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Issue , 2014

The Future Issue

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News

  • Know Your What?

  • Nice Unis Finish Last

  • No Joyce Here

  • 11 O’Clock Swill

  • Mo Money Mo Money

  • Homophobic Brew

  • News of the World

  • Features

  • Keepin’ It Hyperreal

    I had a few qualms with this ‘hyperreality’ business. How do you decide what constitutes ‘reality’ and ‘non-reality’?

    by

  • Come Fly With Me

    Alexandra Hollis explores the future of transport.

    by

  • Internation

    A revolution has begun, and it is changing the way that we learn.

    by

  • Dog Days Are Over

    Life’s shit, but it’s never been better. And the future’s even better.

    by

  • Keepin’ It Hyperreal

    I had a few qualms with this ‘hyperreality’ business. How do you decide what constitutes ‘reality’ and ‘non-reality’?

    by

  • Come Fly With Me

    Alexandra Hollis explores the future of transport.

    by

  • Internation

    A revolution has begun, and it is changing the way that we learn.

    by

  • Dog Days Are Over

    Life’s shit, but it’s never been better. And the future’s even better.

    by

  • Arts and Science

  • ScHoolboy Q – Oxymoron

    ScHoolboy Q is hard to lock down.

    His voice bounces and climbs between tones, his temperament cold, celebratory and regretful in equal measure. A gangster (of sorts) since age 12, he’s now very into caring for his daughter, when he’s not rapping about sliding himself into your cousin or dealing a whole load of drugs, that is. Hence the title – Oxymoron, both a self-diagnosis and a prescription-drug reference.

    Oxymoron is a good album, not a great one. I can see myself pulling it out for the next three or so months, but not decades from now. Another West Coast rap-opera, much like labelmate Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, Oxymoron is a journey through the darker side of LA, only Q seems to be having a lot more fun. Kendrick’s presence hangs consistently over Oxymoron – Q used to be his hypeman. He features on the album’s lead single, ‘Collard Greens’, a gem of a track that shines ever-brighter among a weak stable of tracks that begin the album. (Kendrick seems to predict this, starting his verse with: “This your favourite song”.)

    The album doesn’t really pick up again until the Portishead-sampling seven-minute two-part title track ‘Prescription/Oxymoron’, which comes just after the dreadful ‘Studio’. Here, Q spends the first half of the track sampling his daughter attempting to wake him from an OxyContin-induced coma, before diving into a second half chronicling the selling of the same (“you get one for 30 if you let me hold your titty”). It’s all a bit on the nose, but good rap generally isn’t about subtlety, and Q gets away with sounding sincere in both his home and street personas.

    The latter half of the album is much better than the first, featuring decent appearances from Tyler, Kurupt and Raekwon, funner production, and unsurprisingly, the other two singles, ‘Break the Bank’ and ‘Man of the Year’.

    Q is undeniably an excellent rapper, and the in-house production team behind him are competent, if a little safe. Oxymoron is worth a listen or ten, but not a place in the West Coast canon.

    by

  • Quick Listen

    Le1f – Hey EP

    Le1f sounds effortless. The New York–based rapper/producer has recorded an impressive catalogue over the last few years, but with this EP he finally ‘arrives’, confident, polished and, as ever, openly gay (but Macklemore is the only rapper for the gayz!!!). There are very few seconds on this five-track EP in which you can’t hear his intensely seductive voice, floating above and within trappy beats that bubble and click all over your headphones. Every track is a keeper, but ‘Sup’, ‘Boom’ and 2012 mainstay ‘Wut’ (which basically featured the beat to ‘Thrift Shop’ a long while before ‘Thrift Shop’ came out) are particular highlights, as well as the phrase “LGBTQties” and a line in ‘Boom’ where he compares the guy he is with to a web browser. Wow.

    ——

    Pharrell Williams – G I R L

    Pharrell is 40. It may not show on his face (like, at all), but it’s starting to become apparent from his output. His last solo album, 2006’s In My Mind, featured Pusha T, Snoop, Kanye West and Jay-Z; G I R L features Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and Miley Cyrus, and Pharrell never gets close to rapping. G I R L is at all times intensely pleasant; each track would fit right in with ‘Happy’ on a summer blockbuster’s soundtrack.

