Warwuyun (worry) is a digital artwork composed of 50 individual photocollages made on mobile phones by members of an extended Yolŋu 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 photoimage grids that form and disperse in an everchanging, 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. One pattern might foreground relationships between groups that have a yothu-yindi (child-mother) relationship; the next might highlight a märi-gutharra (grandmother-grandchild) relationship; while the next might juxtapose images in ways that make visible a number of relationships between individuals, families, clans and country. Because of the selection of images from closely interrelated family lines, there will always be at least one key relationship affirmed and enlivened by the pattern that forms. Herein lies a source of deep pleasure for its makers. When Yolŋu look at this screen they see gamunuŋgu, an art of lines and story, colour and light, shadow and belonging akin to the ochred designs painted directly onto bodies made ready for ceremony. These patterns in turn trigger culturally specific ways of attending to the difficulties of loss and separation from kin and country.
Miyarrka Media Curators:
James Bangaliwuy Ganambarr
Warren Balpatji Gurruwiwi
Enid Gurungulmiwuy Wunungmurra
Jennifer Bununuk Deger Wunungmurra
Meredith Balanydjarrk Wunungmurrua
Paul Gurrumuruwuy Wunungmurra
Kayleen Djingadjingawuy Wanambi
Group Therapy: Mental Distress in a Digital Age, UNSW Galleries – 20 September – 11 November 2017
Installation at the Australian Anthropological Society conference, 4-7 December 2018, Cairns
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