Project 2016: “What is a meaningful life?”

There exist a life path, which is never voiced but clearly paved. It is a life plan which bridges ethnic, cultural and geographic boundaries lending us all to undergo a similar journey.

However, when the time comes, bar the family we have been assigned and the friends we have managed to connect with, however many or few, we pass on. What mark have we imprinted on this Earth? Is that mark enough or are we seeking to leave a mark at all? What do you define as living a meaningful life?

2016 Project Guidelines:

Submit a one minute piece concerning your answer/interpretation of the question: “What is a meaningful life?”

Answers should be both personal and original, and the final compilation of answers will be posted on the BigQfilms Website.

Submission Details:

· Topic for 2016?

“What is a meaningful life?”

· Final length of video presentation?

~1 minute

· DEADLINE for submissions?

1 December 2016

· Where should I submit my video?

Email through your video submissions to: bigQfilmsproject@gmail.com

· What about written pieces?

Due to popular demand, bigQfilms is also accepting written pieces (~1 minute reading time equivalent). If you would like to submit a written piece, please email your submission for “What is a meaningful life?” to bigQfilmsproject@gmail.com

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Additional video submission information:

· Video requirements?

Submit something you believe reflects your best work and something, which you would be proud to present. The submission must be YOUR PERSONAL interpretation of the topic. You do NOT have to be a professional filmmaker, amateurs are welcome.

· Video submission format:

  • Footage of an event/place/people etc.
  • Music/Song/poem (Self-written) – filming of you/someone else performing it.
  • Powerpoint with voice over of a poem or song etc. you have written.
  • Journalistic interview format
  • Narrative
  • Documentary – political, social, humorous, serious, sad, personal opinion
  • ANYTHING really,.. be creative and think of innovative ways to get your message across!! This is NOT an exhaustive list of options, it is merely a guide to those completely lost!

· What camera should I use?

Whatever camera you own – Even high quality phone cameras can be used. (Try use the highest resolution camera you personally have access to)

What is race to David Bovey Wang?

David is a student at the University of Sydney studying philosophy, Chinese studies, and media and communications. He was born and raised in Sydney after his parents moved from Northern China.

“I’m part of a Chinese diaspora, and I identify as such, at least more so than as an Australian. As a result of this hybrid identity, and because of the added complexity of living in a settler colonial nation-state, I’ve been much more comfortable taking on the role of ‘global citizen’.” – David

Movement, then, is a very important part of who he is and it is something which he is accustomed to; and something that he looks forward to.

“Moving between borders and seeing other people has helped me better understand my being in the world in a very fundamental way.” – David

This video is intentionally filmed without sound, the interpretation thereof is at the discretion of the viewer.

What does race mean to Remy Low?

remy

Remy Low is a scholarly teaching fellow in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney. He is interested in questions of identity and diversity, with a particular focus on the experiences of young people. When he is not buried in books and papers concerning these issues, Remy also enjoys reading poetry, wandering or skating down urban streets, visiting art galleries, attending gigs, and attempting to write gonzo commentaries on arcane topics as homage to his literary idol – Hunter S. Thompson.

BigQfilms contacted Remy after reading a powerful and moving article (read here) he had written about the late Bob Gould, owner of Gould’s book arcade in Newtown. BigQfilms decided to pursue Remy and ask him about his thoughts on race, his personal experience and views on the topic as a scholarly fellow and intellectual. This post marries academic knowledge and personal interpretation of race and to say it is enlightening is a mere understatement.

“It was imprinted on my birth certificate and inscribed in my body from the first moments of life. I carried it with me in my earliest social interactions with peers as we played together in the side streets, well as with adults on the main streets. If Martin Heidegger is right to suggest that dwelling is a type of thinking, then to be born in Malaysia in the twilight of the twentieth century was also to think race. This is not to say that people thought about it systematically, let alone critically. To dwell also lends itself to a type of forgetting – or more precisely an unreflective thinking – that is borne by familiarity. It’s thinking through it without thinking about it, as when you are able to find your way to the bathroom of your house in the middle of the night, somehow negotiating the darkness of the corridors and your sleepy state. Race was like this for me. It was there in schools, in government institutions, in homes, and at the marketplace. In chatter it mingled with the warm, humid air and settled to form a sticky layer on the skin like sweat. No form of washing or air-conditioning would stave off the inevitability of sweating in that climate, just as one’s race carried a sense of necessity and destiny. This was in the air I breathed and the landscape I dwelt in those early years.

