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Bad Aboriginal Art

Tradition, Media, and Technological Horizons

1993
Author:

Eric Michaels
Foreword by Dick Hebdige

Bad Aboriginal Art

This is the account of the author‘s period of residence and work with the Walpiri Aborigines of western Central Australia, where he studied the impact of television on these remote communities. Sharp, exact, and unrelentingly honest, this volume records with an extraordinary combination of distance and immersion the intervention of technology into a remote Aboriginal community and that community’s forays into broadcasting.

This is the account of the author‘s period of residence and work with the Walpiri Aborigines of western Central Australia, where he studied the impact of television on these remote communities. Sharp, exact, and unrelentingly honest, this volume records with an extraordinary combination of distance and immersion the intervention of technology into a remote Aboriginal community and that community’s forays into broadcasting.

His tone is well-versed, casual, even intimate, and although he refuted claims that he had 'gone native,' his writing reflects a great sense of connection with and loyalty to the Aboriginal culture. As a researcher, Michaels had great strength of character, determination, and belief in his own work. The essays in Bad Aboriginal Art provided a fascinating account of a changing society by a talented, dedicated researcher whose premature death has left a void, and a legacy, in contemporary Aboriginal ethnography.

Afterimage

Bad Aboriginal Art is the extraordinary account of Eric Michaels’ period of residence and work with the Warlpiri Aborigines of western Central Australia, where he studied the impact of television on remote Aboriginal communities.

Sharp, exact, and unrelentingly honest, Michaels records with an extraordinary combination of distance and immersion the intervention of technology into a remote Aboriginal community and that community’s forays into the technology of broadcasting. Michaels’s analyses in Bad Aboriginal Art will disrupt and redirect current debates surrounding the theory and practice of anthropology, ethnography, film and video making, communications policy, and media studies - no less than his work has already disrupted and redirected the cultural technologies of both the Warlpiri and Australian technocrats.

Bad Aboriginal Art

Eric Michaels (1948-1988) was an ethnographer and a theorist of visual arts, medial studies, and broadcasting. His published work has had an impact on the areas of aesthetics, policy analysis, ethnographic filmmaking, anthropology, and technology studies. Michaels was a lecturer in media studies at Griffith University in Brisbane at the time of his death 1988. His AIDS diary was published posthumously under the title Unbecoming.

Bad Aboriginal Art

His tone is well-versed, casual, even intimate, and although he refuted claims that he had 'gone native,' his writing reflects a great sense of connection with and loyalty to the Aboriginal culture. As a researcher, Michaels had great strength of character, determination, and belief in his own work. The essays in Bad Aboriginal Art provided a fascinating account of a changing society by a talented, dedicated researcher whose premature death has left a void, and a legacy, in contemporary Aboriginal ethnography.

Afterimage

The pleasure of reading Bad Aboriginal Art is part of what makes it so vital. This style is not only lively but also substantively significant. It casts Michaels as part of the picture he writes about: as part of what the writing makes present to the reader, as opposed to conventional academic self-effacement.

Art and Text

Michaels offers extraordinary insight into cross-cultural research and media practices that should enrich.

Journal of Commuication