Sir Vidia on El Dorado

August 15, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, Non-Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |

V.S. Naipaul (17 August 1932 – 11 August 2018) was fairly down on colonialisation, perhaps because he correctly divined its attendant psychology.  Here he is on Columbus, Robinson Crusoe and the quest for El Dorado: “The facts about Columbus have always been known. In his own writings and in all his actions his egoism is like an exposed deformity; he condemns himself. But the heroic gloss, which is not even his own, has come down through the centuries…In this adventure, as in today’s adventures in space, the romance is something we ourselves have to apply…But the black legend of Spain…

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It’s a Date

July 5, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE |

History and the Everlasting Present History is infinite, Culture diffuse. To aid our sense of perspective, however, to use the past to process the everlasting present, we have to start somewhere; a sketch, in linear fashion, with what we think are key (often approximate) dates, including taking ‘B.C.’ (sorry, we still prefer ‘BC’ and ‘AD’) as modern year zero, rather than 4 years before. Needless to say, this is a work in progress. Too long ago to tell – Fire. The first cave art. Harvest of wheat and grains. The Wheel.     7000 years ago Egypt develops its line of…

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Fake or Fortune: Artists’ Techniques

June 30, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY |

A talk by Andrew Durham, The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide, 20 June 2019 In a wide-ranging and rather disordered lecture, Art Conservator Andrew Durham (from Artlab) covered topics as diverse as art forgery, preservation, techniques and use of materials, as well as the problems posed to conservation and preservation by the anarchic and chaotic predilections of artists. Durham moved at speed from one vignette to another, but the Big Theme was the overarching and critical need for care: in use of materials, in execution, and in knowing when to down tools. In the Good Old Days, of course, the first 2…

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Homage to Catullus

May 9, 2019 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | HISTORY, Poetry |

A rumination: Farts foreshadow faeces, Poppers presage poo; When they start, and carry on There’s little else to do But find yourself a toilet And sit yourself right down, Unless your suiting will assume A savage shade of brown.  

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“Who Owns the Past?”

April 16, 2019 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS |

John Bray Oration by Geoffrey Robertson QC, Adelaide University, April 2, 2019 In a very interesting, and only slightly windy, lecture, Robertson QC gave us a very entertaining and erudite exegesis on both South Australia’s Periclean Chief Justice of the 1970s, Dr John Jefferson Bray QC, and the vexed and more immediate question of title to ancient artefacts, a subject close to TVC‘s heart. This is a topic that evokes much chest-beating and arm-waving.  But take the Elgin (or Parthenon) Marbles, one of the more contentious works of art subject to a claim by the Government of Greece (it now…

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