Writer’s Block & Recalibration: Nabokov’s Lolita

My pallet has lost its vibrancy, colours mixed in the wrong equation. My paintbrush has dried up, boar bristles jagged and harsh. My toolbox, playing hide and seek. I stare at my canvas and despise what I have created – dullness – I loath it. The theory has overpowered the aesthetic. The rush has displaced detail, and my lust for beauty is hibernating.

I know it’s there, I’ve written before, and I will write again in the same fashion. Writers Block. A disease. A parasite.

I know what I need, I need a recalibration. I need Nabokov. Na. Bo. Kov. I can feel it working already. I pull apart my bookshelf with appetite. There it is, my compass, my true north. Lolita.

I’m often asked what my favourite book is. I always answer without hesitation, without thought, almost innately. Of all the books, of all the stories, of all the words. Lolita.

Predictably, they ask. Why?

I was 15 when I bought my first copy – I wondered around the second hand book arcade in Newtown for hours, four to be exact. Red heart shaped glasses enticed me – $4.85 and the book was mine. The previous owner was a smoker, the smell of burnt tobacco hitting me as I opened the first page. I imagined who the previous owner was, where they were now, what brand of cigarettes they smoked, and what they thought of Lolita.

When I die, if a supreme being asks me what was the most beautiful thing of my existence – I would recite this paragraph. The opening paragraph.

Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta.

And with that, it begins. The words are no longer just words. They are the entire past, present, and future. They are creation and death. They are etherial and otherworldly.

What’s the book about they ask.

It’s about a pedophile I reply, mainly for shock value. I enjoy creating a little controversy, curiosity, and uncertainty.

An orchid growing in a conventional garden is beautiful, but an orchid growing out of decaying and rotten land is more than just an orchid – it holds a different currency.

Beautiful words written about a beautiful topic is still just an orchid in a pretty garden. Beautiful words written about human immorality – that’s when the conversion begins.

I finish the book in three days, and it’s back. The knowledge that words can alter cognition, that even the most immoral concepts can be painted romantically – that I can turn the dull into an orchid.

Jack Vettriano & Painted Eroticism

It was round about midnight on a Saturday night, I was laying in bed doing some research for an art paper when I came across it.

Jack. Vettriano.

His name rolled off my tongue. There was something about his name that pulled me in, it was justified the second I saw his paintings. With each click through his exhibitions, I moved into a different era, I became immersed in a story, a mystery – the mystery of figuring out what was going on in each image. I felt like I should be sipping a scotch while delving deeper.

It was like I had been given a detective badge, a trench coat, and a cigarette. I was no longer in 2017, I was somewhere in a mixed era that spanned from the 1930’s through to the 1950’s. Everyone here everyone had secrets, and it was my job to uncover them. Vettriano’s paintings giving just enough story, but leaving enough mystery to not only pique your curiosity, but to leave you wanting so much more.

His colour pallet of deep burgundies, burnt oranges , reds, blacks, and navy blues setting the tone and creating the mood. The femme fatale women, and Donald Draper men evoking a passion that you wish you could taste, a longing between them that sent electricity up your spine.

Fallen Angels, Summers Remembered, A Date With Fate, The Passion And The Pain – And my personal favourites: Lovers And Other Strangers, Love, Devotion & Surrender, and Affairs Of The Heart.

Each exhibition feeling like the prelude to an Eyes Wide Shut party or a Film Noir movie. Lingerie, thigh highs, suspenders, suits, and ties accompanied by all things dark and dangerous: prostitution, sex, and the most dangerous thing of all – love. I can’t tell whether Vettriano’s works are testing or teasing me, but I want more. More subtle undertones of surrender and dominance, more femininity and masculinity, more love and lust.

Is this tasteful porn? Or something that has an oppositional objective? Does it arouse imagination or the anatomy? What do we consider art, and what do we consider smut?




Game On




Art Under The Influence: The Doors Of Perception

I accidentally got stoned. How does one accidentally get stoned you ask? Well, I was hungry, at a strange house party, and a plate of brownies was left unattended. I was ravenous, so I ate four of the delicious brownies. An hour and a half later and I was hearing secret codes and hidden meanings in Led Zeppelin’s Dazed And Confused.

What had happened to my brain? Was it possible that some part of my brain had opened up? Had a door been opened somewhere inside me, inside my brain, or inside my soul?

