Bad Aboriginal Art : Tradition, Media, and Technological by Eric Michaels

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By Eric Michaels

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Extra info for Bad Aboriginal Art : Tradition, Media, and Technological Horizons (Theory Out of Bounds, Vol 3)

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3. , most fights, interi­ ors of humpy camps, certain ceremonies). 4. Rhetorical narrative devices that isolate Aborigines and consti­ tute them as exotic rather than contemporary peoples, or oth­ erwise depict Aborigines in what they judge to be a negative manner. This listing begins with what traditional Aboriginal people have taught me is the most clear-cut and grievous example: public display of secret P ri m e r o f R e stricti o n s on P i cture - T a k i n g en o z ::> o m o >­ ::> o >­ matters to persons unauthorized to behold these; continuing through increasingly complex, subtle, and problematic areas in which a greater variety of interpretation and negotiation may be possible.

2 Few, least of all Eric, could have foreseen the staying power of his textual persona. In the four years since his death, Eric has become about as celebrated as the Yuendumu people of whom he wrote so eloquently and deci­ sively, and whose achievements in media and painting owe not a little to this gutsy American researcher who visited among them for a time. Eric had trained as an anthropologist before coming to Aus­ tralia in late 1982. A postgraduate at the University of Texas, he did his master's thesis on the dispersal of property among gay lovers, followed up by a doctoral thesis on the social organization of the interpretation of TV messages in a small Texas city based on fieldwork with Protestant fundamentalist media protest groups ("TV Tribes").

At times, elders even insisted that I photograph or notate restricted things. But it was understood that these recordings must never be shown to women. Thus, while the act of photogra­ phy was sanctioned, the publication of these photographs (which would make them available to women) was forbidden. This is a distinction that Aborigines, as they become familiar with the concept of reproduction and mass distribution, are likely to insist upon. Because it is an unfamiliar distinction, or some would say it offends Western values of sexual equality, Europeans may trivialize it.

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