    But this is a little unfair. Pharrell has always felt a bit doe-eyed, even among the drugs and strippers of In Search of…, and he did produce Justin Timberlake’s debut solo effort. Your boring flatmate might love G I R L, but that doesn’t mean you can’t too. Like everything Pharrell makes, the album is bursting with sex, but it’s a whole lot less lecherous than last year’s rapey ‘Blurred Lines’, although Pharrell recently told Pitchfork that he thinks the criticism was “misconstrued”.

    Standouts are hard to pick, since they all kind of blur, but opener ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and the Miley Cyrus–assisted ‘Come Get It Bae’ are both stuck in my head right now. Pharrell’s been pushing the envelope for over a decade, and he’s hard at work producing a new Pusha T album – he deserves this comfortable stable of bangers.

    ——

    Albums you should look out for in 2014 – by Salient’s music contributors

    2013 was a banner year for music. Here are the upcoming releases that could make 2014 just as good:

    Alt-J’s second album

    Azealia Banks – Broke with Expensive Taste

    Band of Skulls – Himalayan

    Bill Callahan – Have Fun With God

    Brand New’s fifth album

    Chance The Rapper’s debut album

    Chief Keef – Bang 3

    Chlöe Howl – Chlöe Howl

    Cloud Nothings’ fourth album

    Coldplay – Ghost Stories

    Common – Nobody Smiling

    Frank Ocean’s second album

    Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Piñata

    Grimes’ fourth album

    Johnny Cash – Out Among the Stars

    Kanye West’s seventh album

    Lana Del Rey – Ultra-Violence

    Mac DeMarco – Salad Days

    Nicki Minaj – The Pink Print

    Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

    Pusha T – King Push

    Real Estate – Atlas

    Riff Raff – Neon Icon

    Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2

    TNGHT’s debut album or second EP

    TV on the Radio’s fifth album

    War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream

    by

  • The Drax Project/Ed Zuccollo/Name UL Concert Review

    It’s going to be a sad day when Mighty Mighty closes. Students will have a hard time finding a venue that offers up experiences like the O-Week’s Thursday show.

    The first artist playing was the young rapper Name UL. The talented Wellington local lands his self-affirming raps with metronomic rhythm. His beats are built out of synthetic soundscapes punctuated by tight drums. A charismatic performance soon brought the majority of the student crowd to the dance floor.

    Ed Zuccollo soon replaced Name UL on the stage. Armed with a vintage vocoder synth, the one-man act blasted through a series of pop covers and Zuccollo originals. The eclectic set danced between techno, synth-pop and even dubstep as the chorus of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic’ leapt into a fiery half-time groove. The crowd’s energy fed off his mix of accessibility and musicianship. One less-than-sober punter yelled “Yeah boy!” in encouragement.

    Third on the line-up were the four-piece jazz-school heavyweights The Drax Project. The band have found a sweet spot of genre between mosh-pit bouncing grooves, jazz-pop and ferocious hip-hop. Once again, there were memorable covers – ‘Cry Me A River’ was dragged through its slow tempo by ragged saxophone rhythms. By now, the intimate space of the Mighty Mighty dance floor was packed. Lead singer/saxophonist Shaan Singh was perfectly comfortable crooning, rapping, playing synth or blasting away on the sax. The group’s originals also sounded promising.

    I had a great night. Great music. Receptive crowd. Nice venue. Hopefully Wellington’s gig scene will manage to keep its charm after Mighty Mighty closes this May.

    by

  • Capital Culture
    A forthcoming comedy series set in our very own Wellington, Capital Culture, is generating a lot of buzz. Philip McSweeney got drunk with a couple of its cast members, and what he discovered Will Surprise You.

    Although Capital Culture was only filmed last summer, it’s a project that’s been five years in the making. “We first had the idea when we were all living in Melbourne,” Izzy tells me, “and we were living next door to these scenesters… They’d sometimes have ‘silent parties’, y’know; we’d walk past their flat and there’d be about 20 people in there and none of them were making any noise,” she continues, chuckling at the recollection.

