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16 MARCH 2012

Babakiueria: the colonialisation of European Australians by Indigenous Australians

"Presenter Duranga Manika (Michelle Torres) describes her fascination with white people and their customs and explains how she spent six months living with a 'typical white family' (Tony Barry, Cecily Polson, Kelan Angel, Margeurita Haynes). She also asks members of the general public for their opinions on white people and speaks to the Minister for White Affairs (Bob Maza).

[Geoffrey] Atherden's script takes stereotypes of Australian culture and, with tongue–in–cheek humour, views them as though for the first time, as mysterious, alien and strange. Here, the barbecue is singled out. Elsewhere Manika describes the football match as ritualised violence and betting at the TAB as a religion, while a police commissioner calls the Anzac Day March a ritual where white people 'honour their warrior ancestors' but wonders why it can't be done at home.

Presenter Duranga Manika's ethnographic study of white people simplifies, patronises and mystifies her subjects. Every mundane detail of this one family's everyday life is invested with serious cultural significance. Bob Maza's Minister for White Affairs compresses a history of government treatment of Indigenous Australians into one self–satisfied, authoritative figure. It is interesting that while these characters treat 'white' culture with such fascination, they treat 'black' culture as such a given that the audience does not find out much about it."

(Kate Matthews, Australian Screen)

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TAGS

17881986Aboriginalalien and strangeANZAC • ANZAC Day • ASO • audio and visual heritageaudiovisual archiveAustraliaAustralian cultureAustralian Screen • authoritative figure • Babakiueria • barbecue • Barbecue area • BBQ • belongingblack culture • Bob Maz • Bob Maza • Cecily Polson • colonial misrecognition • colonisationcultural anthropologycultural critiquecultural perspectivecultural significanceculture and customsethicsethnographic studyethnography • Euro-Australians • European Australians • fictitious land • First Australiansflagfootball • for their own good • gambling • Geoffrey Atherden • government treatment • humourIndigenousIndigenous AustraliansIndigenous peopleinvasion • Kelan Angel • Margeurita Haynes • Michelle Torres • Minister for White Affairs • mockumentary • National Film and Sound Archivenative peopleNFSApatronisingpostcolonial • powerboat • racial inequality • racial profiling • religionritual • ritualised violence • role-reversal • satiresatiricalsettlementstereotype • TAB • tongue-in-cheek • Tony Barry • typical white family • untamed land • white culture • white people • white settlement

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 JULY 2011

2011 Calendar: Mapping Stereotypes

"A map collection depicting various national stereotypes in Europe and the world taken from the Mapping Stereotypes project by Yanko Tsvetkov."

(Yanko Tsvetkov, 2011)

Fig.1 Yanko Tsvetkov. "The World According to USA"

Fig.2 Yanko Tsvetkov. "Europe According to Gay Men"

Fig.3 Yanko Tsvetkov. "Hitchhiker's Guide to The Arab Spring"

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TAGS

2011ArabArab SpringcalendarchartcitizenshipEuropegayguide • hitchhiker • illustrationinformation graphics • male height • map • Mapping Stereotypes • national stereotypes • statisticsstereotypeUSAvisual communicationvisual designvisualisation • Yanko Tsvetkov

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
21 MARCH 2011

Returning to Michael Powell's Peeping Tom after 15 years

"Peeping Tom has been widely celebrated as one of the great films about looking, about consumption, about cinema, about art, about the artist, about the relation between the artist, the artwork and the audience, about the relation between looking and pleasure, looking and desire, looking and death, and so on. All very familiar stuff from Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and film studies (the film's tailor–made for film studies – bring in some Freud here, some Bataille and de Sade there, add a little Lacan and Virillio, etc). The aggressive and violating camera, as Scorsese put it. And this is partly the problem with Peeping Tom. Like the films of Peter Greenaway or David Cronenberg, Peeping Tom is more like an academic essay about voyeurism and scopophilia, a join–the–dots lecture on the pleasures, risks and dangers of art. Plus, Peeping Tom employs the most stereotypical, cliched thriller/ murder mystery plot you can imagine: a young man, a loner, a misfit, introspective, morbid, an outsider figure, abused as a child, etc etc etc, who murders sexualized women (prostitutes and actresses), and is befriended by an innocent he cannot bring himself to corrupt or kill.

