Thursday, 20 August 2009

Save VCA - Victorian College of the Arts.

Stop Press. News Flash. No, the aliens haven't landed ... yet. This interlude post to my normal Blogging services is due to the saving of VCA (Victorian College of the Arts) which is being threatened with closure, it reminds me somewhat of Porterhouse Blue, and even though I applied twice for VCA but did not receive entry, I have used many VCA students for crew on my own projects.

I for one do not want to see VCA stripped from its specialist title and mashed into a homogenised dearth of elite practice and Art centricity. I don't care who the Alumni are, nor if they are the Pride, Pomp, and Circumstance of the Film Industry. I more care about the attitude that is rising, like damp, to saturate cultural development in the funk of capitalist venture and stain us with the hyphae of conservative crapulence.

I can feel it. Can anyone else feel this gradual shift of values? Or is it just me in my surroundings. The more we push ideas of interactivity, the more the content is becoming passive. We seem to think that participating is best applied to simplicity rather then challenge ourselves with complexities that exercise the brain, speaking of which, just look at the amount of energy pumped into promoting the exercise and health of the body, yet I see no single commercial enterprise that is endorsing the exercise of the mind. This shift is happening on a larger scale and I feel that individuals are mostly unaware.

This awful predicament leaves Art where Philosophy has been put, seen generally by the majority of the public as an unnecessary and nugatory part of humanity. The masses want shopping malls and freeways, long running television shows set in genre Boons (Mills & Boon), jeans and t-shirts all year round, parking spaces, High Definition Wide Screen TVs with endless channels so they can watch more crap more often in better resolution. This is my take on the whole matter, and I believe people are generally fearful of Art or Creativity because intense streams of it asks people to think, and the last thing people in a crammed economic and ascetic environment want to do is think.

You can participate in a giant demonstration today (Friday 21st of August) 10:00AM at the St Kilda Rd entrance, VCA Campus, 234 St Kilda Rd, Southbank. There will be Industry speakers and such.

Sign the Online Petition here.

Goto the Save VCA page here.


Luke said...


From what I've seen said about the integration of the VCA into the University of Melbourne, few people involved in the campaigns and debates understand what you've pointed out, namely the similarity of the position in which art and philosophy now find themselves. For a long time now these two have had a bad conscience about being the preserve of the leisure classes; but now that class differences are less frequently subject to the kind of sentimental attachments they once enjoyed, the idea that philosophy and art might aim for truth, rather than just for the satisfaction of a subjective need for a world-view or for aesthetic pleasures, seems to be getting lost as well.

Still, I’m not sure that that means we should try to revive the class idea and picture our fellows as constituting “masses” that crave the artefacts of a barbarous civilization. I’d be inclined to say that while people may appear to function as part of a mass, especially from the perspective of someone who wants to manipulate the behavior of a large number of people, treating them as such is not right, and blaming “the masses” for their collective behavior can in the first place only offend whoever takes themselves as having been intended by the label, and in the second place give us smug illusions of our own superiority. If we accept the concept, then if we are honest we have to admit that we are all part of the masses now, and that the difference between the shopping centre and the library is almost – no difference at all.


Rups said...

Gee Luke, this is a socio-political argument, one of which I am really not capable of seriously saying anything particularly insightful. I see what you are saying, but I can't see the correlation between a leisure class and art/philosophy because I don't know who the leisure class really are. In my personal view, I see that everyone seeks leisure, people work hard to seek it, and people find it in so many places. I don't think you are talking about the rich because the rich never like philosophy and certainly had no inkling for art unless they could market it - I don't see the leisure classes in being those who might go to the Ballet for instance (Considered High Brow Art) as my friend bought a Ballet ticket for $35 the other day which is about four times cheaper then what you would pay to see a rock band.

So I don't know who these people are and can't respond to that point without clarification. I don't see art or philosophy as being owned by anyone, because these things in different ways are accessible by everyone.

Your last point however, I can see your view but it is purely subjective, I see a mass, and I make general opinions about that mass in order for other people to have a look at what I am looking at too. I may be completely off my rocker and missing the point, but I don't want to change that, there might be other people who feel the same way I do, and it may only even be two.

I don't think anyone sees themselves as being part of a mass unless they want to, unless they are like a soldier in the army fighting for a unified cause or ideal, otherwise I think everybody assumes they are an individual - personally I don't much like the idea of collectives, of packs, of gangs, of mobs, of solidarity - It's not my thing but that is my own aesthetic tastes.

I don't know if a person can ever be truly humble - when you say that my opinion may seem me being superior. I am treated as an inferior everyday, whether that be by school kids barging in front of me on public transport, or people not slowing down at Zebra Crossings, or someone saying my films suck, or when I hear people having conversations in public and they are condemning this person or that person - I think at every level of human expression there may come across examples of superiority - "Oh my sister didn't call, she's so lazy, she needs a job" or if someone has their mobile phone blasting out their favourite music at everyone on the train - it is all people trying to work out their own level of perseptive worth in some way - just as my little rants sometimes appear as superiority judgements.

Finally, and I apologise for the lack of coherency in my reply, I just finished filming my two year old playing along to The Sex Pistol's The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle with his toy guitar and I'm a little pooped. I think the library and the shopping mall are of great difference - but I don't want to go into why that is as I think it blatantly clear and I fear of starting up a Blog debate which is always exhausting when one feels compelled to go on rants when there is washing up to do and other mundane duties that can't be argued away.

But thanks for your comment Luke, you are one of the few people who have actually left a comment on this Blog apart from my friends.

:) Rups

Luke said...

Hi Rups,

I've been meaning to come back here for a while now and say hello again. And to thank you, in turn, for responding to my response. There is one point in particular I wanted to pick out of what you said, namely that you don't know if a person can ever be truly humble. I wanted to pick it out because I think it's particularly true, and that it raises a real difficulty. We might ask why, aside from vanity and a sense of my own righteousness, I presumed to comment on your post and mention my concerns about the category of "masses" that you had just employed. Why indeed? It's very easy in debate that takes place through a textual medium to forget that there are other people on the other end; one's easily trapped into treating them as nothing more than foils for one's own intellectual performances or other kinds of performances.

Blogs at times seem to me to be the real-world instantiation or illustration of the idea of solipsism. I once thought it would be a good idea to write to someone on death row. In the sense of social status or class and in the sense of geography I'm lucky and glad to be far from any death rows (although you can always say: there, but for the grace of God...) but nonetheless I thought I'd be able to find some way to connect with this poor fellow on the other side of the world who'd murdered someone. I lasted, I'm sorry to say, about two letters. Sometimes I think that blogs are a bit like that. But there I go, talking to myself in your presence again. Can it be avoided? Perhaps, if one doesn't go spreading oneself around too much, and only sticks to the blogs one knows one will continue to have time for -- but then that is not satisfactory either. Or avoids comments boxes, and only responds if one is prepared to put the time in for a full post on one's own blog.



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