Being political now

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  • Published 20060905
  • ISBN: 9780733319389
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

IN THE BEGINNING was the ’60s. Or so we’re told – the culture wars can be traced back to the second wave of feminism, the pill, traditions fractured, authority called into question. A lot of symbolic weight for a decade to bear, and its images are burned into our collective imagination. At the Museum of Brisbane, they jump off the walls – photos of long-haired protesters in bellbottoms confronting Special Branch detectives in brown suits and unruly sideburns; posters, badges, banners, summonses. The Taking to the Streets exhibition (on display until September 24, 2006) revives memories of the causes and experience that symbolise a generation.

I recall another exhibition held at the Queensland Art Gallery a decade ago, which recreated a typical student lounge room from the ’80s, the symbols of radicalism and a political lifestyle evoked by material things. The “greed is good” decade was another decade of radicalism in Queensland. But understanding the nameless decade – the millennium, the noughties, the period that radio announcers can only describe as now (“playing the best hits from the ’80s, ’90s and now”) – is more challenging.

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About the author

Aaron Corn

Aaron Corn is an Associate Professor at the Australian National University, whose work explores the intersection of public collections and the creative arts with...

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