Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


An aesthetics of shimmer calls attention to a material world profoundly flecked with light. It suggests a material poetics for anthropological reflection while generating an allure that exceeds the confines of language or culture. In the Aboriginal art, media, and ritual of east Arnhem Land in northern Australia, an aesthetics of shimmer claims the invisible as not only an indelible dimension of the visible but also its very source. This is no abstract notion. Across a variety of media—in bark paintings, videos and digital photographs, and contexts from fine art, domestic decoration, and intricate ceremonial body designs—Yolngu harness the power of scintillation to produce encompassing fields of sensation and meaning. The effects are transformative: they break open the surface of the visible, they allow ancestral forces to show themselves, and they generate an affective surge that unites the living, the ancestral, the land, and the sea.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Anthropology
Place of PublicationHoboken, NJ
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons
Pages1 - 3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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