Animals, Fairy Tales, film and visual cultures, Folktales, French, History, Poetry, Research

The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram

boston terrier wearing unicorn pet costume
Photo by mark glancy on Pexels.com

Submission by Dr Jenny Barnett and Dr Joe Hardwick

When Dr Jenny Barnett started to research the history of the unicorn for her doctoral thesis it was unlikely she could have predicted the public’s interest in her work would have taken off as much as it has. A resurgence in the public’s fascination in the mythical unicorn has seen Dr Barnett’s expertise being called upon numerous times to provide a glimpse into the mysterious history of this fantastic creature. Just last year, she was interviewed by Paul McIntyre for ABC Radio Hobart, and more recently wrote an explainer article for the academic news website The Conversation.

Dr Barnett’s 2010 thesis explored Maurice Scève’s Délie, objet de plus haute vertu, a French book of emblems and poetry written in 1544 , and examines Scève’s use of woodcut images as a compliment to his textual explorations of the “dangerous” and “fatal” acts of seeing.  Scève uses figures such as the unicorn to reinterpret myths and legends to show that “the act of seeing is always pervaded by fear, deception and death”. Barnett notes that the “[s]cenes of sight and mirrored reflection in the woodcut images tell us more about the gaze than the ‘literary images’ in the text alone”. Continue reading “The Unicorn’s Journey from “Indica” to Instagram”

Chile, cultural history, film and visual cultures, Spanish, trauma

Life imitating art imitating life: The raging discontent of Chile

1024px-Concepcion,_Chile_protests_2019
Alvaro Navarro / CC BY-SA. Concepcion, Chile protests 2019 via Wikipedia

Post submission by Dr. Joe Hardwick and Oscar Cárdenas (PhD Candidate)

Recently, popular Chilean magazine The Clinic conducted an interview with acclaimed filmmaker and PhD candidate at the University of Queensland, Oscar Cárdenas (also known as Oscar Cárdenas Navarro). The interview, which is available on The Clinic‘s website here, focused on Cárdenas’ ability to capture the discontent of Chileans which until recently, had quietly simmered under the surface of normalcy. However, recent events in Chile have brought that simmer to a raging boil, making international headlines.

Chile has experienced ongoing protests and a civil uprising which started on 18 October 2019. These are the largest protests Chile has experienced since the end of the Pinochet’s dictatorship. They began in response to a fare increase on the Santiago Metro’s subway line, emblematic of a much larger issue of disparity in living conditions in the country, with protestors citing factors such as the rising cost of living, income inequality, political corruption, and mass privatisation of services. The crisis has been heralded as yet another “brutal legacy” of the Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet neo-liberalism who ruled from 1979 – 1990.  Continue reading “Life imitating art imitating life: The raging discontent of Chile”

film and visual cultures, French, Humanities, literature

In memoriam: Still Loitering — Australian Essays in Honour of Ross Chambers

silhouette of person standing facing window
Photo by Marcos Camargo on Pexels.com

Post Submission by: Dr Joe Hardwick and Prof. Greg Hainge

In October 2017, the world of French studies was saddened to learn of the passing of Ross Chambers. Chambers was a prolific scholar whose dedication, not only to French studies, but also fields such as comparative literature, cultural studies, queer studies, and literary and narrative theory made him an admired teacher and mentor to many within the academic community.

Arguably, Ross Chambers’ most famous book was Loiterature. In this text, Chambers argues that in Western literary tradition “waywardness itself is at work, delay becomes almost predictable, triviality is auspicious, and failure is cheerfully admired”. As Chambers argues, literature that falls into the “loiterly” genre, “blurs the distinctions between innocent pleasure and harmless relaxation on the one hand, and not-so-innocent intent on the other”. Loiterature thus “prescribes both “slow and careful reading practices but also quick-witted analysis” of such texts.

man standing on rooftop facing brown highrise building
Photo by Matthew T Rader on Pexels.com

In 2019, in memory of the work of Ross Chambers, Peter Lang Publishing released an edited collections of essays by Australian authors in honour of Ross Chambers. Still Loitering: Australian Essays in Honour of Ross Chambers is named for Chambers’ acclaimed book Loiterature. Still Loitering “draws together tributes, essays and critical responses to his wide-ranging work from Romanticism to the present, all demonstrating, through practice, the generative value of ‘loitering'”.

Two academics from the University of Queensland have contributed to this fantastic new collection honouring Ross Chambers: Dr Joe Hardwick and Prof. Greg Hainge. Continue reading “In memoriam: Still Loitering — Australian Essays in Honour of Ross Chambers”

Art, film and visual cultures, French, Humanities, trauma

Empty Gallery, HK: “Times Like These: Philippe Grandrieux in Hong Kong”

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Screenshots from Philippe Grandrieux’s The Scream (4:3 Film). Copyright Philippe Grandrieux

Submission by: Prof. Greg Hainge

Running until 30th November, 2019, Empty Gallery in Hong Hong will host an exhibition of works by French film director, screenwriter, and artist Philippe Grandrieux called “The Bare Life“.  With a career spanning over forty years, Grandrieux’s work combines elements of the experimental and horror genres, providing the viewer an experience rich in sensory and psychological depth.

The curator notes that Grandrieux’s “The Bare Life” occupies “a liminal space between dream and nightmare, these works represent Grandrieux’s most distilled inquiry yet into a set of themes which have consistently haunted his cinematic research: the search for a pre-linguistic form of expression, the simultaneous primacy and unknowability of the human body, and the radically transpersonal nature of affect.”

Continue reading “Empty Gallery, HK: “Times Like These: Philippe Grandrieux in Hong Kong””

film and visual cultures, Research, Spanish, Women

Revisiting Oscar Cárdenas’ 2006 film Rabia [Anger]

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Still from Rabia – provided by the director Oscar Cárdenas

Submission by Oscar Cárdenas (PhD Candidate)

Rabia. Directed by Oscar Cárdenas Navarro, performances by Carola Carrasco, Constanza Aguirre and Camila Aguirre, CeroFilm, 2006.

Oscar Cárdenas is a PhD candidate at the University of Queensland who is exploring the works of Chilean director Raul Ruiz. His thesis is entitled: Raul Ruiz’s film making: An alternative to Central Conflict Theory. He is looking at four films including:

However, before his foray into the academic world and his move to Brisbane, Australia; Oscar Cárdenas (also known as Oscar Cárdenas Navarro) was a filmmaker in Chile and used this medium to explore and critique social issues. His 2006 film Rabia [translatable into English as Anger or Rage] is a wonderful example of his work.

The film Rabia explores the struggles of the female protagonist Camila Sepúlveda, who is emblematic of many women not only in Chile but throughout the world. Camila has been unemployed for over a year. Now, she is trying to get a job as a secretary. Through six episodes and brief interviews, we will find out what this long unemployment time has meant to her. Everywhere Camila goes for a job interview, she will listen to other unemployed women’s experiences. She knows that after this extended length of unemployment, she will never be the same person again. Continue reading “Revisiting Oscar Cárdenas’ 2006 film Rabia [Anger]”