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Rising from the Covid ashes 

The phoenix has risen

The New Double Dialogues

Although the editorial board welcomes articles and poems about art and its power to solve problems or develop insights about our world, there are further activities that we will be introducing.

1. Open discussions online on topics of interest to us all.

2. Discussions of relevant publications in Double Dialogues.

3. We continue to be a publishing venue. Publications of new major works accompanied by

discussion and interrogations.

4. Acknowledging the power of art, film, theatre and metaphor generally to ascertain the meaning of our times.

5. A monthly podcast on Double Dialogues will evolve into a Double Dialogues YouTube channel run by Ann McCulloch and Kathryn Keeble featuring guests from all parts of the arts: Renowned artists and thinkers who share our perception that aesthetics embody old and new truths.


In our first pod cast we will be discussing what Double Dialogues is all about. In preparation we ask our listeners to refer to the attached paragraphs that can be found in references provided. These extracts will remind us of previous discussions and publications that DD has been interested in.


1996 Issue 1

Dancing the Bridge – Performance/Research: A Polemic

Mark Minchinton

Last paragraph

And if the (small) connections I’ve drawn between the discourses of party politics, performance, and university research seem far-fetched, or overstated, let me state that we are in a war: the political conservatism and reemergence of retrograde discourses on race in this country are connected to debate on knowledge and research, and the universities should be places of resistance and not only the articulation, but the production, of difference.

2002 Issue 2

Lines of Flight

De Chirico and Walker in light of Nietzsche and Guattari: The Enigma of Partial Bodies in Illogical Spaces

A.M. McCulloch & R.A. Goodrich (in consultation with Deborah Walker)

What we have been demonstrating is that de Chirico is strongly influenced by Nietzschean philosophy; that, indeed, he believes that paintings can embody a philosophical message. This concern with the loss of unity and the separation of the Apollinian and the Dionysian is one that heralds the collision and collusion between modernism and postmodernism. The reflexivity in his work is one that influences Deborah Walker. Her apparently ‘naive realist’ paintings contain a philosophical, mythological, and poetic instancing of enigma, not a static conception of the mystery of life, but in the presences and absences apprehended. The ‘bodies’ or figurations that exist in these spaces are, in the Guattarian (1972/1995: 128-129) as opposed to the Freudian sense, ‘desiring machines’ caught in the moment between deep sleep and waking, the moment of emergence in which the Apollinian and Dionysian seem to coalesce. Their very stillness contains within in them a pre-sentiment of knowing, flight, action: a presentation of the enigma and its affects.

2003 Issue 4

Art and Pain

Depression and Expression: Life Begins on the Other Side of Despair

Ann McCulloch

Existentialists queried the meaning of life in which death, without belief in God, became meaningless. Depressives ask: What is it that I am, that has not self, meaning, or relevance, that is dark, with no help? They in their void experience the Dionysian insight that it is better not to have been born as anguish. When not locked motionless in their rooms, they push through the fog of days in pain, fear and isolation. Lights can sear into their souls, loved ones become irrelevant, the body sometimes willing, the mind choosing oblivion. This is being at its darkest; this is part of our human condition; it is our suffering and known to Buddhism and Nietzschean insight as that which must be named. We cannot go on or transform it if we do not affirm the fact of this particular form of human suffering. Interface between philosophical axiom (in its creative Sartrean delivery) and psychological experience occurs. The ‘thing’ finds expression. People recover from depression. It is conquerable. It is argued that it is inexpressible, that we must see it as a ‘black bile’ and feel comfortable with the drugs that placate its demons or analysis that names its causes. Sartre’s Nausea demonstrates the way in which one can hear its essence which is its ‘nothingness.’ For the existentialist ‘en soi’ (that is, nothingness equals being), it is from this ‘being’ that man and woman create their ‘essence,’ or as Nietzsche has argued can be transformed by art and the art of living. This choice ‘to be,’ argues Sartre, is fraught with anxiety; it entails the mind and the body equally. Literature and the arts express the ineffable, a knowledge that creates a courage ‘to be,’ if we can accept, in a positive sense, Sartre’s proclamation that ‘Life begins on the other side of despair.’

