Remote Avant-Garde: Aboriginal Art under Occupation
Jennifer Loureide Biddle is Director of Visual Anthropology & Visual Culture and Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Experimental Arts at the University of New South Wales. She is the author of Breasts, Bodies, Canvas: Central Desert Art as Experience.
In 2007, the Australian government seized by compulsory acquisition seventy-three remote Aboriginal communities and townships to “stabilize and normalize” what was constructed as a national emergency humanitarian crisis. Chapter 1 models the so-called crisis of remote Aboriginal communities and the humanitarian imperialism of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) as based on “affective facts” (Massumi) and a new body politic of “feeling political together” (Berlant). It tracks how literacy has become a major humanitarian target and a national campaign to redress (purported) Aboriginal illiteracy is driving the cessation of bilingual education and the rights of Aboriginal children to learn and to live in traditional Aboriginal languages. It links the nter to literacy and situates the vital importance of Aboriginal art as the only means by which distinctive Aboriginal forms of writing can be seen as a primary en-voicing of distinctive ways of writing country, person, and place today.