Unfiltered Thoughts: Culture

Although creativity is often associated with the arts, it’s actually a vital form of intelligence that drives people in many disciplines to discover something new. There is no real consensus on how exactly to define creativity – it’s interrupted by the individual.

Is the finger painting that your parents held onto since you were 3 considered art? What about the 20,000 photos currently taking up space in your phone?

What does creativity mean to you? What book/podcast/movie changed your life? Are we being exposed to more unfiltered content on the big screen or are we simply noticing it more? What does it take to be creative?

How does your cultural heritage shape who you are everyday? What traditions from the past do you celebrate with your fam / friends / work mates?

We have a lot of burning questions in this space and we want to know your answers to the ones listed above and then some!

e.g creativity / art / music / books / film / photography / heritage

Content Warning

This following unfiltered thoughts may contain themes that might be difficult to read or triggering to some readers. Readers in need can visit our Creating a Safe Space page to see a full list of support services.

 

Perfect moments

How can anyone ever say it’s not the right time? Time isn’t right or left, correct or incorrect. Time is but a concept, a concept I would consider to be the most valuable thing in existence. We structure our lives around time, breaking it up into hours, days, weeks, months, years. Categorising it; childhood, adulthood, etc. As a society, we typically think of certain experiences as meant to occur within a set timeframe. And as individuals, we often pass up opportunities or choices because it’s ‘not the right time’.

I think we all spend a lot of time waiting for the perfect moment. In love, in opportunity, in change, in life. I think we use it as an excuse. But the truth is there is never a perfect moment. Don’t wait until next year, next month, or next week. Start tomorrow, start today. Every hour, every minute, every second has the potential to be a perfect moment. Because you make the moment. You determine your future. If you spend your whole life waiting for the perfect moment. Then I guess you’ll spend your whole life waiting.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW 

 

Movie Review: ‘Requiem for a Dream’

The cruelest of reviewers (me) would say this story follows the established trajectory of an anti-drugs campaign. Starting with a honeymoon period that inevitably starts to crumble, showing multiple extreme but frightening possible outcomes of engaging in a substance abuse problem. You could even go so far as to say it has a nod to its predecessors, with a lot of the story being focused on these innocent white kids from good homes led astray (though, more excitingly, the movie starts with almost everybody already hooked so I think we’ll let them off because they really didn’t milk it). Interestingly, they take it a step further, introducing a generational and medically prescribed element to this tale.

Now, as for the actual experience of watching it, I found the director, actors, and really everybody involved did an incredible job. Before too long the movie picks up an exciting, fun, friendly, and even a little bit sexy vibe, with fast-paced music and sequences to illustrate the taking of the drugs. The movie brings you along on the rush, as everyone’s lives reach their substance-fueled peaks. Then one step at a time, quite quickly but not too abruptly, everything starts to go downhill. No surprises there, but it keeps and keeps going.

These days people seem to all want happy endings, and fair enough. Sometimes when you’re feeling a bit sensitive, that’s just what you need. But sometimes, an unpleasant ending can be even more satisfying. For me this movie wasn’t. It took it too far for my taste, but that’s not a criticism – only a warning. Because instead of reaching an extreme that felt ridiculous, it reached one that continued to get more and more horrible, done so skillfully it left me feeling miserably stunned.

4 out of 5 stars.

Will, 20 ACT 

 

Clinging to Creativity

Children have got creativity all figured out, it’s adults who suck at it. This belief was cemented for me recently, when I was given a Uni assignment which required me to write an essay on the importance of the creative arts in early childhood education. At first, I was pumped to write this piece. I love the arts and have lots of ideas about how an emphasis on creativity in classrooms could benefit children socially, emotionally and academically. The assignment sounded interesting, and I thought it would be fun to write. That was, until I learnt that this essay was intended to be purely informative in nature, meaning that any ideas used within it must be cited from other, more credible people. The irony of this brief really bothered me. Could I honestly be expected to write an essay about creativity in a completely dry, formal, arbitrary format? With no room for original thought? Talk about soul crushing.

Unfortunately, institutions like universities and schools seem to want to reduce creativity into something that can be simply defined, measured or scored. These institutions reward controlled expressions of creativity, such as a lifelike drawing of a pretty woman or a perfectly executed rendition of Beethoven’s Fur Elise. But the people in charge of formal education don’t genuinely want students to think creatively, they want us to knuckle down, do the readings, graduate, and get a proper job.

One of the most significant things I have learnt through working in the early childhood sector is that creativity is innate. Children have no trouble telling a made-up story of a faraway land or coming up with 1000 ways to play with a bouncy ball. Seeing the joy that comes from children engaging in art and imaginative play, has made me realise that this is a quality I cannot afford to lose in my own life. Maybe my Uni marks will suffer, but I am clinging to my childlike creativity.

