Learning foreign languages—it’s not rocket science, surely. No, for most Australians it’s much harder than that. Like many products of British Empire, Australia has always told itself that English is sufficient. It’s part cultural arrogance, part fear and part geography. The English language has spread like a virus, and there’s no denying that much of the World has accepted English as an ancillary language. But that also means that much of the World can shut us out of conversations when they revert to their native tongue.
These days we know this is a problem, but a solution seems to be elusive.
This is a story of how some brave souls are trying to tackle our linguistic awkwardness.
It’s one of the most important institutions for English music in the 20th Century—a place that Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Michael Tippett poured their heart and soul into. The buildings witnessed the creation of some of the best known works of the last century. But it’s almost certain you’ll not know of it, and it’s barely mentioned in the conventional histories of the period.
Ultra-nationalism, anti-Semitism, censorship and intimidation of opponents. How has Hungary gone from having one of the most admired legal systems in the world, to becoming the most worrying symbol of democratic decline within Europe? European Union was founded on the belief that all members wanted to distance themselves from the sorts of conflicts and closed regimes that defined much of the 20th Century. But Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is presiding over a Hungary that is proving that this assumption was naïve, and that Europe is ill-prepared for the cascading side-effects of a crippling economic crisis.
What does it mean to a life to be born two years before a revolution that will rip your country apart?
Ali Alizadeh was born in Tehran in 1976. He grew up with the love of literature and strong Marxist ideologies of his immediate family, while a Revolution went horribly wrong across wider Iran.
The young Ali grew into a belief that language had power. This was until his family left Iran and moved to Australia—leaving Ali wrestling with his identity and wondering whether his new language still had power.
Today Ali Alizadeh is a highly respected writer, poet, critic and lecturer at Monash University, with an expanding body of work which already includes 5 poetry collections, a novel, a work of non-fiction and a collection of short stories.
Ali’s voice is clear and uncompromising and he treasures the strengths and failures of language in equal measure. … Continue Reading
Radio Yak Yak is one element of an international exhibition called Yak Yak, being hosted by the Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery in northern Victoria. The exhibition is co-curated by Irish artist Fiona Woods and gallery director Ian Tully. The show features artists from Ireland, Sweden, the USA, Argentina and Australia, and it highlights the myriad global conversations that are starting to forge powerful new networks that will support the idea of rural arts into a future full of change.
Our world is a complex organism, more interrelated than the silos in which we typically place it. One area of research to recognise this is the new discipline of participatory architecture, which explores among other things the relationship between music and buildings. But the idea has antecedents, including composers like Benjamin Britten and Edgard Varèse, and architects like Renzo Piano and Carlo Scarpo. Michael Shirrefs explores the search for harmony in the built environment.
Have you ever looked at a building and wondered what it would sound like? I’m not just talking about acoustics and air conditioner hum—I mean, what if that building was a piece of music? … Continue Reading
How does music speak to the buildings that house it? Music has always been a conversation with its environment, but from the 15th Century on, the craft became much more deliberate. And acoustic architecture has changed a lot since Dufay and the Gabrielis were composing their choral works for the Basilicas of Italy. … Continue Reading
RN’s Michael Shirrefs is talking to Ishan Khosla who returned to India from the US five years ago and quickly realised that the rapid rise of the Indian Tiger economy was coming at a cost. In the headlong rush to be a big global player, India was at great risk of losing its unique design traditions.
As India’s huge metropolises become ever more infatuated with the gloss and mystique of global design trends, alarm bells have sounded amongst many who see a downside. With a very wealthy new Indian middle-class being seduced by the power of ‘the global’, a vast number of distinctive local design skills and knowledge systems are being ignored or marginalised. This has prompted a counter-push from high-profile designers and commentators, aiming to elevate the profile of the myriad, rich design traditions across India’s length and breadth.
Rural artists have typically found themselves trying to translate their experiences of living on the land to gate-keeping gallery owners in the major cities. But new informal networks of artists, brought together on the internet, are cutting out the middle man and staging their own shows and happenings. Michael Shirrefs investigates.
One of the truths of rural life is that power and money and modernity usually lie elsewhere—in the metropolitan other. Well, it’s a truth of sorts. But it’s a truth that’s starting to loosen its grip.
Rural life, the world over, is in the midst of changes that are altering, not just who lives remotely, but what they do there. In this mix, artists have often seen rural life as an option that allows them to live and work on meagre incomes, but it usually comes at the cost of profile, access and any semblance of urban arts cool.
However, even that’s starting to change, because technology has begun to make geography less relevant, not only for artists, but for rural communities in general. … Continue Reading