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Latest Topics

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Touchable Art in a Time of No Touch

My article investigates touchable art and introduces artists who recover in their practices the bodily needs for physical contact. Amongst the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 are ‘no touch’ policies and the closing of art institutions for unlimited periods of time.
But our crave for touch grows with the passing of time, and so does our need for seeing new, beautiful things.
My article suggests different ways in which the public can soothe their desire for physical contact by experiencing art in the virtual space. It engages with the works of British artist Lucy Clout, Berlin-based Americans Claire Tolan and Holly Herndon and American artist Julie Weitz. Most recently, Australian artist Michelle Vine was awarded a residency with Museum of Brisbane for which she produced work that brought together touchable art and participatory art forms.

  • Very intriguing and topical idea! You seem to already have artists and/or touchable artworks in mind, though. Perhaps you could mention them in the topic already, to guide the reflection? – Gavroche 2 weeks ago
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  • A query, Crisia. Is this a topic suggestion, i.e. for other writers to consider writing about, or are you announcing your intention to write about this subject? – Amyus 2 weeks ago
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  • Thank you for your notes!I'm announcing my intention to write about this subject :) – Crisia 2 weeks ago
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So Instagrammable: Social Media and the Modern-Day Romance

What is the effect of social media stalking, chatting, and posting on budding modern-day romances? Is there a difference between chatting over text or sending a snap to a potential partner? Examine how anxiety and mistrust flourish under the social media spotlight and how our methods of romantic communication have changed over the years from verbal contact to the sharing of images. Also perhaps consider the kinds of images shared and the effect they have on our psyche.

  • That's an interesting topic to look at, especially the creation of online personae. There are a couple of art projects undertaken on social media which act as a comment and critique on the severly mediatised societies we live in today. Maybe choose some case studies and let the writers analyse their effects in more depth. – Kaya 4 months ago
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  • Great topic! Or maybe topics? I think the topic can be narrowed down. – JamesBKelley 4 months ago
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  • Interesting topic. Perhaps make it a little more concise. I think the last topic would be a good topic anxiety and how social media has changed romantic communication over the years. – birdienumnum17 3 months ago
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The Politics of a Single Photograph

Often, major historical events are retrospectively represented by a single photograph. Some examples that come to mind are Tank Man at Tiananmen Square, the numerous and harrowing photos that arose from the Vietnam War, or the photograph of the symbolic gesture of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pouring a handful of red dirt into Indigenous Australian man Vincent Lingiari’s hand.
These photos, arguably, sum up the historical events from which they arose, despite only depicting one split second of them. An article on this could explore many factors. Why is it photographs specifically that garner the most attention? Is it due to an artistic preference, over that of reading, or is photography a better medium to depict history? Then, with the specific photographs in discussion, why them? What do they represent about each event that is so important? Is there a problem with using a single photograph to represent an entire event? For example, does it exclude details? Are they framed in a way that is self-serving for a party that is involved? If they are posed, rather than candid, does this further complicate them as historically accurate?
Or, conversely, is the use of photography in this way a good thing? Does it allow important and poignant moments in history to be recognisable and remembered?

  • When considering the recent exposure of several low-ranking 'celebrities' and 'news' personalities who have been caught posing for photo opportunities amongst the post-riot clean-ups in American cities, this is an apt topic suggestion. A photograph may well speak a thousand words, but it may equally reveal a thousand lies. – Amyus 1 month ago
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  • I think this topic could also be expanded to discuss journalist photographers, who are often risking their lives to document these historic moments, and the effects the photos have had on careers, such as the rebuke from the public for stopping to take a photo rather than stopping an injustice before them (such as people being beaten by officers, a starving child being hunted by a vulture - both are real photos) – jkrawlings 4 weeks ago
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  • You might add the Zaprunder film, not a photo, but as significant. In the case of the death of George Floyd, without a picture to accompany his situation, how much reaction would there be? There is a situation that took place, perhaps a year ago, in Mississippi County, Missouri. No pictures accompany the death of this black man, but it is now being investigated again with some comments that there are similarities to the Floyd situation. The power of a photo can be seen when there is none. How a photo can mobilize and which ones lead to change and which ones did not, could be examined in an essay on this topic. – Joseph Cernik 2 weeks ago
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Should Conventional Theater Change to Accommodate Diverse Actors?

