Personal, Visual & Historical:
Sugarcane is indigenous to tropical South and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations, with Saccharum barberi originating in India and Saccharum edule and Saccharum officinarum in New Guinea. Approximately 70% of the sugar produced globally comes from Saccharum officinarum and hybrids using this species.
It is theorised that sugarcane was first domesticated as a crop in New Guinea around 6000 BC. New Guinean farmers and other early cultivators of sugarcane chewed the plant for its sweet juice. Early farmers in Southeast Asia, and elsewhere, may have also boiled the cane juice down to a viscous mass to facilitate transportation, but the earliest known production of crystalline sugar began in northern India.
The exact date of the first cane sugar production is unclear. The earliest evidence of sugar production comes from ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts. It is difficult to determine a precise date for early sugar production, however, because scholars do not agree on the date of the ancient texts that first mention sugar production.
In India, between the sixth and fourth centuries BC, the Persians, followed by the Greeks, discovered the famous
"reeds that produce honey without bees"
. They adopted and then spread sugar and sugarcane agriculture. Around the eighth century AD, Arab traders introduced sugar from South Asia to the other parts of the Abbasid Caliphate in the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa, and Andalusia. By the 10th century, sources state that there was no village in Mesopotamia that did not grow sugarcane. It was among the early crops brought to the Americas by the Andalusians from their fields in the Canary Islands, and the Portuguese from their fields in the Madeira Islands.
Sugarcane is the world’s largest crop by production quantity. In 2012, FAO estimates it was cultivated on about 26.0 million hectares, in more than 90 countries, with a worldwide harvest of 1.83 billion tons. Brazil was the largest producer of sugarcane in the world. The next five major producers, in decreasing amounts of production, were India, China, Thailand, Pakistan and Mexico.
The world demand for sugar is the primary driver of sugarcane agriculture. Sugarcane accounts for 80% of sugar produced; most of the rest is made from sugar beets. Sugarcane predominantly grows in the tropical and subtropical regions, and sugar beet predominantly grows in colder temperate regions of the world. Other than sugar, products derived from sugarcane include falernum, molasses, rum, cachaca (a traditional spirit from Brazil), bagasse and ethanol. In some regions, people use sugarcane reeds to make pens, mats, screens, and thatch. The young unexpanded inflorescence of tebu telor is eaten raw, steamed or toasted, and prepared in various ways in certain island communities of Indonesia.
Sugarcane is any of several species of tall perennial true grasses of the genus Saccharum, tribe Andropogoneae, native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asia, and used for sugar production. They have stout jointed fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar, and measure two to six metres (6 to 19 feet) tall. All sugar cane species interbreed and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids.
Sugarcane belongs to the grass family (Poaceae), an economically important seed plant family that includes maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum and many forage crops. The main product of sugarcane is sucrose, which accumulates in the stalk internodes. Sucrose, extracted and purified in specialised mill factories, is used as raw material in human food industries or is fermented to produce ethanol. Ethanol is produced on a large scale by the Brazilian sugarcane industry.
Sugarcane juice vendor in Patna, India. A mechanical way of extracting sugarcane juice.
Sugarcane juice is the juice extracted from pressed sugarcane. It is consumed as a beverage in many places, especially where sugarcane is commercially grown such as Southeast Asia, South Asia, Egypt, Latin America and Brazil.
• 18 July 2014 • View comments
Old Punjab Band
Personal, Visual & Musical:
Conducting is the art of directing a musical performance by way of visible gestures. The primary duties of the conductor are to unify performers, set the tempo, execute clear preparations and beats, and to listen critically and shape the sound of the ensemble.
Photography by A BOY NAME SUE PHOTOGRAPHY
• 16 July 2014 • 1 note • View comments
Stuart Franklin Captures The Tiananmen Square Protests - In Pictures
Visual, Historical & Inspirational:
This image has now become so iconic.
The ‘Tank Man' stopping the column of T59 tanks on 5th June 1989.
"The still photographs that a few of us took of that ‘tank man’ scene seemed unremarkable to me, because I was so far away on that balcony." - Stuart Franklin
A student on hunger strike gestures in Tiananmen Square, 1989.