Kirra (she/her), 21 VIC 

 

Some musings on progress

Is it really too nostalgic to say our culture is in decline? Can this feeling really be reduced to an illusion of the human condition in which we look back upon the past as if it provided much more than it did. Or do people want to believe this just so they can hold onto a narrative that will give our suffering some purpose, since if we dared to question the present in relation to the past, progress might not seem so linear. Indeed, does the age of old narrative of technical progress really excite us anymore? We look upon sci-fi books and movies with contempt, since we know these supposed utopias depicted therein are unfounded, or that if these developments were to occur, someone will find a way to turn it into a motor for profit. Indeed, this is why white people have performed such a 180 with regards to colonialism – it’s not motivated out of some noble moral duty to serve justice – it is rather motivated by the realisation that western society does not have any coherent narrative to legitimise its domination. We have contempt for colonialism since we have contempt for our own society. The relentless march of progress has been disproved, and subsequently, our reasons for domination. This is also why Fascism seems so profoundly stupid and vain this time round – it lacks any ground whatsoever to legitimise it claims. As Marx will write: “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce”. This becomes even more funny when we realise that many societies which never developed advanced technologies, did so on purpose to ward off inequalities that would arise from state formation. Our supposed intelligence and superiority was really just an ignorance.

Noah (he/him), 20 NSW

 

This isn’t a children’s book. 

Why is it that the phrase picture book is used so often as synonymous to children’s book?

Why is it that despite the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, we seemingly disregard the value of picture books?

I stumbled across a book recommended for ages 3-6, the 32 pages of which were capable of sending nimble fingers to trace my spine, leaving in their wake slightly raised bumps of flesh. I think we often forget the capacity of literature. Of words. Of simplicity. So many of us are suffocated by the desire for perfection, agonising over crafting a complex sentence with rich vocabulary, that we often forget the true value of writing. Our current world revolves around momentary satisfaction so much so, that the true purpose of art is often lost. We create to entertain rather than to inspire. I think children’s books might be more inspiring than ones intended for adults. Kids are encouraged to dream big, to shoot for the stars. They are taught that the world is one of endless possibilities. When does the shift occur? When are we first told that we need to be more realistic? That our dreams will forever remain just that. Fantasy. Unattainable. I think if we all read children’s books we’d be a little more hopeful.

Luna (she/her), 18 NSW 

 

Thoughts on flight

Emus can’t fly. They, along with cassowaries, rheas, kiwis and ostriches, lack the keel that anchors strong pectoral muscles, allowing for the strength and movement of wings. I wonder sometimes if they wish they could. They can run, of course, and fast too, but that can’t be the same as what it feels like to fly. Emus used to be able to fly, or so some people say. It’s a bit of a debate, were they ever able to? Do they look up at the sky, watching the birds above and miss what they used to have? Or did it never really matter, as they never could. We could ask an emu, but I don’t think they would answer. Maybe they don’t even know.

Humans also can’t fly, but we were never meant to. Not without a vehicle, at least. We wonder sometimes, what it would feel like to soar through the air, but it is not an essential part of our identities. We dream of endless possibilities – it’s how the world has developed. Scientists, artists, writers. The ones who dream of flying. But really, we haven’t lost anything, it is all just dreams. Still, there are feverish nights of scribbling words under half-dead lamps in the dark, and endless days of calculation, experimentation, recording and adjusting. The passion for our impossible ideas leaves an ache we cannot describe, and yet cannot ignore. We turn this feeling into art, stories, inventions.

Ariel (they/them), 17 NSW 

 

Movie Review: ‘Smithereens’

After months of thought & dozens of edits I present… Smithereens: why do I have a dedication to doing this movie justice if I think it’s only a 2-star movie? Well, they’re different measurements of what makes a movie good. The 1 to 5 scale is as objective of an opinion as I am able to form. Alternatively, another scale of how good a movie really is is how many times you want to watch it and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of Smithereens.

Why? Because it was already bordering on boring to begin with. The interesting stuff is constantly happening yet this movie fails to instruct the audience to get caught up in it. In fact, at no point are we being told what to think at all, this is the most passive nonjudgmental non-doco movie I’ve ever seen and it leaves ‘the moral of the story’ up to interpretation because I don’t believe there was supposed to be one in the first place.

Everyone who watches this film could come away with a very different idea of what the point of it was. [& I assert that to find a point is to miss the point but that’s just my point of view]

Despite it not having me on the edge of my seat throughout, this movie is multifaceted and it has balanced itself very cleverly. Starting captivatingly we are drawn into early 80s New York in a train station. The perfectly chosen music builds as Wren snatches a dangling pair of sunnies, and she’s off. Once boarding a train she catches the eye of Paul, who instantly takes an interest in her. From there she is unable to decide between him (a reliable & devoted type of man) & Eric (a cool but risky musician – played by Richard Hell). Wren’s traveling through her life looking for the best deal for herself but when it comes to a choice between the possibility of stability or the chance of an exciting future she wants the best of both worlds but still she must choose

2 out of 5 stars

Will, 20 ACT 

 

Embracing Diversity

As a first-generation Asian-Australian, I am truly fortunate to be living in a society where cultural diversity is celebrated. But growing up, it wasn’t always that way when I first moved here and entered primary school.

It’s easy to speak about it now, but when you’re just a primary school child getting side-eyes and wrinkly noses at the sour smell of vinegar and dumplings, it’s easy to doubt your own identity and want to throw it away. To hide your culture. To fit in. I did once.

I don’t know why this small memory came up suddenly one day, but it made me realise how much small things can remain in a child’s memory. So perhaps this should be a reminder that we should celebrate culture and diversity, and that we should remind the young children around us that it’s really, truly okay to embrace who you are.

Aurelne (she/her), 24 WA