Voiceworks #106, ‘Motive’, contributors tell us what motivated their work, pictured by their favourite detective. You can read the entire issue by purchasing a copy from our online shop or by waltzing into one of these fine retailers.
The Neighbourhood Dogs
‘The Neighbourhood Dogs’ is about unspoken complexities in the search for queer identity. When Peta and Leah’s flawed relationship finally ends, Peta is forced to confront the fact that, unlike the dogs that populate the park across the road, she has no idea what her place in the world actually is, queer or otherwise.
‘Bee Sting’ came out of an obsession with Blade Runner, a conversation about banana lollies and the desire to write a fierce female protagonist. The result is a story about a girl fighting oppression, but it features some sweet fight scenes and robots too.
‘Becoming’ is about noise. The soft moan of a kettle. The howl of a child. The static of a mind. Audrey is a mother, wife and woman whose actions resist the expectations placed upon each of these roles. I wanted her to scream, but ultimately she doesn’t see the point.
When a plane crash brings a stranger into Salt Boy’s isolated desert community, an uneasy tension begins to build between the two outcasts. This story owes its setting and its tone to the hot, alien landscapes of last year’s long drives back home.
Emma Kate Lewis
‘Itch’ is about mosquito bites and swimming in freezing freshwater creeks. It’s also about the discomfort that occurs when changes take place, both within and around us. I was motivated to write this piece by an overwhelming urge to scratch.
‘Dust Pools’ is a dreamy fusion of memories and people from my childhood, woven together to create an insight into life in the outback. I have always found the barren landscape and brooding farmers of the country fascinating, and decided to capture this through the eyes of my younger self.
The Encyclopaedia of Wild Things
This piece explores how imagination restructures reality. By positioning the child narrator as a conscious, complex agent in the story, it aims to destabilise adult ways of knowing and portray learning as a dynamic project. As agency arises when information is interpreted and interacted with, identity is powered by invention.
the archivist line at the kebab shop
‘the archivist in line at the kebab shop’ is about all the boys who have done me wrong and my insatiable gullibility. It was inspired by a conversation I had with my sister about the madness of modern dating and all the ways I fall prey to it.
confessions of a teenage gorgon
Mawson Outpost, Antarctica
I wrote ‘Mawson Outpost, Antarctica’ watching a free webcam feed set up by the Australian Antarctic Division on antarctica.gov.au. The poem is a response to exploration in that cold place, the tragic fate of Douglas Mawson’s Far Eastern Party that first attempted it, and the deep strangeness of the live-streamed frontier.
Zhi Yi Cham
‘idle’ was written in one of those stretched-out seconds where each moment of acute loneliness is recounted and analysed. It is a numbness and an all-too-much induced by a series of ‘how did I get here?’ I’m still looking for Muliyadi.
Holly Friedlander Liddicoat
A series of impressions walking to and sitting in a cafe in Newtown, Sydney. What does gentrification look like from the position of one who is right in the middle of it? And what is the meaning of being there, right at its thickest part?
Love in the Pig Empire
The form of ‘Love in the Pig Empire’ was inspired by Carol Anne Duffy’s dramatic monologues, and the subject matter by Peter Carey’s short stories. Duffy paints the thoughts of morally grey narrators and Carey depicts patriarchal and classist manifestations of personal and political worlds colliding in his characters’ sex lives.
Queen Victoria Sepulchre (The Meat Market)
This poem considers the history of the Queen Victoria Market, built upon a nineteenth-century cemetery. Today the market is a vibrant hive of movement and noise. Yet, the meat hall remains imbued with a morbidity to which we have become desensitised. I hope to restore to a more sinister aspect to this everyday setting.
Michael Stratford Hutch
A central condition of personhood is the knowledge of our boundaries—the edges of human character beyond which lie unpredictable thoughts, feelings and actions. Who knows what we’re capable of? What conditions, for instance, would make me kill my husband of twenty-five years? At what point do I become the hysterical, murderous bitch of myth? I guess we’ll see.
A Walk in the Garden of Acclimitisation
I spent some time in the middle of this year re-reading Voss and thinking about how Australian landscapes are written, before realising I was an idiot and I couldn’t even name ten of the birds in the city I grew up in. In trying to figure that out, I learnt a lot about the algal consequences of stocking rivers with non-native fish, the logistics of kookaburra transportation, and the fecundities of funding Edwardian era zoos—as well as the fact that all three of those things were, and remain, immanently moronic pursuits.
One Thousand Steps
My Bung Leg and Me
How to Dress Right for Your Body Type
‘How to Dress Right for Your Body Type’ explores self-representation and queer identity. A simple photograph and the haunting memory of a dress serve as motivation to process past trauma, and to understand the self as individual and relational.
I Ink, Therefore I Am
My piece has its roots in a fear of octopuses generated by a far-too-close encounter with an irritated blue-ring when I was younger. That fear morphed quickly into fascination when I recently caught the gaze of a captive Maori octopus called Medusa—or rather, she caught mine.
Alberto Di Troia
‘Is there a fate worse than being gay and Italian?’ ‘Homo Italiano’ draws on my own big fat Italian identity crisis to show how one might navigate the minefield of modern identity, culture and belonging through a prism of pop culture.
Kuyashii Still Life
Kuyashii (悔しい) is a Japanese word that describes the burning desire to prove someone wrong, prior to failure or ridicule.
Don’t Tell Her
‘Don’t Tell Her’ was created during a time when I was researching dissociation disorders, auras and psychic abilities for a zine. It sprung from those ideas swirling around in my head.
I drew this after an interview for a job, which I ended up getting! Drawing was a way of relaxing myself. Around that period, I was also working on finding my own illustration style. I found inspiration from Jeannie Phan’s cleverly thought out composition, Maria-Ines Gul’s carefree, sporadic brushstrokes and Sha’an D’anthes’s cohesively laid out textures.
Saturdays after diCorcia and Duras
Based on a diCorcia photograph seen at the Whitney, I painted this during a long summer day in a Toronto apartment. I love that the scene encapsulates the idea of motive, yet is so ambiguous. The melancholy man, ft. goldfish, is going somewhere, but it is up to the viewer to guess where, and why.
‘Contact’ depicts a woman peering at something out of sight, surprised by what she’s seen. There is a mystery behind what she has seen and why she is so shocked.
‘Heyy, I miss you, wanna hang? xxx.’ I wretch, then impulsively text back, ‘yes’. This grainy piece was initially drawn with ink in a drunken haze. It’s an honest reflection upon past manipulative relationships. Specifically, with notorious f-boys and their invitations to late-night closure. From either side there are motives, may they be honest or hidden.
‘Greenhouse’ is a vignette of the company of houseplants, shyness of shopkeepers and simple acts of kindness. The shop itself is based on a lush little shop in Newcastle called High Swan Dive. The plants, living and dying, are the ones around my own house that make the place feel alive and never lonely.
The Library of Babel
Three years ago I wrote this comic with a connector pen on a scrap piece of paper and it included a joke about Derrida. I redrew the comic this year in the State Library of Victoria to escape Melbourne’s cold winter.
David C. Mahler
We Connected Across a River, Through Vast Space, Just the Two of Us
My comic is about the web of connection we all find ourselves drifting through. I waved my hands with her for less than a minute. But we shared a connection that left us both laughing with happiness and understanding. I never even saw her face.