In 1790 William Blake wrote a book called The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, in it he uses the term ‘The Doors Of Perception’ this term is a metaphor used to represent feelings about mankind’s limited perception of the reality around them.

“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.”– William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Some 164 years later, in 1954 Aldous Huxley wrote The Doors Of Perception – A philosophical essay detailing his experiences under the influence of mescaline. Huxley recalls the insights he experienced, which range from the “purely aesthetic” to “sacramental vision”.

“But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.”– Aldous Huxley, The Doors of Perception/Heaven and Hell

Was that what I had experienced? Did those laced brownies allow me to walk through the door n the wall? I had felt otherworldly and ethereal, like I had been let in on a secret, albeit Led Zeppelin’s secret.

In 1965, Aldous’ book influenced Jim Morrison’s band The Doors. I was always captivated by Riders On The Storm – one of the few songs that makes me feel, feel like I’ve been thrown into spiritual realm, takes me out of my body, and speaks to my soul, not my conscious machine.

In 1990 an advertisement for a movie about the well-known band titled simply “The Doors” displayed an instance of the saying attributed to Morrison:

“There are things known and things unknown and in between are The Doors”– Jim Morrison

Is it possible that drugs have an inherent ability to open our mind? In the same way a person with a vision impairment is given glasses, and can see clearly for the first time? Can drugs be a spiritual aid?

Bryan Lewis Saunders “Perception Of Self” in 2012 caused some traction when he decided to complete a series of self portraits, each taken while under the influence of different drugs. His works are fascinating, and provide evidence of the altering states of cognition, perception, and creativity.

“After experiencing drastic changes in my environment, I looked for other experiences that might profoundly affect my perception of self. So I came up with another experiment where everyday I took a different drug or intoxicant and drew myself under the influence. Within weeks I became lethargic and suffered mild brain damage that wasn’t irreparable. I am still conducting this experiment but over greater lapses of time and presently only take drugs that are prescribed to me by a doctor.”– Bryan Lewis Saunders

Fact and fiction – is this a false dichotomy? Can there be other categories to perception? I know that the song didn’t actually have hidden words in it, I’ve heard it seven thousand times in my life, but the brownies opened my mind, maybe not to actual reality, but to my perception of it.

Dystopian Fears: Eight Films That Make You Think

“Utopian” describes a society that’s conceived to be perfect. Dystopian, however, is the exact opposite — it describes an imaginary society that is as dehumanising and as unpleasant as possible.

I love a good dystopian storyline, be it novel or film. This is a comprehensive list of, in my opinion, the most disturbing ones. These films reflect broad social concerns and ideologies, it’s because of this that these films transcend space, time, culture, and language.

The reason I have such an affinity for anything dystopian is because they provoke thought about our society, and its fears. These films provide a meaty piece of food for thought – so go on, take a bite.

1. The Time Machine 1960

Scope: Space/Time Continuum, Communist Utopia, Capitalist Dystopia, Evolution

H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895 during the Industrial Revolution of late Victorian England. England at the time had a capitalist economy based on rich people making their money off the backs of poor factory workers. Wells was a socialist. The Time Machine starts off as a deceptive communist utopia that is ultimately revealed to be an exaggerated future vision of capitalist dystopia.

Food for thought question: What does our distant future look like? How can we make sure that our future is safe from catastrophe?

2. Children Of Men 2006

Scope: Species, Reproduction, Fertility

Women struggle to fall pregnant, it’s common. In today’s society, there are an array of conditions that create infertility in women. But what would happen if women stopped falling pregnant altogether? What if that was it for the entire human race?

This film explores the question of fertility, and the importance it has, not only on our society, but on our species.

Food for thought question: How important is the fertility of our women, and why are so many women struggling to fall pregnant ?

3. The Matrix

Scope: Technology Control, Apocalypse, Reality

This world inside the computer fabricates what you hear, smell, see, taste and even touch. The computers feel that by controlling every minute detail of what humans are allowed to experience they are bettering the human’s lives while also preserving their own. This is a great example of technological control. These advanced machines have progressed so far as to oppress the very beings that created them. Because they have isolated and incapacitated each human, they completely control all sources of information, independent thought, freedom, or true individuality, all characteristics of a dystopian society.

Also, the natural world, the world taken over by machines where each human’s body actually resides, has been completely banned from The Matrix, so much so that only a tiny fraction of the population even have knowledge of it. These many facts combined with the reoccurring theme of control and technological dictatorship help cement in our minds that The Matrix is the perfect dystopia.