    Capital Culture is a forthcoming mockumentary web series conceived by four young women and close friends – in alphabetical order, Isabelle, Martine, Miriam and Virginia (although she prefers the diminutive Gin) – that delves fearlessly into Wellington’s hipster culture. Obviously, their perceived pretentiousness is the main butt of the joke, but is it, I ask, a kind of gentle lampooning, or more of a satirical jab? “Both,” they resound in unison. “I mean, we’re definitely playing heightened versions of ourselves,” Gin explains, “maybe qualities that are in there but don’t really come out – do you know what I mean?”

    I do, and though I’m loathe to make an obvious comparison, I can’t hear the terms ‘heightened versions’ and ‘four 20-something females’ without thinking about Girls. Was it an influence? “I mean, we all love Girls,” Gin says tentatively, and would take it over Sex and the City(!), but she also stresses that their mini-series was in an embryonic shape well before Girls came into the limelight. Instead, she cites Chris Lilley as a major influence (“So funny!”).

    The events surrounding the filming of Capital Culture bespeak something like a success story – the group took their pitch to PledgeMe and raked in more than enough of the money required, and enlisted friends and acquaintances to make cameo appearances or provide technical assistance as required. The result, however, looks much more polished than the bare-bones nature of filming would imply, and this is thanks to the “tireless” work of an editor and director “who were absolutely fantastic… I’m so glad we got them. Honestly, we couldn’t have done this without them [and all the other volunteers] and we are so, so grateful,” Izzy says, while Gin nods in vigorous assent. I’ve heard this line a lot in my time, but it’s never sounded as genuine as it did coming from them. Is there a second season in the works? There’s a bit of hush-hush at that, but a certain mischievous glance indicates that Capital Culture isn’t quite finished yet.

    Obviously, based on the parodic characterisations, there is going to be a bit of awkwardness with family members – when I ask if there’s anything in the series that they’d be embarrassed to show their grandparents, they both wince. “Yeah, definitely,” Izzy says with a twinkle, before talking about a close-up of her derrière (in costume!) while myself and Gin laugh uproariously, before talking more seriously about a drug-taking scene that they decided to leave on the cutting-room floor. And though there’s awkwardness, there’s nothing overtly offensive – Gin fields my query about whether there were some self-imposed limits, saying: “Yeah, like no racism. I mean [the aforementioned] Chris Lilley, he’s funny and he can do stuff like that with aplomb, y’know, but we’re not at that level yet.”

    Other than that, the big concern is how the series will be received. Already, YouTube commentators have called it derivative, and “even though we think it’s hilarious, we don’t know if other people will.” But, having seen the trailer and been given an insider’s look into the process, I think these girls will be able to leave the criticism in their wake. Don’t miss it – Capital Culture could well become cultural capital.

    ——

    Capital Culture officially premiered on YouTube on Sunday. The link is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXP3aehMeCk

    by

  • Lamplighter by Kerry Donovan Brown (Victoria University Press)

    Lamplighter is set in a place somewhere between folklore and reality, on the brink of civilisation and wilderness. It’s a coming-of-age and ‘coming out’ story, but it goes a lot deeper than that. Lamplighter asks questions about fear, identity and prejudice that make it a ‘crossover’ novel challenging enough for teenage and adult readers alike. The story grapples with darkness in a way that’s rarely been done in New Zealand young-adult fiction, and never in such a richly layered alternate universe. The village of Porbeagle is infused with tales of swamp monsters – but where do the real horrors lie?

    Kerry Donovan Brown lives in Wellington, and is a recent graduate of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria. Last week, he shared some thoughts with me on Lamplighter.

    He arrives an hour late, a bit all over the place with his book launch the next day, apologising profusely and offering to buy me absolutely anything on the menu. I insist it’s fine and feel rather sorry for having put him in such a state. He’s not an Intimidating Published Author at all. He’s a totally normal young person who’s humbled by it all, and eager to talk about this book that means a lot to him.

