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Counihan Plinth in front of Brunswick Town Hall
233 Sydney Rd, Brunswick.

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A letter from Me.

Dear Brunswick,whatdoestheworld_August 27, 2013_SA_1_lowres copy 2

Wow. And Thank you.
And yes. And no. And maybe.

I’ve read all your words.
I’ve talked to many of you.
I asked a question.
And you’ve asked me a gazillion back.

Within an hour of this chalkboard going up –
you’d had a fair go.
Within 24 hrs it was completely full:
YOLO.
Refugees are welcome.
I love you.
Woohoo.
The Simpsons Theme song.
Give animals voices!
Give people voices.
More singing.
Per adua ad astra  – which I learnt meant : reach for the stars
And I watched a dad write for his child “more knock-knock jokes”.

And conversations began between you.

Ticking and crossing.
Agreeing on uke playing, truth and empathy to those who seek asylum.

You’ve talked about veganism.
Music tastes.
Suggested we should listen to Nelson Mandela, The Dalai Lama Or… our mothers.

You wrote rants:“tights are not pants”
Fix upfield bike path
Save public housing
No to fracking.
Less people selling me things!

And a round of applause to the person who wrote every week “stop the pornification of our society”.

Women’s safety is a concern here.
And violence.

You reminded me that the anniversary of Jill Meagher’s death is this this month.

You’ve drawn rainbows, and sunshine.
And trees. Lots of trees.
And scribbles.
And someone yesterday wrote “Draw. It will calm your soul.”

After a while other languages appeared.

Timorese. Chinese. Japanese.
I couldn’t understand a lot of it, but was so glad to see it.
I asked a girl to translate and in broken English she explained: My home, is your home.

It was clear this area is a safe Labor seat and Tony wasn’t our favourite person.
The board got quite messy in the week before the election.
And quiet afterwards….

“We Tried”. You wrote.
“Why?” “Why Tony?”
And, well, a fair bit of swearing too.

And on Tuesdays and Saturdays we’ve had music, and placards.
Rants, poems and stories.
Children, artists, teenagers, activists, a choir, my housemate and neighbours.
A few brave strangers too.
I’ll never forget a woman getting up with her bub and yelling “I just love Brunswick, it’s been so good moving here!”

And I have no idea what has been said while I’ve not been here.
But it’s moved a bit, so I know it’s at lease being prodded.

I was a bit scared about doing a public sculpture.
Not sure what would get damaged.
But nothing has.
Even the bloody chalk box came undone and has stayed here.

People of Brunswick you have reaffirmed my much loved statement
“I BELIEVE IN PEOPLE!”

We will be taking the yellow down this week.
The megaphone, grass and chalkboard.
But the plinth will be here still.

As it always was.
And I hope we all use it still.

A massive thank you to Dan Mitchell and Moreland City Council, who let me do this project.
Dan has been a very trusting and supportive curator.
There are few councils that would back this project – and I am very glad that I live and work in one that does.

And Brunswick.

Because you’ve been everything, and more.

– Alex Desebrock Maybe (___) Together. 

Carl Polke: sounds he’s heard far and wide

Local Carl Polke hasn’t been in Brunswick for quite some time.

So he’s sent us sounds of what he’s heard.

“New York, trains, planes, buses, the Jazz band in the Empire State Building on Christmas morning, the guy taking official “snaps”, street talk,  Ania playing the pipe organ in the world famous Royce Hall in Los Angeles, street scammers, our Cuban friend in Cuba going through a few riffs, Arnhem land Oenpelli bird chorus at dawn, the “cheeky” dogs of Maningrida,  some song and dance, Perth trains…. that’s what the world needs to hear, I reckon!”

Amelia Mazis: I am more than my body.

amelia“A mother, Kim Hall, made a blog post last week, attacking young girls on Facebook for sexualizing themselves where her sons could see it.

The article, named “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)” discusses how girls are posting pictures that Kim deems inappropriate, and talks about how they are over-sexualising themselves.

In her post, she claimed that once a boy has seen a girl ”in a state of undress”, they cannot unsee it.

That that girl then becomes nothing more than a body in the boy’s mind.

She threatened to block those girls, and made it clear that their posts would be unwelcome in her family’s household.

She acted as though all the blame was on the girls, although her blog post is teaching boys that women cannot be beautiful and smart at the same time.

I say shame on you Mrs. Hall.

You should not be teaching your boys that women are only to be judged on their bodies, and the things that they choose to do with them.

You should be reminding your children, including your eight year old daughter, that you can be a successful woman, while still looking hot as shit.

You should not be telling them that because a girl posted a picture of herself pouting, that she is then worth less than she was before she posted the photo.

Body image amongst youth is a serious issue, and you telling girls they cannot be proud of their bodies is just adding to that.

You should be letting your daughter know that you aren’t automatically a bad person, just because you think your stomach looks nice and decide to upload a picture of it on the internet.

In an age where people document everything online, you can’t stop people from posting pictures after they shower, or uploading pictures of their cats, or sharing a badly filtered photo of their coffee.

They have the right of freedom to post whatever they like.

A few days ago, I made a post about politics. The next day I posted a picture of my legs.

I guess I won’t be having dinner at the Hall’s household anytime soon.” 

Friday 13th.

It had rained.
It was 5 days after the election.
And it was a Black Friday. (if that is important to know.) x

Fern Smith with a poem.

in the dark lightly 

fern

nine in ten
walk with family
walk with friends

eyes wide open
darting sideways
hand on phone
in the dark lightly

nine in ten
walk with family
walk with friends

step lightlyreclaim-the-night-Fern-Smith
ears stretching out
nostrils  alert
ready to scream
in the dark lightly

nine in ten
live with family
live with friends

don’t ogle
don’t say a word
keep your hands in your pockets
your feet on the ground
don’t turn around
keep away

nine in ten
walk with family
walk with friends

she hid in the cupboard
she fled down the street
she slid through the cracks
in the dark lightly

nine in ten
call a friend
call family

in the dark lightly

by Fern Smith Monday 5.00pm  9th September 2013

This is poem brought me to the verge of tears, because this was written on the plinth earlier that day.
I hadn’t realised it had already been a year…
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Jill touched many Moreland women.
Let us all be safe.
Let our community be safe.
Let it be more than 9 in 10.

xx