Food for thought question: What is reality? How can we be certain of it? What fears do you have of technology control?

4. Battle Royale 2000

Scope: Totalitarian, Death Games, Nihilistic Youth

Battle Royale, a high-octane thriller about senseless youth violence, is one of Japan’s best-selling — and most controversial — novels.

As part of a ruthless program by the totalitarian government, ninth-grade students are taken to a small isolated island with a map, food, and various weapons. Forced to wear special collars that explode when they break a rule, they must fight each other for three days until only one “winner” remains. The elimination contest becomes the ultimate in must-see reality television.

A Japanese pulp classic available in English for the first time, Battle Royale is a potent allegory of what it means to be young and survive in today’s dog-eat-dog world. The first novel by small-town journalist Koushun Takami, it went on to become an even more notorious film by 70-year-old gangster director Kinji Fukusaku.

Food for thought question: What do we classify as entertainment? Are our reality television shows becoming far too cruel and exploitive? What will this lead to?

5. Planet Of The Apes 1968

Scope: Cosmology, Evolution, Hierarchy, Origin Of Species

What if we weren’t the most intelligent species? What if human’s weren’t in control? Planet Of The Apes crosses dimensions in order to portray what it would be like if Homo Sapiens weren’t the evolutionary pinnacle – but Apes were.

Food for thought question: What would it be like if we weren’t at the top of the food chain? Why are we at the top of the food chain?

6. Her 2013

Scope: Transhumanism, Relationships, Love, Intimacy

Her is a meticulous and creepily seductive criticism of our techno-orientation toward transhumanism. It is the dystopian film of our time, a haunting glimpse at the near future.

The transhumanist theory is that, when you strip away the illusions, we’re all basically Operating Systems. We’re, as Descartes first explained, conscious machines. A problem, though, is that our bodies are really bad machines. They cause us to be limited by time and space, and they cause us to die. The dependence of our consciousness on really defective hardware causes each of us to face personal extinction. It also causes us to be a lot stupider than what a conscious being would be located in a better machine. That conscious machine wouldn’t face our barriers to personal and intellectual growth or, for that matter, for experiencing love.

Food for thought question: What is artificial romance/relationships? If you could have a perfect connection with artificial intelligence, would you choose that relationship over an imperfect human one?

7. Frankenstein 1931

Scope: Science, Technology, God

There is a lesson here regarding our future potential to create beings that our sentient like ourselves – the technological hopes of the hour being uplifting and AI – that we need to think about the problem of homelessness when creating such beings. All highly intelligent creatures that we know of with the remarkable exception of the cephalopods are social creatures therefore any intelligent creature we create will likely need to have some version of home a world where it can be social as well.

The dangers of monstrousness emerging from intelligence lacking a social world was brilliantly illustrated by another 19th century science-fiction horror story- H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr Moreau (there’s a movie version with Marlon Brando – who has seen better days).

Bonus: In Mary Shelley’s novel she gives us insight into the origins of evil in the absence of such a world. Because it cannot be loved, Victor’s Frankenstein’s creation will destroy in the same way his every attempt to reach out to other sentient creature is ultimately destroyed with the creature telling his creator who has left him existentially shipwrecked.

Food for thought question: What do we consider playing god and what do we consider scientific revelation? Are we responsible for the life we create, if so, to what extent? How far are we willing to let science take us?

8. Ex Machina 2015

Scope: Technology, Artificial Intelligence,Fear

Unlike Frankenstein, Ex Machina resembles on the surface, the real victims of the film’s conflicts — which impressively run the gamut from “man-vs-machine” to “man-vs-man” to “man-vs-God” — are not the creator, his creation, or the unwilling “everyman” participant. It’s every digitally-connected man and woman on the planet, who for the sake of convenience or conformity or commerce have put themselves at the mercy of tech leaders guided by greed, hubris, a lack of principles, or all three.

In order to find the parts needed to build his monster, Dr. Frankenstein robbed graves — an ethically questionable move but essentially victimless. The men and women he pilfered were all already dead. But when the new tech elite build their monsters, they’ll go after the living.

Food for thought questions: Does being scared about AI have more to do with our fear of each other than with killer robots? What is the human? Can that thing be replicated?

