Warwuyun (worry)

Miyarrka Media, (2017) Warwuyun (worry). [Creative Work]

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Abstract

Warwuyun (worry) is a digital artwork composed of 50 individual photo‑collages made on mobile phones by members of an extended Yolngu family. These images have been remixed, resized, and repurposed by Miyarrka Media in collaboration with HAWRAF, a team of coders and designers from the New Inc. creative incubator established by the New Museum in New York. The result of this production is a giant interactive touch screen, an algorithmic assemblage of photo‑image grids that form and disperse in an ever‑changing, and never repeating, array of colour and pattern. Yet, for the members of Miyarrka Media there is nothing random or, for that matter, inherently digital at work here. Rather, as computer code generates pattern out of pattern, individuals and family groups become visibly located in a wider matrix of belonging.

Warwuyun (worry) was commissioned for the exhibition Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, UNSW Galleries (20 September – 11 November 2017) in association with the The Big Anxiety. The work was created by Miyarrka Media in association with Nicky Telsa and Andrew Herzog (HAWRAF) and Santiago Carrasquilla (ART CAMP) with support from the Australian Research Council.

Research Statement

Research Background In recent years, and especially with the arrival of mobile phones, photographs have become a powerful medium for warwuyun precisely because of the ways they enable viewers to trigger these processes of envisaging and feeling at will. However, as Miyarrka Media’s Kayleen Djingawuy explains, this has only become possible with a profound generational shift of attitudes towards images of the dead: “A long time ago when someone passed away you couldn’t look at bitja (photographs), or couldn’t say their name. But these days you can use your phone to look at photos and video and pull those loved ones rali (towards you), bringing them closer to your heart and mind." Explicit invocation of the power of feeling as a means of mediating intercultural relations has been central to Miyarrka Media’s project since the collective formed in 2009. Working under the leadership of Gurrumuruwuy, a senior member of the Dhalwangu clan, and in association with the Gapuwiyak Culture and Arts Aboriginal Corporation, Miyarrka Media uses digital media to enable new forms of creativity as a means to promote Yolngu social values and address contemporary concerns.
Research Contribution Warwuyun (worry) is a digital artwork composed of 50 individual photo-collages made on mobile phones by members of an extended Yolngu family. These images have been remixed, resized, and repurposed by Miyarrka Media in collaboration with HAWRAF, a team of coders and designers from the New Inc. creative incubator established by the New Museum in New York. The result of this production is a giant interactive touch screen, an algorithmic assemblage of photo-image grids that form and disperse in an ever-changing, and never repeating, array of colour and pattern. Yet, for the members of Miyarrka Media there is nothing random or, for that matter, inherently digital at work here. Rather, as computer code generates pattern out of pattern, individuals and family groups become visibly located in a wider matrix of belonging. With each new pattern, a new configuration of the relationship appears for those able to see the underlying connections between individuals and clans. These patterns in turn trigger culturally specific ways of attending to the difficulties of loss and separation from kin and country.
Research Significance Warwayun involved an international collaboration with leading digital designers and artists. Its creation was supported by the Australian Research Council, and the work was specially commissioned for an exhibition held in conjunction with the Big Anxiety Festival (2017). The project led to the publication of a significant research monograph, 'Phone & Spear: a Yuta Anthropology' (2019).
Item ID: 62316
Item Type: Creative Work (Recorded/Rendered Work - Digital Creative Work - NTRO)
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Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 07:53
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4501 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, language and history > 450116 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visual arts and crafts @ 60%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440101 Anthropology of development @ 20%
44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4401 Anthropology > 440107 Social and cultural anthropology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950104 The Creative Arts (incl. Graphics and Craft) @ 80%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950302 Conserving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage @ 20%
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