[by "elliot_k" november 2006]
Reportage. Why do I do this? I went to uni to study communication and cultural studies in the early 1990s. I majored in Creative Writing and Film and Television. I did pretty well, but did not complete the final unit. I was too busy organising poetry readings and performances. Editing and publishing poetry zines, gigging with my bands. Feeding and reading to my kids. Then I becam a professional tree-planter, weaving the contours of ex-farmland in WA's South West. Between 1998 and 2004 I planted nearly 2 million trees.
Nevertheless, I am not a journalist. I am a creative writer. An artist. A media-maker. I am a poet and musician. I am a father and a lover. I am an activist, a staunch environmentalist. A student of sustainability. My wife is an environmental scientist. My mates are anarchists, musos, artists, geeks, workers, capitalists , antiand DJs.
But I am not a journalist. At least I didn't start out intending to be one. When I went to sign up at Curtin Uni in 1993 I blatantly refused to add any Journalism units. Too rigid, I thought. Too finite. As a fiesty man in my early 20s I felt too constrained at the notion of journalism/reportage as a form of expression for me.
At uni, thanks to some radical tutors I was taken over by L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry and people like Sassure and Althusser, Barthes and Eco. I changed. Something in my head clicked and I began to articulate my inquisitive deconstruction of the media. I wrote about news-media as a cultural text, delving into the contemporary imediacy of dominant cultural memes; dissecting the artifact as it is consumed. The realisations that anything is a narrative to be analysed and rigourusly deconstructed.
I realised that nothing constructed is random - and perhaps more poetically, that you cannot critique the dominant culture if you are confined to the forms through which it reproduces itself, to quote Charles Bernstien.
And this idea of all crafted art as ideological texts; art as avante archeological extracts to read, deconstruct, consume and lend to creative, expressive regurgitations - it permeated into my writings, my poetry, my songwriting - all my art altered as I began to view the matrix of constructs around me.
Cobain was blowing his brains out as I was becoming enlightened. I was making zines and songs and pushing musical meanings, as the internet developed.
As a kid I'd always been fucking cynical of most things, and blatantly dismissive of government control, of order or heirarchy. I always thought of myself as somewhat anarchistic - but unable to articulate the underlying faults of democracy and the rapacious mechanics of capitalism. But I put these things in my art. My music and poetry, my online agitation.
When John Howard was elected Prime Minister. I watched as Australia became a little more racist, more suspicious, greedier, guarded... I watched my 30 year old friends absorbed into mortgage culture. In 2001 I watched them swallow the mainstream media's racist, xenophobic hype, as nightly news numbingly dehumanised and sensationalised groups of boat people as they attempted to seek asylum form persecution in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.
I watched in open-mouthed disbeleif as the Prime Minister using the military, to demand a group from the Tampa were refused entry into his country. I watched as John fucking Howard stole an election built on dogwhistle racecard politicking. 10 years in and he's dismantled countless social justice reforms.
I became enlightened when I discovered Indymedia and perhaps thats when I became a kind of journalist. I am also a community radio presenter and html/css/cms hack.
But primarily I am a poet...
last update: 17 november 2006