Did You Enjoy Your Start?

We zip through Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and back home to Canberra for this visual sociology, so strap in for a look past January-February 2016. Get ready for some hardcore existential public art, profound reflections on racism and injustice and lots of gallahs.


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Play. 01 January

“fire and water” by artist Judy Watson. Outdoors installation in between the National Library of Australia (seen at the end of this video) and Questacon, Australia’s national science museum. Listen with the sound on! 10 January


Perth delivers a burger joint with 90s grunge/alternative music. I know all the words to everything. Thoughts arrive like butterflies. Breathe out so I can breathe you in. A candidate for the soulmate bled. 6 February

It’s Sunday. I’m working today and it’s almost 40° so I’m doing this in style at the Perth Cultural Centre, where they’re showing short art films from around the world with gorgeous music as part of the Fringe World Festival. It is very very hot even in the shade. I believe this film is titled Gnarly Bay. The narrator asks: “Is it possible to enjoy this life? Did you enjoy your start?” Existentialism getting too real as I’m about to embark on a long, interesting but intense journey. Need to take a break by ducking into the Art Gallery of Western Australia! 7 February

This is “American Dream” a large mural painting by Brett Whiteley, one of my favourite artists. He created this work whilst living in the USA on a prestigious scholarship. He became disillusioned with his temporary homeland and created this work as a critique of history and the political climate of the Vietnam War, which his country, Australia, was also involved in. Upon completion, his American art dealer refused to show it so it was first exhibited in Australia. I’ve stared at this painting countless times since I was a teenager in books and this is the fourth or so time I’ve seen it in the flesh. It never loses its impact.  7 February

“Untitled” by Ronald Jones features a replica of the chair where Black American Edward Earl Johnson sat to eat his last meal before his execution in 1987. He was later exonerated for the murder and sexual assault of a woman, Mississippi state trooper. The music box in the background plays “Always” the song sang by Johnson’s family before he was murdered by the state in the gas chamber. The artist, now a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Sweden, chose to depict this case as a travesty of justice and the outcome of endemic racism. 7 February

“Freedom, a Fable: A Curious Interpretation of the Wit of a Negress in Troubled Times” by Kara Walker (1997). The artist writes:

“I think really the whole problem with racism and its continuing legacy in this country is that we simply love it. Who would we be without the ‘struggle’?”

7 February

In Seagull City, it’s seagulls all day, every seagull day. 8 February

What a bunch of gallahs! 8 February


Chinese music in the streets of my old hometown of Adelaide! 9 February


Both the principles of of interior design occupational health and safety laws are no barrier to the creativity of this hotel. 18 February


Zebra life.

Sociology of trolleys

Today’s Sociology of Trolleys features a couple of child-free carts who became frustrated by society’s expectation that they procreate. They were sick and tired of social condemnation calling them “selfish” and random shopping trolleys asking them silly questions like “Who will look after you when you’re old?” So they ran away from the shopping centre and ended up in central Canberra, happy to use their disposable income as they desired, and not be required to endlessly complain about their kid carts, punctuated by “Oh but it’s SO WORTH IT!” Fin. 8 January

Many people believe that Canberra is the capital city of Australia. That’s only part of the truth, for Canberra is also the capital city of abandoned shopping trolleys. If you do *not* see a trolley on every corner,you know you have left Canberra and you should be very frightened indeed. 15 January

Sociology of Hotel Art

This Perth sociology of hotel art is titled “Broome Horizon” and is signed by the artist. It has zero connection to the rest of the decor nor the city I’m in. This is not particularly good art but it’s much better than most hotel art. Oh, the sweet agony of hotel art: this one sits somewhere in between puzzling and terrible. 6 February

This quizzical sociology of hotel art choice of The Black Cat Cafe is from an otherwise well decorated hotel in Adelaide. The fish in this scene I get in its feline connection, though the fruit and trumpet are an enigma…. but what is this painting is doing in a hotel in the first place is a critical thinking mystery. 18 February