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Culture December 22, 2018

Robin DiAngelo, an agent of change

Robin DiAngelo knows a lot about white privilege – it’s in her DNA. The American academic, author and anti-racism advocate talks about how structures of whiteness and so-called white progressives are continuing to damage the lives of people of colour. ‘I grew up in poverty … I was a feminist for most of my life before I realised I could also be an oppressor. But I draw from my experience of oppression … I think that helps. The key is not to exempt myself from being an oppressor, just because I experience oppression. Ask anyone if they’d rather be poor and white or poor and brown – I knew I was poor, but I also knew I was white.’

Culture December 15, 2018

Author Melissa Lucashenko aims for the heart

Melissa Lucashenko’s latest novel, Too Much Lip, exhibits a sharp defiance inspired by the author’s discovery of a gutsy family matriarch. She talks about family, country and mysterious mergings of fact and fiction. “I’ve only once started a novel I didn’t go ahead with. A novel is a huge undertaking, so I’m loath to rush in. It’s like waiting for fruit to ripen. There’s a certain berry that ripens at Easter, and there’s no point looking for it at Christmas time.”

Culture December 8, 2018

The Native Cats’ music for Tasmania

As The Native Cats, Julian Teakle and Chloe Alison Escott make poetic and unusually stripped-back music that riffs on gender and sexuality by way of a James M. Cain pulp novel. “Life after transitioning is the closest that you ever get to time travel, in a way,” Escott says. “You try to be somebody that you wish was there in the past. You see people who remind you of yourself at a certain time, so you think, ‘What’s the thing that I can say or do for this person?’”

Culture December 1, 2018

Boots Riley’s latest coup

Boots Riley has turned from music to film to raise consciousness of the need for collective struggle against capitalism, as seen in Sorry to Bother You, his satire set in the dispiriting world of telemarketing. “Unless you engage in collective class struggle, you’re not making things better. You’re not making things better by making some art that exposes the way things are. You’re not making things better by not buying Starbucks and buying this other thing instead. The way you make things better is by being involved in class struggle, which is kept out of so many films. Any rebellion, especially class struggle, is just not in that world.”

Culture November 24, 2018

The passions of artist Saskia Boddeke

The immersive works of multimedia artist Saskia Boddeke reflect her belief in the need for deep, emotional engagement in art. It was a passion shared by Matisse’s Russian patron Sergey Shchukin, the subject of Boddeke’s film installation in the Masters of modern art from the Hermitage exhibition. “Art is an absolute necessity; it is a universal thing we share. All over the world, we express ourselves in painting, in music, in speaking, in putting words in an order that touch your heart. That is how we recognise things. Art makes us civil. Art makes us look – not only at paintings, but at other people. It shows us the beauty in difference.”

review

Culture December 22, 2018

The gilded age of Netflix

The Golden Age of television is giving way to a period more gilded, but streaming giant Netflix has still bankrolled some worthy viewing this year, in the form of Dumplin’ and American Vandal.

Culture December 15, 2018

Revisiting 2018’s best albums

In his final review for the year, Dave Faulkner looks back at the best Australian albums of 2018 that he missed along the way.

Culture December 15, 2018

Patricia Piccinini & Joy Hester: Through love…

Surprisingly, proximity to Patricia Piccinini’s unsettling hybrid forms brings the darker themes of painter Joy Hester’s work to the fore, in the joint exhibition Through love... at TarraWarra.

portrait

Culture November 3, 2018

António Serzedelo, revolutionary

A visit to the Lisbon apartment of polymath activist António Serzedelo.

Culture October 13, 2018

Author Deb Kandelaars

The writer of Memoirs of a Suburban Girl on her long road out of a violent relationship. “There I am, right in the middle of my teenage years and suddenly in a serious relationship. A relationship that pushes away my other life. Being hit was beyond my world experience. I didn’t want it to happen again. I started treading a little bit more carefully, and that set up a power dynamic.”

Culture October 6, 2018

Theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord

A chat with theatre designer Tracy Grant Lord, side stage at a rehearsal for Twelfth Night.

books

Culture December 22, 2018

Best Books of 2018 #2

No Friend But the Mountains, the electrifying “memoir of ideas” by the refugee journalist-philosopher Behrouz Boochani is my book of the year. Boochani defied every attempt of successive governments to deny refugees …

Culture December 22, 2018

Best Books of 2018 #1

If you told me at the beginning of 2018 that my book of the year would be the memoir of a transgender man who took up boxing, I would have offered you generous odds against it. But here is Thomas Page McBee’s tough, tender, wise and moving Amateur, …

Culture December 20, 2018

Quarterly Essay 72 – Net Loss: The Inner Life in the Digital Age

Welcome to The Summer Library: selected extracts from the best new books this summer.