Horror Films: The Cult Classics

From the mid 70’s until the late 90’s we’ve been blessed with some of the most compelling horror movies – the classics, the foundations the genre was built on. Themes covering telekinetic powers, slasher scenes, gory scenes, supernatural elements, religious connotations, haunted burial grounds and serial killers all setting the tone for the genre that makes our hearts beat faster, our palms sweat, and hairs stand on end.

I think this list needs to be listed chronologically because that way we can see the foundations and the subsequent layers upon layers, building the monument that is ‘horror’. These movies are so iconic that they’ve been remade, some several times over. To be clear – This list exclusively focuses on the original films.

1973 – The Exorcist

I was 5 years old when I found this VHS hidden under the TV cabinet. I waited until my parents were preoccupied and watched it. This was the beginning on my love affair with the Horror genre.

Theology, the Church, demonic possession, some projectile vomit, swear words, and head spinning. How can you go wrong? You can’t.

This is the premise of horror, while it was made in the early 70’s, the themes transcend time and blur out the dated cinematography.

1974 – Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Leather face. While in fact his mask was not made of leather, but of human flesh. His weapon: a rusty chainsaw.

I think the entire story of leather face is what makes him so ominous, some hill billy town on the outskirts of civilisation in America. You mess with him, you mess with the chainsaw.

6 June 1976 – The Omen

Firstly. Note the date. 6/6/76. If we remove the decade, we get 6/6/6. The number of the beast.

Damien, the antichrist. He’s just a small child that makes his nannies jump off buildings, adorable.

1977 – Carrie

Carrie holds a dear place in my heart for several reasons. Firstly, it was the story that made Stephen King, my idol. Secondly, I love a good revenge of the nerds story, and this is the quintessential high-school revenge film.

Carrie is the school punching bag, her mother is a bible basher, in the most extreme forms. She probably has good reason as Carrie has some fancy powers, these powers give her the fuel to get her revenge.

I kind of feel like this is the sequel to Rosemary’s Baby, it’s certainly not – but you could understand the parallels if Rosemary had a girl.

1978 – Halloween

Good old Michael Myers. The 6 year old who killed his 17 year old sister. He got put away, but managed to escape 15 years later on Halloween. Returning to his home town for his next victims.

The perfect slasher film!

1979 – Amityville Horror

An absolute favourite – because the legend is based on some truths.
The house is a real place, if you look it up, I swear it has a face that looks at you!

A dad that basically goes cray cray and kills his entire family after his house tells him to.

I’m going to go with demonic possession over haunted house or ancient burial ground because the family that lives there now has no issues.

1980 – Friday 13th

Note: released Thursday 12th June 1980, a day before Friday 13th. Paraskevidekatriaphobia – the actual name given to the phobia of Friday 13th.

Ahhh Jason and his machete, but if we’re being accurate the killer was actually Jason’s mother – until the sequels anyway. Camp Crystal Lake, where Jason drowned – his killing field.


1980 – The Shining

Another Stephen King narrative – one that Stanley Kubrick butchered. We still love you Stan.

Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, a winter caretaker at an isolated hotel. He takes this opportunity to get some money and work on his novel. His wife and son move into the hotel. The hotel has a dark secret – and let’s just say ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” – or a homicidal maniac.

1982 – Poltergeist

Note: there is said to be a curse on this film because they used actual human bones in the scenes rather than plastic ones.

The girl who gets sucked into the TV. Poltergeist- a house built on an ancient burial ground, a portal to another dimension.

1984 – Nightmare On Elm Street

Wes – you’re killing it on this list!
Freddy Krueger – kills teens in their dreams. Basically you’re not safe when you sleep, uh oh – V energy drinks won’t save you, neither will cocaine apparently!

1985 – Fright Night

Note: released 31st October 1985 – Halloween

I had to throw in a few Vampire ones – and between you and I. I had, still have, a huge crush on Chris Sarandon – okay he’s 74 now, but a babe back in the day.

Now imagine your neighbour is a vampire, and no one believes you – he even seduces your girl!
An 80’s classic, the hair, the music, and the horrible clothes.

1987 – Lost Boys

Peter Pan’s lost boys have nothing on Kiefer Sutherland’s gang. The boys are a group of Vampires in Santa Monica in the late 80’s. Michael follows Star, a beautiful girl and ends up being turned into a blood sucking vampire – ladies, he has to be the sexiest vampire on the face of the earth – just saying.

1989 – Pet Semetery

Is it clear by now how much I love Stephen King?

