X-it by Ted Colless

For the three or four years I attended the VCA I had little to do with Colless, the occasional lecture while completing the Graduate Certificate in Art before the Master degree. Reading his introduction to Art & Australia Volume 1 I found some genuinely interesting and new conceptual ways of dealing with what i think of as Gramsci’s problem, the old has ended but the new cannot be born, and in that interregnum a whole lot of monstrosities appear. Edward drills down into the details of these horrors, with descriptions of the unreachable, indescribable places (my words) ‘modern capitalism’ makes for exclusion, interrogation, imprisonment, and even a fear of others so deep it is a kind of leprosy. A rot.

The border and the fence are described as a place where x assemble. X is not only the refugee but also any entity that doesn’t belong. He then formulates a mathematical equation for the things all falling apart. He is not gripped by y Marxist need to break down the borders, to be out there visibly demanding not/this. But as a description of the world we now inhabit never before experienced quite like this, i have seldom seen better.

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