September 2014

I wanted to check how you feel today?

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a resource





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the comprehension gap: why we don’t know what to say about the election – or what to do about the climate

…the wind is strong again today and gusty and blowing in from the West. Why mention the wind? because the climate is fucked-up-edly weird.

I was sorely tempted to vote for the Climate Change candidate on Election Day.

Everyone we know is running around saying not only is the climate wrong so is the vote! Flat-back-headed fker returned with an historic majority – last time this shit happened was in the twenties. People really don’t know what to say or what to think about this. Which is really interesting … to me. Because it means a lot of people are completely out of touch with … the majority!

There is also the complete disarray and political stupidity of the Labour party, the head honchos of which stood down the smart and logical candidate, David Shearer, eighteen months before the election, at which time they were polling at around 30%. Putting in Cunliffe (a name the spelling of which you don’t want to mess with) cut the vote for Labour by 10% immediately – and as Josie said on the TV3 panel on Saturday night (worth a look some time – on demand), if the party wants votes it needs to mean ‘labour’! the workers’ party! representing those who work against the managers and executives and bankers – people like John Key.

My theory is that a gap has opened between government and nation because public policy is now handled by private companies and organisations and institutions, privately owned, that is. Implementation of policy – even when it is in the public’s interest or that of a group inside society – is separated from government and government cannot be called to account for its poor or ineffective implementation. This happens – this gap opens – because of the insistence that every factor and element of public life, of political life, and maybe even of life itself, is run by a market. Schools and universities, for example, now report on learning ‘outcomes’ – this is exactly the same as productivity. The model in question is that of a competitive marketplace: schools and universities are allocated funding according to how competitive they are – measured and compared by how productive they are of ‘outcomes’. They are still funded, I hear you say, and that funding comes out of the public purse, from tax-payers. But now they have to compete for funding, they have to be run like businesses.

What has this got to do with the gap between the government and the governed? The neoliberal market-led model has been so successful that the governed don’t recognise that they are under the governance of markets because this is the way the government has constituted them, this is how the government deals with the governed – by making them into markets. School children constitute the market for education just like supermarket-shoppers constitute the market for Signature Range products.

Of course, the markets are in turn governed … not by public interest or national interest but by the interests of share-holders. This new abomination ‘stake-holders’ only appears to take the place of those with a financial interest in the ‘outcome’ – it really stands for ‘consumers’.


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what do we want to care about?


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“That Yasusada’s “false” presentation proved to disturb and scandalize a small corner of our culture at century’s end is, it seems to me, perfectly appropriate and precisely to the point of the work’s force and meaning. After all, is the matter of nuclear omnicide and everything it implies in terms of our collective psyche a tamed and settled matter?”

a brilliant interview with Kent Johnson conducted by John Bradley


the background here


quote: even, when there are signs in red-ink all over the window that say “what you see through this window is not real,” the viewer ignores the signs, and looks on uncritically, enthralled. So the question arises as to what it is the viewer is seduced by, drugged by, before coming to the looking-glass. It’s a serious question when it comes to the whole troubled issue of “witness,”


from the interview here

quote: imaginative treatments of Hiroshima or the Holocaust extend the work that only actual witnesses can begin. And it must be extended.”

And: if we circumscribe formal or presentational boundaries for its practice and expression, we effectively say that testimony and remembrance have a limit


AND: “For Motokiyu, again, the strongest and most sincere “reality” he could attain was through the creation of the most real human character he was able to imagine– one with rough edges, bad language habits, quirky sexual predilections, deep longings for his loved ones, unresolved feelings of anger, strange flights of ironic humor, instincts of compassion and generosity, embarrassing spells of confusion, stumblings into pettiness and egocentricity, unusual tastes for the foreign, etc.”

finally – not finally, the Yasusada is beautiful – : “Our collective, pornographic preparation for mass death can’t be explained without the undertow of Thanatos, always pulling at our toes and teasing, teasing us toward the ultimate snuff-flick our common body would star in, so to speak.”

National Scandal

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textured passages exhibition 9-12 Sept. 2014 image 1


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TEXTURED PASSAGES at ST PAUL St Gallery Three, 8-12 September 2014









textured passages features work by Jo Larkin, Simon Taylor, with the addition of Shima and the intrication of Minus Theatre. The passages are held together by a shared love of texture, the imbricated textures of individual lives, the texture of events in time, the texture of history and chance, of languages, bodies and of music, the texture of images, movements, pulses and of empty space.




Minus Theatre’s textured passages extemporises with music and text. The performers each found a text they felt a strong connection to: Chen Chen‘s piece, in Mandarin, poses a philosophical problem about transformation and identity; Jeffrey Gane‘s piece is a love poem in English; Lisa Greenfield‘s piece comes from a film quotation in English; Jaci Gwaliasi‘s piece takes the lyrics of an American song; Maria Kim‘s, in Korean, tells a story of captivity; Natalia Spreys‘s tells a witch’s tale in Russian; I chose an English epigram. These texts are performed, for the two shows, on Monday 8 Sept. at 6pm and on Friday 12 Sept. at 6pm, either for the words, if it is to them the performer feels the deeper connection, or for the sense, if to this the connection is deeper. These texts hang in the gallery in their languages of performance. We have treated music as another language, alongside the natural languages spoken and the ‘made-up’ language of theatre. Instruments used in performance, some of them purpose-built, are on exhibition. The soundtrack for the exhibition is by Shima (Michael Ferriss). Thank you for attending.




(Minus Theatre is on Facebook, pending an independent website.)









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