Okay, so if your 3 year old kid dies, take its body over to the pet semetary (spelt this way) and it will basically come back to life! Sure, it will come back to life severely disfigured and homicidal, but you got your baby back! Congrats!

1997 – Scream

Note: 13 feb 1997 released the day before Valentine’s Day

Woodsboro – where serial killers like to play a game, a game of trivia, they basically want to know how well you know your horror movies before they kill you! A fun killer!

90’s high-school kids running around without any parental guidance – while there’s a serial killer on the loose.

1999 – Blair Witch Project

The Blair Witch Project was the first of its kind – the horror and uncertainty of the authenticity of the hand held documentary – could it be real? Phenomenally done.

I mean the Blair Witch sounds creepy, you wouldn’t catch me running around those woods.


Armour is a protective covering, used to prevent damage. Damage inflicted by the direct contact of weapons – during combat, or caused by a potentially dangerous environment or action.

Our hearts are not a demilitarised zone.
There is no main defensive wall of fortification.
A place constantly targeted by sanctions.
Pink mist, abundant.

How can we not be armoured?
Protected, guarded, cautious and reserved.
Attack is inevitable.
The ally turned enemy.
Trojan horses infiltrating our very core, striking our Achilles heel.

Guerrilla warfare, ambush attacks – tactics for the most valuable organ.

How can you ask me to disarm?
What cost do I risk?

Dadaism and Futurism; What Are These -isms?

“They are both destructive, Futurism only on the exterior. In Dadaism this is deeper; they want to dismantle our inner, spiritual and moral constructions.”

– Fons Heijnsbroek

Dadaism and Futurism both focus on an ideology rather than being considered an art movement. Futurism aimed to express the achievements of science and technology and reflect the “dynamism” of modern life, Dadaism on the other hand rejected every moral, social and aesthetic code. The images I have chosen to represent each movement is both aesthetically and conceptually important in revealing how we understand not only the world, artist, artwork and audience of the time it was made, but they also represent how the movement embraced modernism and effectively relied on modernism to construct a cult movement. Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity Space” is an ideal representation of futurism breaking away from ancient art and revealing its new found beliefs in modernism.

Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” is the most important piece in the Dadaism movement, through this work Duchamp initiated the defiance of the boundaries of art and made it possible for ideas to be as important as the act of physical creation. Technical skill was no longer necessary to be considered an artist or necessary to be able to express ideas in artistic form. Each image is developed differently though each movement, therefore our understanding of these works will be completely diverse, although it is evident that one key ideology is prominent in both, the idea of modernism.

Futurism was an Italian movement between 1909 and lasted up until 1915 rather than a typical art movement which had preceded it futurism was an ideology, a way of approaching life rather than an “art movement”. Futurism was started by Fillipo Tommaso Marinetti. The movement began in literature then spread to the art world. Futurism played a double role firstly it was to introduce a new aesthetic which would express the mental and physical sensations of life in the machine age, demonstrating that the Italians were also capable of producing and starting new ideas, not just the French. Secondly it was to shock, ridicule and provoke the Italian public out of their complacent lethargy and to inspire them to create and up to date Italy. This would be achieved through inspiration by the achievements of science and technology and reflect the “dynamism” of modern life. Futurism wanted to erase all notions of traditional art and literature, he wanted to tear down museums and libraries and start over by celebrating the speed and dynamism of new inventions. He glorified chaos and the destruction of modern art, claiming that ‘beauty now exists only in struggle’. Marinetti loathed the past and valued everything modern; to him the most significant symbol of modernism was speed.

The leading Futurist artists were the Italians, Giacomo Balla (1871-1958), Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), Carlo Carrà (1881-1966), Luigi Russolo (1885-1947), Gino Severini (1883-1966) and architect Antonio Sant’Elia (1888-1916). Although their individual styles differed, these Futurists shared the search for a way to express speed and energy. They experimented with a mixture of art styles, including Cubism, many of them also ended up with abstract art, speeded-up versions of Orphism.

Dadaism was a movement much like futurism, more an ideology rather than an “art movement”. It lasted some seven years between 1915 and 1922. This anit-art movement called Dada flourished in spite of its primary declaration that art was dead – that “art is stupid” that “what everyone sees is false” and that art must be destroyed and abandoned. Nonsense alone made sense. Dada was the cult of the irreverent, the absurd and the absolute meaningless. Dada rejected every moral, social and aesthetic code. The aesthetic of dada was that there is no aesthetic since an aesthetic is built on reason and the world had demonstrated that it was built without reason. Although Dadaism suggests these theories, one could suggest that this absolute irreverence does not coincide with the art works which it is represented by. The Dadaist soon discovered that their movement was self-defeating by its very intention; it is simply impossible to be nothing at all.

