Valetudo: A Cultural Anti-Venom Approach

It seems a delicious irony that due to a recent Australian High Court ruling (27 October 2017) many Australian MPs, including the Deputy Prime Minister, are now ineligible to sit in parliament. Known as the “citizenship seven” case, the unfolding citizenship crisis in Australia has the potential to allow for radical constructions of (Australian) subjectivities to emerge, bringing to light a manifold of plays upon and reflections of our global predicament, where displacement threatens our ‘implacement’ (Casey 1993, 2016) at our every turn. While bearing witness to the government crumbling into chaos, we can more fully understand the present as a precarious, contested state, which also presents fresh opportunities to develop a more critical transnational consciousness.

#stralya Image:Selena-de-Carvalho

I recently presented Valetudo: A Cultural Anti-Venom ApproachPostcolonial Meditations. Globalisation and Displacement’, 4th AGCS Conference, and at the Science, Technology and Society series at Asia Research Institute National University of Singapore.

With this in mind, this study shines a light into the particular Tasmanian predicament, drawing upon provocative art works and cultural manifestations that have attempted to address (and decolonise) the hackneyed post-colonial scenario of the Island state (Tasmania). That is, Tasmanian Aboriginal politics – the ongoing dispute about who actually qualifies as and who determines (Palawa) aboriginality. The significance of the cultural anti-venom approach miscère utile dulci, is discussed as a holistic communication theory and most importantly a strategy.  Valetudo is a Latin feminine noun, and carries meaning that contains opposites within: health, soundness, good health, bad health, where medicine can be made from, or, turn into poison; depending on the dose. Anti-venom therapeutics is implicit in the word Valetudo, a vaccination against its own bewildering effects. In Spanish the saying ‘valetudo’ is an expression used for ‘anything goes’ or in a playful way, ‘everything’s worth, or everything has a value’. Valetudo (2013) represents a struggle to communicate with all people, everywhere; its function is to shine light (lux) into the darkest (tenebrae) places.

This inquiry draws upon an array of critical viewpoints, which embrace both highly political and deeply personal fictions, allowing us to ponder what might be over the horizon.