My Red Yolngu Heart

Deger, Jennifer (2012) My Red Yolngu Heart. [Video]

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Abstract

This work uses footage shot by the at Yolngu by the request of the family and remediates it – with permission from the family – into visual mediation on the power of colour, affect and ritual in Northeast Arnhem Land. More sound-image-gesture than documentary text, the film experiments with deliberately blurring the ethnographic frame as a space of sharp observation. By reframing the original shots, focusing on elements within a wider frame, the film draws attention to the textures of colour, pattern, light and rhythm as central to the ways that Yolngu participate in a world alive with generative potency, even as the everyday becomes over-burdened by the demands of death and other losses.

Exhibited 2012, University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum in In the Red, the vibrancy of things, curated by Dr Diana Young.

Research Statement

Research Background Created as part of an ARC Future Fellowship and continuing Deger's investigation into the potential of digital technologies to enable new forms of ethnographic knowledge, this this film is inspired by the material poetics of Northeast Arnhem Land. It was commissioned in 2012 by the University of Queensland, Anthropology Museum for the exhibition In the Red, the vibrancy of things, curated by Dr Diana Young, a leading theorist of material culture and colour.
Research Contribution This film uses experimental filmic form and post-production effects to analyse the visceral power and intercultural meanings deliberately evoked by Yolngu through the use of the colour of red in funerals. More sound-image-gesture than documentary text, the film deliberately blurs the ethnographic frame, offering an implicit commentary on the limits strictly observational film. Foregrounding the power of affect as intercultural attractor, the film draws attention to the rhythmic textures of colour, pattern, and light as central to ritual participations in a world alive with generative potency.
Research Significance The significance of this research is highlighted by the fact that the other artist/researcher commissioned to produce work especially for this exhibition was the prominent Aboriginal artist, Fiona Foley. My Red Yolngu Heart was subsequently acquired by the University of Queensland. Deger's innovative approach has led to the commission of a new work in this style with her Yolngu collaborators in 2016 at the Moesgaard Museum in Denmark, a new leading site for experimental museology in Europe.
Item ID: 34840
Item Type: Video
Keywords: visual anthropology, experimental ethnography, aesthetics, affect
Media of Output: HD video
Related URLs:
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 06:09
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 30%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society @ 30%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture @ 40%
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