature films, with emphasis on the processes involved in how they go about reviewing. Currently there exists no such formal framework, or format, for reviewers to follow, yet formal reviewers and reviews exist, and endure, both professionally and popularly, as critics. Despite a lack of standardisation of their reviewing methods and techniques, where and when they have been implemented, this article then documents their cause and effect, and the impact they have on a review, its reviewer, the films reviewed in question, and their consumers as audience
members, of said films.

Shaun Wilson: What is Post Neo Modernism?: Absolute, Multiplicity, Post-Truth, Disruption

Key words: Post Neomodernism, multiplicity, new relativism

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This paper is the first of two that seek to propose the establishment of a new singularity for the arts defined as a Post-neomodernism by examining the first five points of the ​Post Neomodernist Manifesto (2015). As the micro movements of Post-postmodernism, Neomodernism, and Metamodernism have established their own positions in an after Postmodernist context, therein lies an absence of a greater contextualisation to which a Post-neomodernism can establish and by this, approach a singularity in more holistic terms. Discussion will examine the context of a new absolute, the role of multiplicity in new relativism, the rise of post truth and the disruption of such instances through digital media.

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