Musical theater is a huge and well-loved medium, and in recent years has given us some cutting-edge hits (Legally Blonde, Wicked, Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, etc.) Yet there are some accepted "rules" of theater culture that still feel like stereotypes or "boxing in" actors. For instance: sopranos get the leads; mezzos and altos play "witches and britches." Tenors play romantic leads; basses play villains. Actresses past the age of 30 can expect to play mothers and grandmothers, but not love interests for their own sake. If you are a white male, you cannot convincingly play a male or female of any color (although I have conversely seen white women tapped to play WOCs). Actors with disabilities can only really expect casting in disabled roles.

Most theater aficionados will tell you there are solid reasons behind this thinking, even truth. Then again, in 2019, should conventional theater change more to suit the needs and desires of actors? Could or should a musical be written to give an ingenue role to an alto or a hero role to a bass? Is it pushing the envelope to allow actors of certain orientations to play outside of them, or for a white actor to play a POC (outside of a historical context)? In short, what would and should truly "diverse," "inclusive" theater look like?

  • I think that, in some respects, it's easier for theatre to accommodate diversity than other media because, moreso than in any other medium, any actor who's qualified can take a particular role regardless of race, gender, or background. This is especially true of school performances, which have to work with the available students. I've seen a rendition of one of Shakespeare's history plays that featured Black actors, for example; and on YouTube I've found versions of Little Shop of Horrors where Seymour was biracial and the dentist was Asian. I've even found a theatrical version of the Screwtape Letters where Screwtape was played (really expertly, I might add) by a woman. – Debs 7 months ago
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  • Hi, Debs,That sounds really cool. I'm glad your theater experience was more inclusive than mine. My schools (high and college) had GREAT theater programs I so wanted to be a part of. But, esp. in the case of my high school director, I was not given that chance and I think it was because of cerebral palsy (couldn't prove it, and if I'd said something it would've been, "Oh, you just think everybody's picking on you.") But the truth was, even after calling my acting phenomenal on more than one occasion, that director in particular would only assign me chorus or walk-on roles. The justification was, "Well, the leads have to dance," but chorus lines are basically there to *dance*, at least in my productions. There were other examples of non-diversity there too, such as the lead *always* went to a first soprano--and the year it went to a mezzo, of course, I wasn't in the running. But, this director was *also* willing to cast a white girl as a Hispanic lead (but not a girl of color as a white lead) ??????Anyway, it's only been recently that I realized the full lack of inclusivity and diversity in the world at large and the theater world, so...there you go. Again, we need more stories like yours. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago
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Locked

Separating Art from Artists

Earlier this year, Hachette Book Group came under significant criticism for picking up the rights to publish writer-director-actor Woody Allen’s memoir. Much of the criticism was centred on the seeming hypocrisy of the same firm that published Ronan Farrow’s "Catch and Kill," a definitive account of the #MeToo era. This was just the latest in a string of filmmakers, writers, actors and other artists being "cancelled" by the court of public opinion. I propose an article that will address, in a balanced and sensitive fashion, the extent to which people should separate the public work of these artists from their alleged private misdeeds.

Taken by kerrybaps (PM) 1 month ago.
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The Heroes Journey: A self isolating adventure

We are living in difficult times, and many of us are dealing with the five stages of grief. The initial excitement of change, the political reassurances, the cancellations, and finally what could mean an 18 month quarantine. No matter your living situation you are allowed to grieve. And should this continue, we all need to learn how to be alone. Museum and library connections are available online, universities are offering free classes, gardening and cooking all the things you never had time for are here. If you’re anything like me, this quarantine is a blessing and a curse, for as much as I miss my friends, my mental illness was severely effecting my stress levels back home- not one to quit I refused to give up, so to me it feels like the universe sent me home. I’m doing better than ever and graduate next week, what are your quarantine journeys?