    “Where does the village of Porbeagle come from?” I ask. The first thing that struck me was the vivid setting. I knew if I were to open my copy of Lamplighter right now on the table between us, I’d be transported completely to a murky, sunken swamp world. “It’s actually semi-autobiographical,” Kerry tells me. “The village is similar to the little South Island settlement where I grew up.” He adds hastily that of course his grandfather’s not a lamplighter, but in some ways it’s real.

    “What about the names of the other towns and settlements?” I loved the names, so I have to ask. “Naming is always such a complicated thing for me. I’ll often get bogged down trying to name places. The place names in Lamplighter – Porbeagle, Anchorite, Hellgrammite – they immediately felt good.” There’s something great about hearing the word ‘Hellgrammite’ pronounced out loud. Kerry tells me it’s an imagined version of Wellington, and it’s the name of a fearsome aquatic larva. “I imagined a New Zealand that was more preoccupied with the natural world,” he says, “and I think about what it’d be like if our towns were named after minerals or microscopic creatures.”

    We both have trouble articulating our thoughts when it comes to the strange art of lamplighting which is becoming arcane in the world of the novel. I wonder whether there are parallels with real life in the way this old coming-of-age tradition is tantalisingly wonderful at first, but then descends into something sinister when Candle learns frightening things about his grandfather’s past. “That’s a sharp reading,” Kerry concedes, but I think I’ve read too much into it. “I guess Candle’s main conflict is homophobia, but it’s not his coming out that’s driving the narrative. I guess my experience living in a small South Island town – my parents and family were supportive, but there was homophobia from people peripheral to me – it came really easy to me to write about that …” he trails off, unsure he’s really answered my question. But what he says makes perfect sense.

    He names Ursula Le Guin as one of his favourite writers and The Last Unicorn as his favourite book. “I’m influenced by young-adult writers – so it was going to show through in the book.” As for New Zealand young-adult books with a ‘coming out’ narrative? There aren’t many. I realise I’ve hardly seen even one, though in North America it’s become increasingly mainstream for young-adult writers to write queer characters. Kerry mentions titles his teacher pointed him towards when he was young, but these are the kinds of books that would’ve scandalised schools back then. “In the year I was born, it was still illegal to be gay. My hope for Lamplighter is that it finds a wider audience in the community.”

    Kerry says Lamplighter really came alive when he spent five weeks down south in his hometown. When he got back to Wellington, he wrote the bulk of it at Zealandia. “I love the crossover of wilderness and civilisation.” This is evident in the book; there are many paradoxical points of contact between modern life and myth. And if it weren’t for someone that pointed him towards the IIML, he reckons Lamplighter probably never would’ve happened.

    I hope he’ll write more stories set in this world. He thinks he might. “I want to explore the idea of fear – not terror, not fear of monsters, but fear for one’s own happiness. Maybe that’s just the sort of state I’m getting to in my life – I sometimes fear for where I’m going. But I would like to go back to this world. What’s great about Lamplighter is that I kind of knew I was onto something. Once I had the bulk of it down, I knew that it was a story worth telling.”

    by

  • 3×20

    For the graduating class of Toi Whakaari, the 20-minute self-devised solo performances shown as part of the Go Solo season serve as a sample of what they can offer the professional theatre world. In this regard, having Keagan Carr Fransch, Susie Berry and Brynley Stent perform their solos again in 3×20 at BATS proves that it has been successful.

    Keagan Carr Fransch opens the show with Waiting for GodDoor, a study of different personalities seen in the confines of a waiting room. Carr Fransch cleverly uses distinct physicalities and voices to snap between the different characters we meet, which range from a talkative, confident Hispanic woman who dreams of running her own hair salon, a mute Bangladeshi orphan and a Martin Luther King–esque preacher. They all tell the receptionist why they deserve to have their appointment now, but it is never clear what the group is waiting for in the first place. Fulfilment? Asylum? A literal doctor’s appointment? Carr Fransch’s disparate characterisations ensure that the ending is as ambiguous as she intended.

