Rebecca Solnit: Men explain Lolita to me.

Photographs and essays and novels and the rest can change your life; they are dangerous. Art shapes the world. I know many people who found a book that determined what they would do with their life or saved their life. Books aren’t life preservers; there are more complex, less urgent reasons to read them, including pleasure, and pleasure matters.

Solnit, 2015.

Men explain Lolita to me

80 books no woman should read

Are you my motherland?

Are you my motherland? Or the myth of nationality from the diary of an antipodean interloper.

2015 Cabinet exhibition Whitecliffe College of Arts & Design.

PART ONE: Foyer cabinet

Justine Giles, 2015, If you lived in this box     Justine Giles, 2015, If you lived in this box(detail)

Justine Giles, 2015. If you lived in this box you’d be home now [cardboard, marker pen, stick]

 

PART TWO: Library cabinet

Justine Giles, 2015, The things we (never) leave behind Justine Giles, 2015, The things we (never) leave behind2 Justine Giles, 2015, The things we (never) leave behind3

Justine Giles, 2015. The things we (never) leave behind [Nana’s embroidered table runner, sprouting potatoes, dimensions variable].

 

Are you my motherland? Or the myth of nationality from the diary of an antipodean interloper.

Nationality, unlike race or culture, is arbitrary.

Parliamentary debates about changing the New Zealand flag, as well as the issue of extending New Zealand’s quota in response to the refugee crisis, have brought issues around nationality to the foreground in recent months.

What constitutes nationality? Is it a birth certificate? A passport? Citizenship? Having a family history in a particular place? In a country formed through migration, we all have stories from other places that have helped construct our identities.

If nationality is based primarily on happenstance, distilling our diversity into a cohesive symbolic identity is problematic; we don’t all fit into the same box.

And if nationality is so tenuous, how can we make decisions on who does or does not belong?