Powell attacks the subject of voyeurism and murder aggressively in the opening scenes: the close–ups on cameras, projectors and eyes, the mirrors and reflections, exaggerated sounds (the rattle of a projector, a dripping tap, a heartbeat, whispered voiceover), and his love of visual rhymes and puns (eyes, drinks, sticks and tripods). You can see Powell having a ball in orchestrating his elaborate camera moves, his erotic, sleazy mise–en–abyme, his film–within–a–film tropes (Powell playing the murderer's father and torturer in home movies which he shot himself), the multiple reflections, mirrors, lenses, cameras, projections and screens (every shot in Peeping Tom seems to have been lit by a raking, unfiltered, unflattering horizontal light). It's not that Powell isn't at the top of his game in Peeping Tom – in its way, Peeping Tom is every bit as inventive as Powell's best work – it's that the plot, the characters, the situations are so cheesy, predictable, and shallow.

Despite all this, though, Peeping Tom does have bite and a nastiness which age hasn't dimmed. Peeping Tom also still feels 'contemporary' in its psychoanalytic treatment of a serial killer plot which draws on prostitution, cinema, acting, and pornography. And the conceit of having a murder in the opening shots which's replayed a moment later over the credits is a tour–de–force (one of the film's best cinematic ideas, this says everything necessary, and economically, in the first five minutes)."

(Jeremy Robinson)

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TAGS

1960abuseaggressionartartistartworkaudienceBritish directorBritish film directorcameracinemaclicheclose-upconsumptionDavid Cronenbergdeathdesire • Emeric Pressburger • erotic • essayfilmfilm studies • film-within-a-film • Freudian • Georges Bataille • innocenceintrospectionJacques Lacan • join-the-dots • Leo Marks • loner • looking • Marquis de Sade • Martin ScorseseMichael Powellmirrormise-en-abymemisfitmorbidmurdermurder mysteryoutsider • Paul Virilio • Peeping Tom (film) • Peter Greenawaypleasurepornographyprojectorprostitutionpsychoanalysis • pun • reflectionscopophilia • scoptophilia • serial killer • sexualised • sleazy • stereotypethrillerUKviolation • visual rhyme • voyeurism

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 AUGUST 2006

Critique through emphasising clichéd cinematic plots

"A collage of Hollywood melodramas of the 1950s and 1960s, filmed directly from the television set. The constantly recurring motifs of suspense and clichés of plot make it possible to move seamlessly among scenes from different films with different protagonists: uneasy sleep, getting up, listening at the door, turning on the lights, being startled, etc.

In the montage, the movements and gestures of the actresses–stars like Lana Turner, Tippi Hedren, and Grace Kelly– seem choreographed and planned for each other. The sound track (Dirk Schäfer) supports this effect with connecting passages of sound that imitate the stereotypes of the genre. The treatment concentrates the dramatic shift from the familiar to the eerie and shows how women become the victims of the voyeuristic glance of film."

(Media Art Net)

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TAGS

1990 • choreograph • clicheculture jammingcut-up technique • Dirk Schafer • filmGrace KellyHollywoodHollywood starHollywood starlet • Home Stories (1990) • hysteria • Lana Turner • mash-up • Matthias Muller • Media Art Netmelodramamontageparodyre-purposestereotype • Tippi Hedren • unmanageable emotional excesses • window
21 JUNE 2006

Virtual Heritage: Open To Interpretation

Mia Thornton (University of Brighton)
With the accelerated spread of globalisation and multiculturalism, questions surrounding cultural difference are becoming increasingly prominent and complex. The recent events surrounding the Mohammad caricatures show how representations of culturally significant figures can elicit a multiplicity of reactions from people, including anger, violence and intolerance. In the media, different groups responding to these events were described on one side as "not giv(ing) up their critical spirit out of fear of being accused of Islamophobia" and on another side as "what we are looking for is that you take our sensitivities in your definition [of freedom of expression]". These and other similar events reveal the complex issues involved with understanding the relationship between interpretation and cultural difference. Even if in the past few decades there has been decisive moves against perpetuating monocultural or international stereotypes, particularly in the visual communication field, there still remain many issues to be resolved in the domain of cultural difference.

CONTRIBUTOR

Mia Thornton
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