    Susie Berry continues the show with her own physically stylised Journey to the Drive Thru. Berry uses hip-hop choreography and a mishmash of songs to jump between scenes of her driving, squeezing into a pair of jeans, trying to resist the temptation of eating the banana hidden under her desk at work. It soon becomes apparent that her unhealthy relationship with food is the key issue here. While Berry’s precise movements are successful in capturing her various emotions of frustration and temptation, I can’t help but think that setting the action to aggressive songs like ‘New Slaves’ to show the food’s level of control over her is a cop-out that could have instead been a chance to give her character a voice.

    The highlight of the show for me was the character that Brynley Stent shows us in the final piece, Buy Anything… Except for That. With a Southern drawl and the occasional grit of the teeth, an old, dishevelled woman walks onto the stage carrying a tower of trinkets on her back. She tries to sell us each one with a story of its origin – “Andre Agassi’s old racket” that he used to “kill Confederates in the Civil War” is a special standout. At times it feels that these quirks, while charming, could cause her to be just another ‘batty old crone’ trope, but the violent stories behind these objects ensure that her characterisation is nuanced enough to be not just funny, but heartfelt and strong.

    Without having seen Go Solo 2013, it is unclear why these three different pieces made the cut to be performed at BATS together, but until I find out, I am happy to just assume they were simply chosen because they are a great showcase of the acting and devising talents of tomorrow.

    by

  • Haiku for Fringe Winners

    Disclaimer: the writer of these haikus did not see any of these shows. (LOL.)

     

    Fringe Fave ($5000)

    Miss Fletcher Sings The Blues – Cuba Creative/The Bakery

    Solo and winning

    Miss Fletcher tries with music

    To teach many things

     

    Best of the Fringe

    The Bookbinder – Trick of the Light Theatre

    Highly Commended

    A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Bright Orange Walls

    Best Theatre

    The Bookbinder – Trick of the Light Theatre

    Leather and paper

    Magic and stories are a

    True trick of the light

     

    Most Original Concept

    Dinner with Izzy and Simon

    Intimate and, well…

    Hard to haiku if not seen

    Unconventional

     

    Best Comedy

    Why Do I Dream? – Sabrina D’Angelo

    Evidently

    Funny funny lols all round

    Also very strange

     

    Best Production Design

    Traces: Ghosts From the Archive – Longstaff Productions

    Basement music shadows

    A+ for strange promenade

    Traces leaves traces

     

    Best Outdoor / Circus

    IQ2 – The Town Centre

    Future Hotel for

    This issue appropriate

    Sound interactive

     

    Best Music

    Lines From The Nile – Rowena Simpson and Douglas Mews

    British navy and

    One hundred and seventy

    Year old piano

     

    Best Visual / Digital Arts

    The Ochre Workshop – Charlotte Andrew

    Natural ochre

    On limestone blocks exhibit

    Growing. also tea

     

    Best Marketing

    Famous Sharron: The Fame Game – Famous Sharron

    International

    Improv improved with glamour

    Spandex and sparkle

     

    Best Newcomer

    I Could Live Here – Would You Rather Productions

    Kiwi road tripping

    at its best. Fun and rowdy

    Yeah you would rather

     

    Stand Out Performer

    They Saw A Thylacine – Justine Campbell

    What’s a thylacine?

    Haiku is not the place to

    learn that. Try Google

     

    Best Solo Show

    Everything is Surrounded By Water – my accomplice

    No idea about

    this one. What’s a soul anyway?

    How do you lose it?

     

    Spirit of The Fringe Award

    Jennifer O’Sullivan

    James Nokise

    by

  • Cinema & Painting – Review

    The electronic doors slide open. A shoe squeaks against the wooden floor as I inhale my first intoxicating breath of the Adam’s cool, purified air. My pupils, dilated by the saturation of light, gaze upon expansive white walls that are pregnant with possibility. The gallery has invited me in. Not knowing what lies around the corner of the Upper Chartwell Gallery is alluring, evocative, and sexy. It could be anything.

    Like going to the cinema, walking into a gallery is a multi-sensory experience. We are bombarded by images, the aromas present, and the sounds produced in the environment. We are here to be entertained, challenged, and enlightened. We are to view art. It is at the intersection of these two cultural phenomena that the Adam’s latest exhibition begins.