"When I returned home, a lot of people were talking about the tank image - but the Sunday Times magazine ran with this picture of a guy with his arms raised in the air as their cover shot. Many other publications ran it as a more powerful, human image of what the demonstration and uprising meant for the Chinese people.
As a photographer, the objective is to crystallise the emotion of an event and communicate that as effectively as possible. My pictures follow the different efforts I made to come to terms with the events as they were unfolding, to tell the story even as it was changing.” - Stuart Franklin
• 10 June 2014 • View comments
Personal, Visual & Technological:
You’ve got dreams of your very own photo studio - gleaming white walls, perfectly placed lights and windows overlooking the Melbourne skyline.
• 8 May 2014 • View comments
Touch This Earth Lightly
Personal, Visual & Cultural:
Bridget Nicholson is a practicising visual artist, who invited me to become a part of her collection,
"Touch This Earth Lightly"
in January 2013. My feet convey my story, my story as part of a whole, a land, a community, a living breathing changing entity.
Bridget’s art project involves the making of clay shoes by casting and moulding one’s feet, while recording their story, their connection to land/place and the environment. My feet were coated in oil and wrapped in gauze, for protection, for care. They are then encased in clay, massaged and moulded so that the clay takes on the form of me, my body.
Her project started in 2009 as part of the Williams River Valley Artists’ Project where Juliet Fowler-Smith invited artists to make work in response to the proposed damming of the Williams River in the Hunter Valley NSW (Tillegra Dam). Juliet’s family has been property owners in the proposed inundation area for generations, and as an artist herself Juliet wanted to present a variety of artists responses to the dam proposal, and others that result in a loss of cultural heritage.
Touch This Earth Lightly has developed into a more general project looking at the emotional and cultural connection to land/place and the environment. A way of honouring the animal within each of us, and paying tribute to our place in the world. People have joined the project from across Australia stretching from Kalkaringji in the Northern Territory to the Coorong in South Australia. The project is ongoing with the collection of more stories and feet along the way, installations appear at various places as opportunities arise. The final product will be presented as a portrait of people and place, an Australian community who care for country.
My feet moulds, belong to the Melbourne component entitled
, which was hosted by the Abbotsford Convent, where making took place over a four month period starting in October 2012. Culminating in an installation in the Old Laundries Buildings from 7th February - 14th March 2013.
"My main area of interest is in looking at ways of presenting humans in relation to their environment. I see humans as animals who have forgotten they are animals and somehow see themselves as something other. In the end, I always find myself caught up in an emotive way but also hope some aspect of this ambiguity is apparent in my work." - Bridget Nicholson
• 23 April 2014 • View comments
"Print-On-Demand Has Completely Changed The Way We Think About Books"
Technological, Historical & Educational:
Eileen Gittins, founder and CEO of Blurb, discusses the implications of print-on-demand publishing.
"Blurb is a creative publishing platform that enables anyone in the world to make a proper book,"
As a keen photographer, Gittins says her
"number one criteria"
when she set up Blurb was image quality.
"Could we, as a business, faithfully reproduce the intention of the artist, whether you’re a photographer, a designer, an architect? I mean, that work needs to look beautiful, right?"
In Europe, Blurb's books and magazines are printed by RPI Paro in a factory in Eindhoven. Jan van Baar, vice president of sales and marketing for RPI Paro, explains that print-on-demand publishing is made possible by advances in digital printing technology.
"We are in the middle of a digital revolution,"
"Print-on-demand is a part of this. It is taking over the market from the older ways of printing because people won’t need large numbers in one time. They want to have it tailor-made, one by one."
"A book is no longer as precious a thing as we used to think of it,"
"If you’re an architect and you’ve done a new project and you’ve got a book on file, just add the new project to it, maybe edit something old out, and you’ve got your latest and greatest work. It’s always available, you can always get it printed on demand."
"I think it has completely changed how we think about books. They used to be permanent. You might make it once an maybe you’d make a second edition. Now you can make an edition a week if you wanted to."
• 15 April 2014 • View comments