The conflict in Tasmania, like the conflict in Gaza, only makes sense as a totality.

With the condescension of posterity, it’s easy to dismiss the British colonists in Van Diemen’s Land as monsters, genocidal racists carrying out atrocities for reasons unfathomable to liberal-minded folk of the twenty-first century. Yet, precisely as Israeli officials explained the assault on Gaza as a defensive reaction to Hamas’ rockets, the Tasmanian settlers saw themselves as victims, driven to violence by the terror inflicted by the natives.

I wonder whether there are some things we need as humans that can’t be gotten efficiently
The racialization of the stranger is not immediately apparent—disguised, we might say—by the strict anonymity of the stranger, the one who after all, we are told from childhood, could be anyone. My own stranger memory taught me that the “could be anyone” points to some bodies more than others. This “could be anyone” thus only appears as an open possibility, stretching out into a horizon, in which the stranger reappears as the one who is always lurking in the shadows. Frantz Fanon taught us to watch out for what lurks, seeing himself in and as the shadow, the dark body, who is always passing by, at the edges of social experience. To give this figure back its history is to begin to hear how the stranger is pointed.
To explore how bodies are perceived as dangerous in advance of their arrival requires not beginning with an encounter (a body affected by another body) but asking how encounters come to happen in this way or that. The immediacy of bodily reactions is mediated by histories that come before subjects, and which are at stake in how the very arrival of some bodies is noticeable in the first place. The most immediate of our bodily reactions can thus be treated as pedagogy: we learn about ideas by learning how they become quick and unthinking. Somewhat ironically, perhaps, there is nothing more mediated than immediacy.
Meanwhile, on Tumblr and Facebook, we seek out the same private sociality that Woolf described. Usually, we think of social media as a forum for exhibitionism. But, inevitably, the extroverted cataloguing of everyday minutiae—meals, workouts, thoughts about politics, books, and music—reaches its own limits; it ends up emphasizing what can’t be shared. Talking so freely about your life helps you to know the weight of those feelings which are too vague, or too spiritual, to express—left unspoken and unexplored, they throw your own private existence into relief. “Sharing” is, in fact, the opposite of what we do: like one of Woolf’s hostesses, we rehearse a limited openness so that we can feel the solidity of our own private selves.

Art has not taken the place of an absent or distant politics. Instead, politics and art are both engaged in providing an opening in the consensus that there is only one reality, one space, one time: the space-time of the market.

On the one hand, political argumentation for Ranciere belongs to a domain where the setting, dialogues, and even the cast of characters—who “counts,” who is recognized as a legitimate participant in the discussion—are not given in advance. Both the terms of the argument and the scene where politics takes place must be produced, invented. We are here squarely in the realm of the aesthetic: the system of forms that governs what is seeable or sayable—the world, in other words, of perception. On the other hand, Ranciere’s thinking grants to art a kind of revitalized energy and potential for the new; art is given much the same power Ranciere has granted elsewhere to politics: that of reframing, and thus expanding, what can be perceived in the present. Both art and politics reconfigure what is thinkable at a given moment.

Politics are only made possible by the reality that people are ineradicably different from one another. This entails that individuals all embody and live fundamentally different histories, stakes, investments, aesthetics, materialities, and ethics. This also means that to engage in something politically, in artistic practice or otherwise, is to not allow for these radical differences and disagreements to simply coexist in a placid pluralism, but rather to produce spaces and times in which they can conflict and engage with one another in a nonsuperficial way.
It was not his purpose to detain hundreds of children in Australia for an average of 349 days at the cost of their mental health. It was a consequence. It was not his purpose to transfer 200 children to Nauru where workers have documented systemic abuse. It was a consequence.