    Cinema & Painting offers an insight into the confusing world of genre-bending art. The works in this exhibition concurrently occupy different artistic identities. Judy Millar’s Space Work 7, for example, is an 11.1 x 4.3 m painted sculptural installation which sprawls across the gallery’s first exhibition space. Beginning as a strip of paint smeared across the wall, the piece extends obtrusively into the viewers’ space as it morphs into what looks like an unfurled film reel. Evoking cinematic imagery and energy, Millar’s installation is a hybrid of a multitude of artistic genres and the perfect opening line in the exhibition’s dialogue.

    Around the corner in the Upper Chartwell Gallery, Diana Thater employs theatrical lighting and found architecture to enhance the viewing of the engorged daisies being projected on to the gallery’s wall. The effect is both mesmerising and disturbing. While the environment is surreal and inviting, the projection of oversized daisies is reminiscent of the psychedelic boat-ride scene from the original Willy Wonka film. Intriguing, but creepy as fuck.

    The standout piece for me has to be Phil Solomon’s film, American Falls. Subjecting archival footage from America’s colonial history to chemical decay, Solomon’s film appears to spill out from the screen as we watch the corroding and destruction of American history. The images are distorted, and as the film transitions from one cultural touchstone to the next, viewers are served up a complex and re-edited past of the land of the free.

    Cinema and Painting is one of those rare exhibitions that challenges its viewers on every level. Questions like: ‘What is a film?’ and ‘What/where is the boundary between film and painting?’ are raised constantly throughout the show. It’s confusing, and playful, and above all else, it made me think.

    by

  • Qualia 760-620λ – Review

    Helen Calder: Qualia 760-620λ

    Enjoy Gallery

    Until 15 March

    Sometimes it’s nice to be told where to look. You’re having an eye exam, for example, and you’re getting more intimate than you thought you ever would with the plastic machine pushed against your face. Someone is giving you instructions, and you’re weirdly comfortable because there’s little room for error. Later, you tell the optician that you’re colour-blind: you have trouble with greens and reds. You can tell the difference between the two, you can interpret tonal variation; you’re colour-blind because you’ve been told so, but you can’t explain how you see differently.

    The word ‘qualia’ comes from the Latin ‘quale’ (meaning literally ‘what kind’), and is concerned with individual instances of subjective experience. It’s this space, where subjectivity reaches beyond elucidation, that concerns Helen Calder’s current exhibition at Enjoy.

    The gallery is occupied by two metal racks. One, rectangular and wheeled, stands in the centre of the space; the other juts out from the left-hand wall. On each rack hang strips of commercial paint in tones of red, ranging from the highest to lowest frequency visible to the human eye.

    The structures operate by implication. Reading a work of art is always contingent on each viewer’s individual inventory of experiences, and Calder’s work teases at this. Paint, in its release from pictorial space, is granted a physical presence. To be both what it is and isn’t. The metal bars strain under the weight of the forms and the room is, for a moment, an abattoir. The paint flesh. Rubbery, viscous and limp. In Calder’s work, bodily overtones are unrelenting. In the next moment, the forms adopt something comical about them: they become tongues, or giant fat fingers. The work inclines to both potential and deca, allowing for movement in its sparsity.

    It’s difficult to tell where the work ends, whether the frames are mere accessory, whether the window and the wall-mounted frame are in conversation with each other. Calder’s work is playful and seductive; it subverts the masculinist tradition of the previous century’s abstraction; she allows you to enter the work at your own pace, and holds you once you’re in.

    (PS for those of you who are interested, I’m down a further .5 in both eyes and my new glasses will make their campus debut this Friday.)

    by

  • About the Author ()

    Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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    Locked Out

    : - SPONSORED - The first prisons in New Zealand were established in the 1840s, and there are now 18 prisons nationwide.¹ According to the Department of Corrections, the prison population was 10,035 in March — of which, 50.9% are Māori, 32.0% are Pākehā, 11.0% are Pasifika, a