Constellations of us: Backstories to a bark TV

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper is concerned with the intercultural production and reception of images, new methodologies, new forms of research, and new forms of visual culture. It takes up these issues by telling stories about the production of an art installation made possible by a long-term collaboration between a Yolngu family and an anthropologist and deeply informed by the ways that Yolngu use images to enliven relationships and amplify the field of vision beyond the strictly see-foryourself veracities and the surface allure of the visible. This article attempts to point towards, and re-enact even, these dynamics as they operated within the exhibition. Against an established artworld discourse that privileges the ancestral as the source of meaning and motivation in Yolngu art, these images and stories provide a sense of how a particular constellation of lives, ambitions and disappointments not only gave rise to this project, but shaped the way we understood its potential. For those of us involved, the work of this collaboration was to activate certain intersecting intercultural and biographic vectors, rather than to produce an image object embodying "tradition" or even invention, "independent" of context and moment, complete and stable in itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-234
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Australian Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Constellations of us: Backstories to a bark TV'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this