The image I have chosen to explain how futurism developed differently and how futurism contributes to our understanding of what this works represents is the sculpture by Umberto Boccioni (1913) titled “Unique Forms of Continuity Space”


“Forme uniche della continuità nello spazio”
By Umberto Boccioni (1913)

In 1912, Boccioni visited Paris, where he saw and was influenced by the avant-garde sculptures of Picasso and Brancusi. He wanted to revitalize the ‘mummified art’ of the past, and make more of materials not traditionally used by sculptors, from glass and mirrors to electric lights and motors. His goal for the work was to depict a “synthetic continuity” of motion instead of an “analytical discontinuity” that he saw artists like František Kupka and Marcel Duchamp portraying. This figure is arguably one of Boccioni’s most important and symbolic pieces, as it sweeps forward it carries ‘blocks of atmosphere’ along with it.

“It seems clear to me that this succession is not to be found in repetition of legs, arms and faces, as many people have stupidly believed, but is achieved through the intuitive search for the unique form which gives continuity in space.”
– Umberto Boccioni

The quote above represents Boccioni’s thought process, and the conceptual development of his ideas behind the aesthetic of the art work. The body of work was developed through the ideological process of futurism; therefore we can see how the ideas of futurism have influenced Boccioni and his work. As far as the composition is concerned, “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” depicts the contrast between the old and the new, the beginning of a new wave of ideas this human like figure seems to flow together almost as if it is a piece of material that has been draped perfectly, this effect gives the sculpture an aerodynamic and fluid form, adding the sentiment of science and advancing technologies while at the same time the surfaces of the carved metal appear to be carved by the forces of wind and speed as it forges ahead. While its wind swept silhouette is reminiscent of a famous 2000-year-old ancient statue “Nike of Samothrace”, both also lacking a face. The polished metal alludes to the sleek modern apparatus venerated by Boccioni and other Futurist artists. The traditional pedestal is no longer apparent and the silhouette bound to the ground by two blocks at his feet.

It is evident that this work reflects on the “Futurist Manifesto” by Fillipo Tommaso Marinetti and the thoughts behind it. Boccioni seems to be carefully dissecting old art and alters it in just the slightest way in order to convey his point. This extreme contrast between the old and new is what makes this work futuristic, Boccioni is showing the audience the past and then tries to persuade them to want and desire for the new, the way he deliberately forces this “unique form which gives continuity in space” upon the audience represents how Futurism as a movement has developed this work to help us understand the importance of modernism.

The awful violence the war created left an immense sense of cynicism amongst the governments and society responsible for pursuing it. Dada was an expression of repulsion at the so-called civilization that had produced such barbarity. Its tools were chaos and absurdity, and it deliberately undermined all the arts; music, poetry, literature, painting and theater. Dada’s focus on chaos and absurdity had a huge impact on 20th century art, spawning a number of important movements, including the dreamlike Surrealism of the ’20s and ’30s.The image I have chosen to explain how Dadaism developed differently and how Dadaism has contributed to our understanding of what this works represents is the photograph of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”.


By Marcel Duchamp (1917)

Duchamp deliberately used the ready made urinal, not only did this break the conventions of art, but it started an entirely new way of looking and creating art. By creating this work Duchamp initiated the defiance of the boundaries of art and made it possible for ideas to be as important as the act of physical creation. Technical skill was no longer necessary to be considered an artist or necessary to be able to express ideas in artistic form. Choosing an object for display could be equally as significant as have the most artistic skill, what mattered were the conceptual ideas behind it.

‘Whether Mr Mutt has made the fountain with his own hands or not is without importance,’ said Duchamp. ‘He chose it … he created a new thought for this object.’