2005 Issue 6

Anatomy & Poetics

Frida Kahlo and the Imagery of Tragedy

Ken Wach

(Frida Kahlo: A Few Small Snips, (or ‘A Few Small Pricks’), o/metal, 38 x 48.5 cm., Collection Dolores Olmedo, Mexico City, 1935.)

This painting was inspired by a local newspaper report of a brutal murder in Mexico City, where the murderer complained about the so-called ‘excessive’ term of his sentence. According to the report the man said that all he did was give the woman ‘a few small snips’ – hardly an apt description for the twenty stab wounds suffered by the victim! The painting and its sardonically ironic title, therefore, seems to have been motivated by a moral disgust with the way women were often treated in Mexico at the time. For Kahlo to do this in a society where women were often voiceless victims, where a wrong look or a gesture can bring trouble and where women’s bruises after beatings were referred to as ‘love bites’, took considerable and unusual courage.

2007 Issue 8

Art & Lies I

Society; Politics; History & Performance

Aporia Australis: Lies and Responsibility

Grayson Cooke

‘Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life.’
John Howard, ABC Radio, 25 August 1995

‘By definition the liar is someone who says that he says the truth … but the more a political machine lies the more it makes the love of truth into the watchword of its rhetoric.’
Jacques Derrida, ‘History of the Lie’

As something of a prefatory move, I would like to begin with the proposition that Australia is a particularly appropriate place around which to structure a discussion of the lie, because in some way Australia was founded on a lie and lives the reverberations of this lie daily. Contemporary Australia inherits this lie, it lives with it, savours it, experiences it as a quality of the light, a quality of the air, as well as an ongoing socio/cultural/economic reality. This lie is the lie of an empty land, a land of no-one, aterra nullius.

2010 Issue 12

Interior Worlds: Hidden Stories

On the Cusp

Radical Ethics and the Figure of the Boy in Christos Tsiolkas’ Dead Europe and The Slap

Neena Balwan Sachdev

Writing blasphemously then is not just to shock or outrage but to articulate ‘concrete reality’. Paedophilia – and indeed sex with minors, the use of drugs, slapping a child not your own – need not be either vindicated or condemned but it must be explored as a reality of the ‘state of emergency’ we live in.

Tsiolkas continues:

… we are required, I believe, to always look towards that defined as unspeakable, intolerable, traitorous, seditious, evil and abject in order to ensure that the violence enacted against its expression is given a voice, shaped into a memory. (Tsiolkas, Haigh and Wright 48) Tsiolkas, Christos (2008). ‘On the Concept of Tolerance’ in Tsiolkas, Christos, Haigh, Gideon and Wright, Alexis, Tolerance, Prejudice and Fear (Australia: Allen and Unwin).

2018 Issue 20

Why Do Things Break?

Art has a way of Breaking Through

Kathryn Keeble

This introductory essay attempts to represent the diversity of responses to the question asked of people either attending the Double Dialogues conferences of the last two years or who have written specifically for the DD19 journal issue. The question is ‘Why do Things Break?’. The subsequent essays deal with the three abiding themes of literature, film, art and life: birth, loving/hating and death. Whereas some deliberately mold their artistic practice around personal experience of loss and survival, others approach the subject intellectually and seek to identify points at which models of art and Industry, political structures, Ideologies; medical practice and scientific paradigms begin to crack splinter and fragment. It was anticipated that participants engaged in this question would seek after identifying the cracks, to answer the question why did this break when it did? And so, the writers of the following essays commenced with all relevant questions. .  In Keeble’s short film Paris, August 1948, Behan and Beckett, both wresting ghosts from their wartime experiences and caught in the broken, postwar ‘enormous prison’ [Beckett, 2003: 369) that is existence, ‘can’t go on’ and yet, ‘must go on’ (Beckett, 2010: 134).

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