Sunday, August 28, 2016


Rephotographed photo of Australian Islamic Centre. Photo: Julie Clarke (c) 2016
When I was a teenager I attended a catholic girls school and in the vast distance we could see the outline of the Altona Oil Refinary. The siren would periodically sound and the noise would be carried on the wind creating a certain anxiety within each of us about the possibility of impending disaster. Today I went to the NGV at Federation Square where I saw the large wooden sculptures by Bruce Armstronng, but I also saw the drawings, photographs and ground floor plans of the Australian mosque and Islamic centre at Hobson's Bay, which is nearly complete. I noted that although the amazing building designed by Glenn Murcutt is a fine example of 21st century architecture, females who attend this mosque will still be separated from male worshippers; they will be required to pray upstairs. When I saw the photograph of the mosque with the oil refinary in the background it looked futuristic, like the still from a science fiction film.  I considered the juxtaposition of these two structures hinted at their possibly incendary nature and how the siren sound and the call to prayer will instill fear in some who remain ignorant of the workings of both establishments.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Picturing our children and art...

School children sitting outside Parliament. 24 August 2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (c)
I began the week attempting to work through several issues, the first being the fact that I was surprised female commentators were shocked about a website in which young men hold a cache of naked or partially naked photographs of young women swapped or traded between members of their web community who also own and distrbute surreptitious photographs or ones taken by the girls themselves and posted on social media sites. Apparently, in this flesh market, young women can be easily identified by their name or school they attend and they are served up to the male viewer as a catalogue of bodily positions appealing to their sexual fantasies. Given that male and female teenagers are sending each other dick or vag pics via text messages and by nature of digital imagery the photographs can easily distributed to other friends not in the boys or girls original circle, the occurrence of such a phenomenon as outlined above does not surprise me at all, for erotic postcards and the distribution of such has been around for centuries. What does surprise me is why young men and women feel they need to show their genitalia in a glut of already pornographic images on the internet. I am aware and many young women are aware, that women, particularly pop culture singers rely heavily on the sexualisation of their body in order to gain attention in their video clips and, facial and bodily beauty is prime currency in this era in which the body IS everything. Is trading photographs of their genitalia a way of separating one site of their sexuality away from their real body; objectification a way for them to hide their self and identity, whilst simultaneously associating themself with the raw base of what they are trading? Could this trade be an assertion of an uncomfortable knowledge known by teenagers that ultimately each of them are only interested in sex and that many relationships no matter how wholesome end in the sexual act. Alternatively, could the revealing of genitalia, divorced from the individual be an aggressive act to dissasociate self from gender? Perhaps the girls are saying that they know what the boys want and they will give it to them virtually, but there is no way that they will get it in actuality.
My second preoccupation over the past week is my inability to like the art I've been viewing. I didn't really enjoy the Painting exhibition at ACCA last week, however, having said that I did enjoy some of Roberty Owen's digital color paintings I viewed with Leonie Osowski today and I did enjoy Jessica Rankin's poetic piece Could I Just Have the Sober Hand, just one of her works currently showing at Anna Schwartz Gallery. Leonie and I did a gallery hop down Flinders Lane and we had to admit there was little to like or challenge us although Leonie liked some of the sculptural pieces at ARC Gallery. Lisa Minogue's The Coloured Girls at fortyfive downstairs was too literal and the devise of covering black skinned women with colored face masks was trite to say the least. Lunch in the sun at Signature at the Paris end of Collins Street was good, as was coffee at Federation Square late in the afternoon even though the day had turned cold again. I thought of Mark McDean several times during the day. He was a friend (now deceased) that would regularly accompany me on a gallery hop around the city. In the end the most praise Leonie and I had during the day was the tesselated tiles on the floors of St. Paul's and the stunningly beautiful stain glass windows.

Monday, August 8, 2016


ANYTHING BUT HUMAN is celebrating seven years. Initiated in August 2009 by Dr Julie Clarke the blog includes film reviews (71), book reviews (35), art exhibition reviews (35), on line curated art exhibitions as well as political (54) and social commentary (90), personal and philosophical reflections, some academic articles, poetry, art and photographs by Julie as well as those of others; has had approximately one third of a million views over that seven year period assisted in part by the fact that in the past few years each post is automatically posted to Julie's Google+ account and links to some posts on the blog have been made on Facebook. Julie has made 1422 posts during that period and she hopes that you will dip into the various tags on the right side of the page and revist her thoughts and comments from the past. She would like to thank her followers and those who read the blog from time to time. Without an audience the blog would be nothing. So, thanks again for all your support. Please feel free to share this post and the link to ANYTHING BUT HUMAN on your own social media page.

Embrace of the serpent and of the ram

Ram in Treasury Gardens. Photo: Julie Clarke (2016)
On my way to the 11am session this morning at the Kino Cinema to see Embrace of the Serpent (2015 Ciro Guerra), which was an aesthetically beautiful and enriching experience filmed in monochrome, that could have been told in less than the 125 minute screen time; I photographed a ram grazing on the lush grass in Treasury Gardens. Word on the street was that it belonged to the homeless person who pitched a tent in the gardens not far from where (s)he'd tethered the ram. I used my Windows phone to take a grab whilst the film was in progress (see  below)
Embrace of the Serpent screen grab in theatre. Photo: Julie Clarke

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wallaby photograph by Erin Powell

Wallaby, Doongala Forest. Photo: Erin Powell (c)

I just had to post this beautiful photograph taken by my son Erin in the Doongala Forest on Friday. The Wallaby appears camogflauged by the muted colors of the surrounding landscape. It's a delicate photograph that shows how much the Wallaby is integrated into it's environment. Congratulations Erin on capturing such an amazing moment in time.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Art, art, art

It was fantastic to see the sun shining this morning and Leonie and I took advantage of it over lunch at The Malthouse. After lunch and much discussion we saw the Contempory Painting exhibition next door at ACCA. I must say I wasn't impressed with most of the works, however the Louise Hearman painting was my favorite.
Louise Hearman,

Better I think was the exhibition currently showing at the Margaret Lawence Gallery at VCA. I thought that the suite of paintings by Ella Dunn really shone. Unfortunately I didn't take a photograph of her works. However, I did photograph my second favoritie in the exhibition but didn't write down the artists name. Talk about a stuff up!

The potentially erotic imagery resonated I think with the close up photographs I took of my own body and exhibited at the University of Melbourne a few years back, entitled Aut(o)ptics(o)ma. Leonie and I completed the afternoon with coffee at Federation Square and we were grateful to the staff member who lit two freestanding heaters either side of us because the sun had disappeared and the day was growing cold.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Clouds over Richmond

Clouds overRichmond 4/08/2016. Photo: Julie Clarke (2016)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Erin's Rainbow

I love a rainbow and consider it lucky seeing one. Many cultures believe that seeing a rainbow means that it's sending you a message. Is your life dull and routine? Perhaps you need to add  more color to it. Are your ready to cross the bridge and make change? Only the viewer  knows what the message may be. Anyway, here's a beautiful rainbow taken late this afternoon by my son Erin Powell .
Rainbow facing Whitehorse Road, Mitcham. Photo: Erin Powell (2016)