Accepted Paper:

Time travels: how Australian Indigenous screen survivance has found its ways through trauma to 'radical hope', and beyond  
Lisa Stefanoff (CDU UNSW)

Paper short abstract:

A mixed-media presentation surveying how three decades of Australian Indigenous films, video installation works, VR projects and still images have remade and shifted histories - from traumatic memory, to 'radical hope' and beyond - through/as experiments in screen time-play.

Paper long abstract:

Traumatic memories of loss, disruption, destruction and precarious survival have been a constant presence on Australian Indigenous screens for over 30 years, since urban Indigenous artists first began making films and desert storytellers started committing 'endangered' memories and cultural knowledge to videotape. Utopian visions have been rarer sights, but are increasingly claiming space and time on Indigenous screens. Their 'radical hope' pushes across edges of devastation into ways of being and doing that are both familiar and novel.

Where traumatic memory has often been performed on screen through the jolting counter-narrative of the flashback, experimental image work and screen dreams infused with radical hope play differently with time. They claim breathing space and give time to 'survivance' as real-time ontology and politics, envisioned as enduring autonomy of people and country and possibly emancipated times-to-come. In this way, [de]colonising Indiegnous screen art reshapes itself through aesthetics that value stillness, conjure endurance, and enframe social extensiveness as perduring life. Playful appropriations and tactics of defamiliarization, within time-traveling sci/cli-fi, anachronistic and mockumentary genres, and experimental new media forms provide open frameworks to hold these lived temporalities in view.

This presentation surveys the ways in which some films, video installation works, VR projects and still images have remade histories through/as experiments in screen time-play. I suggest that a genealogy of this play, made in changing contexts of production support and exhibition, has seen Australian Indigenous media-makers dislodge stories from spaces of traumatic memory into tales of 'radical hope', and beyond.

Panel C01