Balance is not something one should seek too earnestly; equilibrium is statis. Yet in a brief period of equilibrium, one has a moment to feel calm, just before it all shifts again into intense growth, dormancy or some other organic, dynamic response to the world.
Today I am conscious that I am at work, at Melbourne Uni, in front of a screen in a mouse-maze cubicled windowless environment where the air is rife with paint fumes and the horizon is obscured. Only two days ago I felt uncertain whether I was in India, Singapore, Sydney, Canberra, camping in the bush or driving/flying/waiting somewhere between them all. Limbo lurking. The last six weeks have been outrageously unbalanced, even for me. I therefore find myself somewhat unbalanced as well, as in passionately mad. Racing thoughts and viscous verbosity are not helping. Nor is my highly caffeinated state. Thank the goddess the most unbalanced day is only a week away…
So last week I spent some time in UnAustralia. What a maddening, exciting, depressing, horrifying and fun place it is. The dramatically dubbed Melbourne Massive formed a delegation of nine (okay, 11 when Tom & Susanna were around) at the CSAA conference in Canberra, the site of UnAustralia. As per some others’ comments (see Michael, Glen, Mel G, Mel C, and Graham) the papers were a mixed bag of reflexive & un, challenging & not, interesting & dull. John Frow’s final keynote was a definite highlight, which should have been the keynote in Parliament the night before, no offense Professor Ranciere, but John was political and incisive in the most ‘resolutely rational’ ways. Another key moment for me was the panel put on by the Asian Australian Research Network (AARN), who worked on hybridity, identity, politicians, food and art in truly interesting and engaging ways. Hats off to Simon Choo’s work on food and identity in relation to the transnational flow story of the man who just wanted durian ice cream before he died.
I don’t really want to dwell on the conference, but then, nor do I wish to delve into the intense social critique in which the Melbourne Massive engaged for five days running. I think good work was done by all and all our worlds have been usefully complicated just that little bit more. I certainly enjoyed the many pub conversations of the week. May I suggest some optimal follow up reading: Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer, Naomi Wolf and Susan Faludi come instantly to mind. 😉
A quick recap then: car politics, rogue emails, grassy knolls & feral possums got my shoe, group membership and mob mentality, OD’d on dismal food, J. Frow’s wine, shiteful Irish pub and sterile Civic, Motel Girls at the Garden of Australian Dreams, abstraction and Australian Parliament, bedbugs, academic engagement and a broken fan. Hit it.
Today is the third of nine end of year/xmas do’s in 13 days. Let madness reign.