The jolt of the new: making video art in Arnhem Land

Deger, Jennifer (2013) The jolt of the new: making video art in Arnhem Land. Culture Theory & Critique, 54 (3). pp. 355-371.

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Abstract

This essay describes the ways that an indigenous aesthetics of the new informs emerging forms of digitally-driven creativity in Aboriginal north Australia. Central is the media art project Christmas Birrimbirr (Christmas Spirit), which began as an ethnographic experiment with digital media and ritual aesthetics. Taken up by Yolngu collaborators as something new and exciting, the project explores uses of video art and more supposedly traditional media to produce ritual in a gallery setting. The imagistic dynamics of the project gave rise to dream visions and ritual innovation resulting in the production of a Christmas unlike anything previously seen in Arnhem Land, or for that matter, anywhere else. The aim of thinking through the idea of newness itself is to get closer to a sense of what the project leader, Paul Gurrumuruwuy, means when he says about our media work: 'When you make gamununggu (ochre painted sacred design) yuta (new), you make it talk'.

Item ID: 31972
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1473-5776
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Project, ARC Future Fellowship Project
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2014 23:01
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 50%
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