Category: Uncategorized

the veiled 1Director: Glenn Fraser

Writers: Glenn Fraser, Peter McLeod

Stars: Janet Shay, Zoe Carides, Nicholas Papademetriou

Haunting, eerie, yet thoughtful and composed with consummate care, The Veiled follows Cassandra (Janet Shay), an Australian fashion photographer used to shooting models by the breezy, open seaside, as she ventures into the world of women shut away from the daylight. Visiting family overseas is also a chance for Cassandra to search for clues to the disappearance of her sister years ago, leading her to the dark underworld of local sex-trafficking.

Having made a financial success of herself, transforming a mere hobby into paid work, Cassandra now seeks to put her snapshot skills to more urgent purpose, using her camera to turn her lens back onto predatory men, as well as to snatch important images of their victims. Photographs are of great symbolic importance in the film as (among other things) a currency of proof: verbal tales seem to count for little, and the women Cassandra is trying to help cannot speak English.

Although short, the film is populated by authentic and often sinister performances, and shots are composed with high attention to detail and atmosphere, while never cluttered or overdone. Overall, The Veiled is a striking and powerful film about guilt, memory, and responsibility, all structured around a terrible and urgent social problem. Highly recommended.

The Veiled Teaser from Digital Realm on Vimeo.

Public lecture and presentation by Dr Yvette Watt
Art Forum, Tasmanian College of the Arts
University of Tasmania, 20th May 2016 12:30pm

As part of the Tasmanian College of the Arts’ Art Forum seminar series, Tasmanian artist, lecturer, and animal activist Dr Yvette Watt delivered a highly engaging overview of her most recent project. ‘Duck Lake’ was an amateur performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet, aboard a floating pontoon-stage in the Tasmanian wetlands on March 15, 2016.

7223366-3x2-940x627This gleeful and openly eccentric endeavour was organised to protest the opening of duck-hunting season, during which the ordinarily peaceful Moulting Lagoon is disrupted by gunfire and carnage. In case such an project defied easy visualisation, Dr Watt provided a vibrant and fascinating series of slides (including video) to illustrate the process, and of course its striking culmination: the spectacle of dancers in pink tutus, hardhats, and parodic high-visibility pink ‘camouflage’ tights leaping and prancing delightedly at dawn.

Duck LakeWatt commenced her talk with a retrospective of her earlier artwork focused on our relationship to nonhuman animals (particularly farm animals) and its discomforting ethical implications. The photographic series ‘Animal Factories’ was particularly potent both intellectually and emotionally. The photos showed a series of factory chicken farms in Tasmania, many shot from afar—the structures isolated, imposing and arranged with eerie symmetry. A sense of the secrecy around animal agriculture was strongly evoked; while these industrial behemoths house many thousands of birds, snaps from outside show no trace of animal life around (and of course no hint of the torment within). Accordingly, Dr Watt explained her deliberate avoidance of the graphic imagery often employed by animal activists in favour of images that incite us to imagine for ourselves the lives of animals within these systems.

Screen-Shot-2016-02-03-at-3.51.41-pm-203hvdo.pngIn contrast to Watt’s previous work, Duck Lake employed humour distinctively as a device of engagement, leading Watt to discuss issues around using amusement to capture moral attention. She argued that artist-activists should not accept conservative commands against being ‘political’ in their work, but should also ‘be clever’ in devising modes of captivating their audience.

maxresdefaultDuck Lake was certainly clever and strangely captivating. The spectacle was obviously designed to direct public and media attention to the violence of duck-hunting. More than this though, such a flamboyant and unlikely activity, performed by dancers in parodies of ‘macho’ apparel, was also a critique of hunting as a violent affectation of traditional masculinities. It was clear from several images that Moulting Lagoon, when not ringing with gunfire and littered with beer cans and spent cartridges, is serenely beautiful. The garishly pink performance on the lagoon announced its artificiality in this natural setting, although in doing so underscored the artificiality of the destructive macho rituals it parodied and upstaged.

Yvette-with-dead-teal-1aDuck Lake was sponsored by a crowdfunding campaign, and Dr Watt acknowledged the generous support of her many helpers on a project requiring considerable collaboration.

Duck-shooting is an issue easily obscured in Tasmania’s conservative political landscape. Yet, impassioned, provocative, and thrillingly weird, Duck Lake was a protest not easily forgotten.

  • To request an end to duck-shooting in Tasmania, write to Matthew Groom, Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage: matthew.groom[AT]
  • You can also read more here, and sign the petition.


West African Groundnut Stew

I don’t post recipes; that I am choosing to do so in this instance will thus indicate my satisfaction with this one I’ve been fiddling with. Following the directions below will leave you with a luxuriously thick, healthy and cruelty-free West African Groundnut Stew. A colleague kindly passed this recipe on to me (exact source unknown. . . West Africa!). I’ve made it several times, gradually making a few amendments that make it both tastier and more nutritious.

Preliminary note: I don’t own or care about actual measuring cups. I use drinking mugs, so when I say 1 Cup, just throw a mug-full in there. If you do this consistently it’ll all balance out in the end!  (Or you can use exact cups if you like; I’m sure it won’t matter.)

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
1 half of a 375g jar of crunchy peanut butter (approx 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, pressed (minced from the jar is fine; 2 generous teaspoons)
2 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (adjust to taste; this is supposed to be spicy but not infernal)
3 tablespoons of peanut oil
[optional: 1 & 1/2 cups of chopped green beans; this will make it a little more filling though)
2 teaspoons of salt (adjust to taste, you might like an extra half-teaspoon or so)
3 cups of cubed sweet potato (I recommend approx 1/2-inch cubes, or you’ll be waiting forever for them to soften)
2 fistfuls of chopped fresh coriander leaves
1/2 170g bag of fresh spinach leaves, or two decent handfuls (optional but recommended; I like a lot of green on the scene. Add even more if you like.)
2 cups chopped onion (approx 2 good-sized onions)
3 cups of tomato juice
1/2 cup of apple juice
2 generous-sized chopped tomatoes
4-5 cups of fresh chopped choy sum (a.k.a. bok choy sum; i.e. a whole bunch as purchased)

Sidekick: your favourite thick and crusty bread (to be toasted in slices).


  • Groundnut Stew - simmerSaute the onions in the oil for about 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cayenne and garlic; saute for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the choy sum, sweet potatoes and saute, covered, for a few more minutes; but lift off to stir it around a bit. That’s a lot of choy sum in there, but it’ll reduce down of course.
  • Mix in the juices, salt, ginger, coriander, and tomatoes. If you go too heavy on the apple juice this will be too sweet and it’ll be a pain in the ass to re-balance it. I recommend starting with a half-cup (no more); you can always add a splash more later.
  • Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  • If you like, you can put the chopped green beans in at this point, then simmer for another 5 minutes. This is where I add the spinach instead. There isn’t any reason why you can’t add both — never too much veg, right?
  • Stir in the peanut butter, then gently simmer until ready to serve. Give it slurp to see if it’s spicy enough. If you like it a little sweeter, add a further splash of apple juice. If you can’t get enough of that peanutty taste, spoon an extra dollop in there. You know what you like.

If it gets too thick, simply add more tomato juice; it’s a stew but you don’t want it too boggy. Also, naturally you’ll lose liquid when you reheat later, so add a little more tomato juice before you do so.

Add your favourite garnish and serve with the lightly toasted bread.

Groundnut Stew