Connect-Disconnect: Ethnography with Phones
Public Seminar in conjunction with the exhibition
Friday 11 April with Dr Jennifer Deger
ARC Future Fellow and Tropical Leader at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University
1-2pm, Anthropology Museum, Level 1 Michie Building, UQ
The arrival of the mobile phone marked a distinct turning point in this history of Yolngu media. For the first time, in the intimacy and immediacy of their own pockets, people had unregulated access to the means of making and sharing sound and image files. For most Yolngu it was also their first access to the internet. In this paper I claim mobile phones as technologies of creative mediation. Sidestepping the tremendous logistical transformations produced by the direct point-to-point communication and information capacities of mobile phones, (an extremely important aspect of this technology, especially in a place like Arnhem Land), I explore their aesthetics as an increasingly significant and generative texture of contemporary society as they provide a means to connect to—but also sometimes decisively disconnect from—the networks of sensuous relationality and augmented perception and projection enabled by mobile phones and internet. These ideas inform the making of Gapuwiyak Calling, an exhibition of phone-media conceived and implemented with Yolngu collaborators in association with the University of Queensland Anthropology Museum.
About the Presenter
Jennifer Deger is an anthropologist, filmmaker, curator and founding member of the new media arts collective Miyarrka Media. Currently an ARC Future Fellow and Tropical Leader at the Cairns Institute, James Cook University, Deger has worked with Yolngu in Australia's northeast Arnhem Land on collaborative video and art projects for almost twenty years. She has published widely on Yolngu visual culture, experimental ethnography and indigenous aesthetics including her book Shimmering Screens: Making Media in an Aboriginal Community (University of Minnesota Press, 2006).
Presented by the School of Social Science, University of Queensland