A visually striking intercultural exploration of the use of mobile phones in Aboriginal communities in Australia.
Yuta is the Yolngu word for new. Phone & Spear: A Yuta Anthropology is a project inspired by the gloriously cheeky and deeply meaningful audiovisual media made with and circulated by mobile phones by an extended Aboriginal family in northern Australia. Building on a ten-year collaboration by the community-based arts collective Miyarrka Media, the project is an experiment in the anthropology of co-creation. It is a multivoiced portrait of an Indigenous society using mobile phones inventively to affirm connections to kin and country amid the difficult and often devastating circumstances of contemporary remote Aboriginal life.
But this is not simply a book about Aboriginal art, mobile phones, and social renewal. If old anthropology understood its task as revealing one world to another, yuta anthropology is concerned with bringing different worlds into relationship. Following Yolngu social aesthetics—or what Miyarrka Media translate as “the law of feeling”—the book is a relational technology in its own right: an object that combines color, pattern, and story to bring once distant worlds into new sensuously mediated connections.
About the Author
Miyarrka Media is an Indigenous arts collective in northern Australia, led by Dhalwangu elder Paul Gurrumuruwuy and visual anthropologist Jennifer Deger, who has collaborated on Yolngu media projects for more than twenty-five years. Their work has been screened and exhibited in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Taiwan. Recent projects include the films Ringtone and Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit and the exhibitions Christmas Birrimbirr, Gapuwiyak Calling, and Warwuyu (Worry).
"This book will inspire any anthropologist concerned about how we join together while recognizing difference in our many communities near and far...The book is not a finished product but an opening of process, proof that a yuta anthropology is not only powerful but possible. While immensely innovative, this is also a mature, masterfully crafted ethnography: what is not said is as important as what is and has been given just as much thought." —American Anthropologist
"Phone & Spear does not make an argument but performs it. Its form is perhaps the most inventive of any ethnography I’ve read." —Zeynep Devrim Gürsel, American Anthropologist
"Collectively authored by seven members of the Northern Australian-based Miyarrka Media, Phone & Spear is one of the most creative and unique anthropological texts to be published in recent memory. Proposing a Yuta, or “new,” anthropology from Yolngu perspectives, the full color photo quality pages interweave a discursive collage of images, artwork, commentary, dialogue, and analysis that is simultaneously ahead of its time and long overdue." —William Lempert, Anthropological Quarterly