“Fountain” is perhaps the best known piece of readymades because of the symbolic meaning of the toilet which takes the conceptual challenge posed by the readymades to their most primitive form. Tomkins notes that “it does not take much stretching of the imagination to see in the upside-down urinals gently flowing curves the veiled head of a classic Renaissance Madonna or a seated Buddha or, perhaps more to the point, one of Brâncuşi’s polished erotic forms.”To me this quote represents the idea that the artwork and artist are not as important as what the audience sees in the work “what everyone sees is false”, this quote is even more important as it argues that no audience will understand what the artist is trying to represent because the aesthetic of dada is that there is no aesthetic and since an aesthetic is built on reason, which Dadaism argues that the world is built without reason bring us back to the conclusion that everything is nothing and will always come back to nothing as far as the Dadaists are concerned. Evidently this image has developed differently and has portrayed the ideology of Dadaism by ultimately coming back to the conclusion that everything is nothing, this theory has allowed us to understand the works’ representation of the movement as it allows us to understand this idea of nothingness which Dada express’.

“They are both destructive, Futurism only on the exterior. In Dadaism this is deeper; they want to dismantle our inner, spiritual and moral constructions.” It is evident that this quote accurately explains the destructive nature that both Dadaism and Futurism have on past art movements. Both movements have tried to separate themselves from the past; they both integrate ideas which can be seen as modern and use modernism as a form of progression in order to break from the past not only in breaking art conventions but breaking moral and social conventions as well. Both images reflect the movement that they came from and thus have developed the ideas from that movement and allow the audience to examine the ideas that the movement tries to sell. The one main commonality between these two movements is the endeavour to break from the past and use modernity as a tool to establish themselves as a way of life. The images I have chosen to represent each movement is both aesthetically and conceptually important in revealing how we understand not only the world, artist, artwork and audience of the time it was made, but they also represent how the movement embraced modernism and effectively relied on modernism to construct a cult movement.

Referenced Material
Bernard Smith, “Modernism’s History” 1998. St Edmundsbury Press, New South Whales, Australia.

Charles Harrison, “Modernism: Movements in Modern Art” 2004. Tate publishing, London.

David Britt, “Modern Art: Impressionism to Post Impressionism”1992. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London.

Jane Rye, “Futurism” 1972. Studio Vista, London.

J.M. Nash, “Cubism, Futurism and Constructivism” 1974. Thames and Hudson Ltd, London.

John Canady, “Mainstream of Modern Art” 1981. Sanders Collage Publishing, N.Y, New York.


Perpetually stuck in a revolving door of anarchy.
In the most simplest of forms, I am a mess.
A delirium of unpredictability.
Soft mayhem.

A predestined fate followed out incorrectly.
A predictable direction, veered off course.
A plan that never goes to plan.
An abundance of unknown.

The arrhythmia of a dying heart.
Humanity without morality.
Billiards on an oval table.
An anthem, syncopated.

What is chaos but the formless matter that existed before the creation of the universe?

Photo Credit Illusion

The Evolution Of Cinema

We live in an era of profound technology, technology that provides us with entertainment at our fingertips. Entertainment that needs to continually amp things up to keep us happy, like we’ve built up a tolerance to movies, each time needing deeper storylines, bigger explosions and better actors to satisfy us.

It’s not only about the movie, we’ve even grown weary of the environment that we watch it in. Fear not, they have created an environmental cinematic hierarchy for our viewing pleasure – V-Max, Gold Class, 3D … the list is endless and no doubt going to advance even further – Not only do we want to sit in our reclining extra-large chairs, but we want to sip cocktails too. Popcorn and choc-tops are not enough anymore, we need to have a three course meal while watching our overtly complex, but forgettable movie.

I’ve begun to notice that I’m growing tired of this unsatisfiable lust for bigger, badder, and better – I feel this strange desire to return to the unapologetically simple.

Once a month I make a point to go out and watch a movie alone – I usually go to a local cinema in the middle of the day. It’s like my own little adventure, where I can get lost in the world of the movie.

This month however, I stumbled across Golden Age Cinema.  I saw the words “Date Night” and “Matinee”, I even saw “Cult Classics” and “Obscure Documentaries”.

Then I saw it “The Shinning” Friday the 13th of October at 9pm!

Golden Age Cinema boasted a small screen, humble chairs, popcorn, and choc-tops – simple in the way that it should be.

Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick, and Jack Nicholson! The elements couldn’t have aligned better.

So I would wait, wait for this vintage cinema, wait for this cult classic, wait to sit back and let myself fall into a world that isn’t focused on desperately trying impressing me, but knowing that what it offers is one of a kind.

I’m not attempting to promote the cinema itself, upon further research, there are several cinemas in Sydney that offer this type of viewing experience. What I am attempting to promote however is a mild return to the simpler experiences. The taste for adventure that isn’t handed to you on a silver platter.

Photo Credit Golden Age Cinema