We Love

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Mind - Enter the Labyrinth


This permanent exhibition explores the complex dimensions of the mind -
Avenues of exploration include the concept of dreams and emotions, dated and modern mental health interventions and perspectives of those who view the world differently and/or are subject to mental illness.

You also see intriguing and impressive artworks created by people with mental illness along with scientific explanations of the complications associated with drug abuse.

The exhibition deffinately highlights the value and complicated nature of the mind. The historical aspects of exhibition, although interesting, slightly stigmatize and scaremonger the concept of instituationalisation and the very nature of mental illness.

Displaying frightening ornaments such as historical isolation units and contraversial material like dated Electroconvulsive therapy equipment, is highly relevant to the subject however,  it outweighs the movement and improved interventions mental health professionals can offer in this day and age.

Afterall, we all have some connection to or awareness of mental illness, therefore I deem it necessary to comfort and encourage our peers to seek help from mental health services if they require. I have faith that people with mental illness can live functional and fullfilling lives with the help that is available nowadays. I would have liked this to have been emphasized more in this exhibition,

Regardless of my opinion of the show, I still believe its a worthwhile visit. You many learn a few things about the way you think, how to improve your memory retention and you may even gain an understanding of the weird world of dreaming.

Artwork and words by Rischenda


Sierra Leone born artist Patricia Piccinini has almost certainly been called a 'freak' at some point in her career, and if she hasn't personally, then undoubtedly her work has ...

Piccinini works in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, video, sound, installation and digital media. She is fascinated with the 'distinctions between artificial and natural' and you only have to look at her work to understand her fascinations.

Freakish or not, I'm 'Pro-Piccinini', I've been following her career since I was introduced to her (artwork) back in my high school days and her exhibition 'Sandman' will remain burnt into my memory forever.

But I'll leave you to make up your own mind...


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Musing on Freaks, Matrydom and Jesus Freaks

The Budget Macquarie Dictionary is only budget (bought on a uni student budget) but still tells the truth. A freak, it suggests, is something ‘unusual, odd or irregular.” Or someone.

Our friend Wikipedia helpfully extends upon this definition, purporting that being ‘freakish’ “also denotes a strong obsession with a particular activity.”

Meditating on this definition, or trying to stuff my brain full of it so I can write a decent article, I think it’s fair to say – with respect - that we’re all freaks of some description.

I firmly believe this and challenge anyone to a thumb war or scissors-paper-rock competition if you disagree. As any teenager will tell you, normal is so passé!

“Normal is like … weird! I’d rather be different and maybe that includes  piercings/doing up my Myspace page with html glitter pop-ups and scaring my mum with a green Mohawk,” muses my imaginary teenager – designed specifically for this article.

Sorry, she’s now left the conversation to plan her wedding with Bieber but you get the point…

When it comes to religion, there are different kind of freaks but most famously known of all these freaks are the ubiquitously known, Jesus Freaks.

But before we go there, I would be remiss to write an article on martyrs without mentioning Islamic extremist suicide bombers.

In terms of dying for one’s religions, this group takes the cake.
Infact, cake – or something sweet – seems to be the big incentive to go ahead and murder ‘infidels’ by strapping a backpack full of explosives via a public place. You see, in 2001, Hamas activist Muhammad Abu Wardeh gave the West a heads up on what he considered the ‘reward’ for Matyrdom. It read like something from a creepy man’s travel brochure … 70 virgin brides in Paradise, etc., etc.

Turns out, however, that for these Muslims who do this, Wardeh was wrong.

Check out ‘Traditions’ (Hadith in Arabic) which is a collected book of Muhammad’s sayings and “suicide” is forbidden.[i]

However, jihad in Islam is not just encouraged, it’s all part of the faith. It literally translated to the word ‘struggle’ and can mean, in some instances, waging a ‘Holy war’ for Islam.

When we’re chatting about Martyrdom and people dying for their religion, it seems like an opportune time to bring up the cultish aspect of religion which can rear its ugly head.

How many of you have heard of Jonestown? Jim Jones? If you have, you’ve heard of this awful cult which claimed the lives of more than nine hundred people in 1978.

What can we say about that? Apart from the fact it was a horrendous atrocity, we can see – with the advantage of hindsight – the “warning bells.”

No, it wasn’t Jim Jones’ obsession with holding funerals for dead animals as a little boy, it was this:

“Jones also began preaching that he was the reincarnation of Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, Buddha, Vladimir Lenin, and Father Divine.”

Again, with the advantage of retrospect we are able to completely discredit at the notion of a forty-something American dude actually being these things, however what is not so amusing is the fixed and unassailable intentions Jones had in establishing his agenda.

Almost 1000 lives were laid down to rest before their time, as Jones encouraged his followers to drink poisoned Kool-Aid, “protesting the conditions of an inhumane world.”