  • I will definitely revise this to include a broader and not so personal narrative guide to handling isolation – chloedubisch 2 months ago
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  • This is a great topic, but I would agree to make it a little less personal and more broad Perhaps navigating the quarantine: drawbacks and strengths? Or you could focus on resources or activities that are blossoming during quarantine. – birdienumnum17 2 months ago
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  • I personally like the idea of making it a personal topic. I would used the sentence, "No matter your living situation you are allowed to grieve" as the title and create a series of stories around it. – amberflynn93 2 months ago
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Is shelter-in-place helping to define "dress for yourself"

During these uncertain times, it seems that the things we do for ourselves– without any exterior motivations– are becoming clearer. The phrase "dress for yourself" has gained a lot of momentum amongst those who actively appreciate fashion as well as those who do not give it much thought. Without the complicating factors of social validation (whether that is conformity or aiming to stand out), this article will analyze whether or not quarantine is allowing people to truly dress for themselves.

  • Hm, I think it would be interesting to analyze how fashion is/will be impacted by quarantine. There are many on social media who rely on taking pictures in their backyard to be okay, while others have given up entirely and stay in pajamas. In the sense of fashion, which is ever-changing, what would quarantine mean for style and what do you make of these effects on the public? – Scharina 3 months ago
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  • I think this could be an interesting topic if it considered how quarantine will impact fashion afterwords. I only say this because many of us are not really dressing at all(pajamas). – BriLeigh 3 months ago
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  • I don't think it's quite as simple as "not going out" leading to a lack of concern about peer pressure and social norms. The conventional wisdom, as I understand it, is that people should strive to maintain as many aspects of their "normal" routine as possible to maintain a sense of purpose and fulfillment--and this includes dress. One angle to explore, then, would be whether the clothes that people choose to wear at this time reflect their degree of coping. – Debs 3 months ago
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  • Pyjamas=Prison Chic – Amyus 3 months ago
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  • I recently completed a uni course on the body in society and think this topic would benefit from some research into social science theories of aesthetic embodiment and Cartesian dualism. I personally rely on clothing to express myself and during quarantine have both seen how little it actually matters what I wear, and how important it is to me to construct the perfect outfit for my mood, errand, environment, etc. I was also wondering about the cosmetics industry. If people aren't going out, are they buying less makeup or wearing less makeup? Are they realising the ways makeup oppresses them in their daily life? I find makeup ads so funny now because they act as if "the right foundation can help a woman tackle the world", but now that we're working from home, what use does it have? What use did it ever have? – Tylah Jackowski 4 weeks ago
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The value of ‘bad’ art

Explore the notion of creativity for creativity’s sake. With Covid-19 isolation, we are seeing a lot of people filling time by making things, from banana bread to paintings. What is the value of making stuff, even if it’s not ‘good’ aka. not pretty, or moving, or delicious. You could also explore what makes people identify as ‘creative’ or not – what is the difference between an ‘artist’ v. ‘someone who makes art’?

  • Interesting topic! Creating is therapeutic in itself. It does not have to be pretty, or yummy--the process of creating is in our own human nature and within the process we find things out about ourselves. Instead of the value of bad art it could be The value of the process of creating. The artist and someone who makes art is a whole other debate and topic--that makes something "art" and something just a creation. I think that depends on your training. Anyone can pick up a drum or some kitchen utensils and play a beat or sing to make music, but a musician is someone who studied and trained in music for years---but everyone and anyone can make music. The same with art. The title of an artist and musician comes with level of education I believe, but that does not mean you can't be an artist by just drawing at home. Anyone and everyone can be a creator and an artist of some sort. Maybe narrow down the topic to either the benefits or what makes the difference between an artist and someone who makes art. – birdienumnum17 3 months ago
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  • Well, the advantage of "bad" work (whether so-bad-it's-good or just plain bad) is that it provides an example of what not to do. For instance, the example of the Twilight series shows that if you want to write a supernatural romance, you should NOT make the supernatural partner abuse or lord it over the more "ordinary" one. More generally, for someone who is creating just because they want to, an initial work, for all its faults, provides a jumping-off point that they can use to refine their craft, by learning from their prior mistakes. – Debs 2 months ago
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