In Black Skin White Mask, the Martinique-born psychiatrist and writer Frantz Fanon recounts the daily experiences of being marked out as “black” upon arrival in France: “I came into the world imbued with the will to find a meaning in things, my spirit filled with the desire to attain to the source of the world”, he declares, “and then I found that I was an object in the midst of other objects.” When I read those words for the first time as an eighteen year-old, I remember feeling a sinking sense of recognition that drew me back to my pre-teens, when I first arrived in Australia. Race worked very differently here. It was certainly not formally institutionalised or officially used as a means of partitioning populations as had been the case in Malaysia, but the stillness on the surface of things only betrayed a deep undercurrent. Fanon’s words haunted me when I read them because the memory of being called “Asian” or “mongrel” (a term of insult denoting a person of mixed or ambiguous racial identification) on the first day of school here lay festering, like a wound still seeping from an infection that never properly healed. My teenage years were spent surfing, listening to punk rock and hip hop, reading up on poetry and politics, chasing fleeting romances, and playing Australian-rules football – that strange hybrid sport born from the marriage of Gaelic football and expansive cricket grounds. These were all dimensions of my being, each passionately held as a part of my identity. Yet what Fanon describes as the “crushing objecthood” of being reduced to a race was an experience that was not uncommon throughout those years. I may have been many things, but it often returned to the way I looked and how I fit or didn’t fit into that box. In short, I often felt like an object, a thing.

I have no doubt that my experiences with race contributed to my eventual scholarly interest in questions of identity and diversity. As I reflect on the moments recounted above, as well as on other people’s experiences encountered through books, films and in conversation, I have come to understand that race is, like all other dwellings, built by humans. We all look, sound, smell, walk and talk differently. And in our most private moments, we feel deeply that we are unique and wish to be taken as such by others. Yet the need to categorise people – according to this or that shade of skin, this or that shape of nose, this or that type of hair – appears to be an all too human impulse. From there, certain behavioural traits and “natural” dispositions are extrapolated, and before long negative associations that “they” exhibit are contrasted with “our” virtuous selves. A cursory reading of human history will uncover the cost of acting on this way of thinking.

When a dwelling is no longer hospitable for living, a few options present themselves: to renovate the dwelling to make it more hospitable; to build a new dwelling; to move elsewhere to find a more suitable dwelling; or to insist against all evidence that the dwelling is fine and continue living in it. Sadly, the latter option is taken by far too many people when it comes to thinking about race. As long as they do, countless tragedies and injustices – on a large scale as well as in everyday life – will continue to unfold. Perhaps it’s high time we had a look at this dwelling called race and ask ourselves: Does this way of thinking befit human beings in all their diversity and complexity?”

Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts and this post.

“What is race to Vanessa Yang?”

Bigqfilms asked Vanessa Yang what race means to her. Vanessa migrated from Fuzhou, China to Australia in 2011 and has completed her studies in 2013. Living in a multinational country, she is learning the importance of human identity to reduce racial prejudice faced in Australia. This is the response she gave:

“According to John H. Relethford, race is a population that shares some biological characteristics. It is widely accepted that primarily skin color, hair texture and face- shape can be used to classify people into different race groups. On the basis of this theory, two individuals who are both of Chinese descent but one grew up in an Asian country while the other was exposed to Western country are regarded as the same race called Mongoloid. However, when comparing the behaviour and mindsets between the two individuals, it turned out to be totally different. This is because when people try to identify themselves, they often imitate the behaviours from other people surrounding them. Their mindsets are influenced by different beliefs and education methods they are exposed to. It is hard to classify the race of someone who has Chinese descent but behaves the same as Caucasoid. In the age of globalization, the phenomenon like the example above is common. Therefore, distinguishing people from different race groups is not as simple as judgment of different appearances.

In my opinion, people lay emphasis on the variations which exist interracially rather than intra- racially. In the globalized background, it is meaningless to classify someone into a specific race but justify him or her as a unique individual influenced by their surrounding environment. A Mongoloid can believe in what the Caucasoid believes and act in the same way as a Caucasoid acts. In other words, race is a concept of human minds, not of nature.”

Video Submission Project 2015: “What Is Race?”

What does race mean to you?

2015 – Guidelines:

Submit a one minute piece concerning your answer/interpretation of the question: “What is race?”

Answers should be both personal and original, and the final compilation of answers will be posted on the BigQfilms Website.

Details:

· Topic for 2015?

“What is race?”

· Final length of presentation?

~1 minute

· Requirements?

Submit something you believe reflects your best work and something, which you would be proud to present. The submission must be YOUR PERSONAL interpretation of the topic. You do NOT have to be a professional filmmaker, amateurs are welcome.

· Submissions could be:

  • Footage of an event/place/people etc.
  • Music/Song/poem (Self-written) – filming of you/someone else performing it.
  • Powerpoint with voice over of a poem or song etc. you have written.
  • Journalistic interview format
  • Narrative
  • Documentary – political, social, humorous, serious, sad, personal opinion
  • ANYTHING really,.. be creative and think of innovative ways to get your message across!! This is NOT an exhaustive list of options, it is merely a guide to those completely lost!

· DEADLINE for submissions?

1 August 2015

· What camera should I use?

Whatever camera you own – Even high quality phone cameras can be used. (Try use the highest resolution camera you personally have access to)

· Where should I submit my video?

Email through your submissions to: bigQfilmsproject@gmail.com