This horrific act was – up until September 11, 2011 – the single greatest loss of American civilians in a non-natural disaster.
Key word = civilians. Those poor people weren’t actually martyrs but tragic victims.

Essentially, Jesus Freaks are people who love Jesus, are a bit obsessed with Him and live their lives accordingly.

I mean the Lord Jesus says himself in Revolution to the Laodicean (----) church: “I know that you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other!”

This is the bit where I tell you that I actually am a Jesus Freak as well. Any Christian technically is, when you think about what the name implies … Christian = Christ (follower of)
With this in mind, aren’t all Christians (over 2 billion worldwide) technically then Jesus Freaks, with anything else being akin to a Shop-A-holic telling, “Nah I can’t stand shopping.”

Jesus Freaks often are persecuted for their beliefs.

In fact, a recent study, cited by the Vatican, reported that 75 out of every 100 people killed for religious hatred are Christian.”[ii]

Ok so, that’s not that great but when you consider that the founder of Christianity actually died for His beliefs/mission to save the world, it’s not surprising that Jesus freaks often become martyrs.

Like the 17 year old Somalian girl who was gunned down because she wouldn’t renounce her faith in Jesus[iii], despite her parents’ requests.

That was only last year. Which indicates that Jesus Freaks are still very much around and only growing. But the good news is told by JC Himself in his famous Sermon on the Mount words: “Blessed are you when you when people insult you or persecute you … because you are my followers.”

[i] http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2002/jan/12/books.guardianreview5
[ii] http://www.opendoorsusa.org/persecuted-christians/christian-martyrs/
[iii] http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/somalia/29407/


Friday, May 20, 2011


"There are so many worldwide issues that continue to bug me - I'm never short of ideas"

Penny Byrne's work isn't exactly the kindest of artwork, in fact the artists main aim is to shock and upset her viewers. 

The scultpures are composed of objects discovered in junkshops and online antique stores.

She encourages her viewers to revisit contemporary issues using devices such as parody, irony and satire.

This freakishly controversial, intelligent and talented arist deserves credit for exploring those avenues many are afraid to acknowledge.

Penny Byrne's collection 'Commentariat' is currently exhibited at Geelong Art Gallery.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The United Colours Of Benetton

Shock Advertising. 
In my opinion, no one does it better than The United Colours Of Benetton.

Controversial? Yes. Relevant (to product) No.
Some argue that 'shock advertising' is a 'cheap' way to gain the publics attention.

But firstly, for those of you who are unaware, here is a little wrap up of Benetton ...

The Benetton group is a 'luxury' fashion label based in Treviso, Italy. The name comes from the Benetton family who founded the company in 1965. Benetton has around 6,000 stores in 120 countries.

Benetton was launched into the media with its now in/famous 'United Colours of Benetton' Campaign. Working with photographer Oliviero Toscani, campaigns were created using shocking images unrelated to the actual product being sold by the company.

The images were graphic, billboard sized ads, perhaps the most infamous, featuring the deathbed scene of AIDS activist David Kirby, in his actual dying moments, surrounded by his grieving family.

Below are some examples of previous Benetton campaigns.  I'll leave you to make up your own mind ...


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It all started with just a taste ...

'I made money I'd never imagined and I wore velvet dress and shone in lamplight. I walked tall in crowds, knowing myself to be desired. I told people I was a prostitute, and smiled as I said it, and dared them to turn their gaze. The smile that I give when I talk about it now is, I can feel, nostalgic, provocative. A brightness comes into my eyes. And, I'm told a hard look too.'

It all started with just a taste...

'And so I thought I should try it. Just once, to know. To join them behind the closed door of someone's bedroom, to be able to say, you really are insane, now I know what you're doing. To leap over that river. To test myself.'

To the horror ...
of her close, middle class Melbourne family, Kate Holden's family saw their beloved daughter & sister spiral from a university graduate to a heroin addicted St Kilda street worker 

A stunningly talented writer ...
with an honours degree from the University of Melbourne, Holden 'diarised' her 'new life' as a sex worker named 'Lucy', starting from the streets of St Kilda and winding up in high class brothels, both of which to support her heroin habbit (which was recorded at $100 a day).

Fueled with honesty and confronting at times ... 
Holden's memoir cleverly commentates as both the writer and the prostitute. It explores the unseen of the street life in Melbourne, the desperation, the dirtiness, the, at some times, mate-ship of the workers, the hope and most of all, the power that heroin can hold over a human being.

I too, enjoyed the beauty, tragedy and truth of Kates journey.


TTBA | Issue 4

TTBA  |  Issue 4 'FREAKshow'
Cause we're all a bit of a freak in our own way ...