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02 MAY 2015

Aboriginal People's Relationship to Land

"Every different clan group has stories about their beginnings. Stories are like our archives, detailing how Creator Beings from under the earth arose to shape the land and to create the landscape. There are myriad variations of the story, but the theme stays the same.

The whole surface of the earth was like a moonscape, no features, no flora and fauna, just bare open plain. But there were Creator Beings sleeping in a state of potentiality just under the surface. At a certain time they were disturbed, whereupon their potentiality transformed into actuality and they arose out of the ground. When they finally emerged, they were very big and tall. These beings were spirit ancestors of many of the varieties of flora and fauna, especially large animals, in Australia. When this emergence was completed, the spirit ancestors started to interact with one another, fighting, dancing, running about, making love, killing. All of this activity shaped the Australian landscape as we know it today.

Throughout this period humans remained asleep in various embryonic forms, in a state like a kind of proto-humanity. They were awakened by all the activity above; the Creator Beings helped these proto-humans to become fully human, teaching them the Laws of custodianship of land, the Laws of kinship, of marriage, of correct ceremonies-they gave them every kind of knowledge they needed to look after the land and to have a stable society.

When this work was finished, the Creator Beings went back into the land, where they all still remain in the same eternal sleep from which they awakened at the beginning of time. The locations to which they returned have always been and are still today regarded as very important sacred sites.

Wherever the Creator Beings travelled, they left tracks or some kind of evidence of themselves. These traces determined the identity of the people. In other words, every Aboriginal person has a part of the essence of one of the original creative spirits who formed the Australian landscape. Therefore each person has a charter of custodianship empowering them and making them responsible for renewing that part of the flora and its fauna. The details of this metaphysics varied widely across the land with the physical environment, but the spiritual basis-the understanding that what separates humans from animals is the fact that each human bears a creative and spiritual identity which still resides in land itself-provided and still provides in many places the religious, social, political and economic force throughout Aboriginal Australia."

(Mary Graham, 2008)

Australian Humanities Review 45 (November 2008): "Mary Graham: Philosophical Underpinnings of Aboriginal Worldviews". This essay was originally published in Worldviews: Environment, Culture, Religion 3 (1999): 105-118.




Aboriginal Australia • Aboriginal mythology • Aboriginal worldviews • ancestral beings • Association for the Study of Australian Literature (ASAL) • Australian Humanities Review (AHR) • Australian landscape • beginnings • belonging • charter of custodianship • clan • clan group • creation narrative • creative and spiritual identity • Creator Beings • custodianship • customs • embryonic forms • eternal sleep • fauna • florafolkloreIndigenous Australians • Juanita Bailey • Kombu-merri person • landland custodianshiplandmarkslandscape • Lilla Watson • Lin Morrow • Mary Grahammetaphysics • open plain • origin mythphysical environment • potentiality • proto-human • proto-humanity • sacred sites • spirit ancestors • symbolic placetimeless time • under the earth • under the surface • worldview


Simon Perkins
16 NOVEMBER 2012

Su Blackwell: paper craft dioramas of childhood wonder and anxiety

"I often work within the realm of fairy–tales and folk–lore. I began making a series of book–sculpture, cutting–out images from old books to create three–dimensional diorama's, and displaying them inside wooden boxes. ...

For the cut–out illustrations, I tend to lean towards young–girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder. There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and choice of subtle colour."

(Su Blackwell)

Fig.1 Su Blackwell (2008). "The Girl in the Wood" [–book–cut–sculpture/]



2011book sculpturebookschildhood • childhood anxiety • childhood wonder • cut-outcut-out illustrationdesign craftdioramafairy talesfolklorefragilityhaunting imagesillustrated bookpaper dioramapapercraft • quiet melancholy • Su Blackwell • subtle colour • vulnerabilityvulnerability of childhood • wooden box • young girl


Simon Perkins
30 OCTOBER 2012

Birth and Death in The Romanian Folk Belief

"Romanian traditions and customs, which accompany the important events of life have been and still are under investigation by researchers in various fields, including folklorists and ethnographers.

The ethnographic research is mostly characterised by concrete information, collected in the studied areas, by a variety of facts, by attempts to describe the accomplishment of each custom and, in some cases by attempts to find out their role and significance in social life. Among these works the first to mention are the volumes published by Simion Florea Marin in Bucuresti in 1892 and dedicated to the three great cycles of customs connected with birth, wedding and death."

(Joanna Kretsu–Kantsyr)




1892 • birthbirth and death • Bucuresti • customsdeath • Dragaica • ethnographersethnographic research • folk belief • folklore • folklorists • pagan traditionRomania • Romanian customs • Romanian tradition • Simion Florea Marin • social life • summer solstice • wedding • winter solstice


Valeria Marti
25 OCTOBER 2012

Te Wei's Feelings of Mountains and Waters

"Shan shui qing ('Feelings of Mountains and Waters') finished production in 1988. This water/ink animation was Te Wei's [特伟] fourth and final major production, and is in many ways fittingly so. 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters' is a masterpiece. The film runs slightly under twenty minutes, moving the viewer through an emotional journey cleanly articulated by deep and vivid imagery, wrought with incredible artistic purity.

The film's subject is a young girl, whom ferrying an aging man across a river, generously nurses him to better health after witnessing him collapse on the shoreline. In 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters,' Te Wei uses earthy watercolors and craggy puffs of ink to maneuver hillsides, paths, valleys, and waterfalls. He uses the high–values where the ink ends and the paper begins not as an artifact of the landscape, but as the landscape itself. The watercolor paintings move and flourish, the water and ink are the animation; and the rosy–cheeked girl, through muted conversation with the humble old man, learns to play a plucked, string instrument under the quiet and almost sentient backdrop of the mountainous milieu.

Te Wei served as general director for 'Feelings of Mountains and Waters,' and retired after its completion, at the time well into his seventies. The film deservedly earned multiple awards, including high honors from international film festivals in Montreal and Shanghai. In 1995, the global professional animation community ASIFA honored Te Wei with a Lifetime Achievement Award."

(Aaron H. Bynum, 12th February 2010, p.3, Animation Insider)



19882D animation • aging man • ancient instrument • animationblack and whitecreative practicecultural heritage • earthy watercolours • emotional journey • Feelings of Mountains and Waters • female protagonistfish • folk narrative • folk story • folk tale • folkloregirlhand-drawninklandscapemark makingmonkeymonotonemusical instrumentmusiciannational cultural identitiesnational cultural identitynational heritageold manpaintingpaperPeoples Republic of Chinapioneering animatorriver • Shan shui qing • Shanghai Animation Studios • Shanghai Film Studios • Te Wei • traditional painting • traditional techniquesvisual designvivid imagerywater and inkwater/ink animationwatercolour painting • whistle • young girl • zheng (instrument)


Guannan (cassie) Du
14 DECEMBER 2011

Electronic Hybridity: The Persistent Processes of the Vernacular Web

"While mass–mediated communication technologies have empowered the institutional, participatory media offer powerful new channels through which the vernacular can express its alterity. However, alternate voices do not emerge from these technologies untouched by their means of production. Instead, these communications are amalgamations of institutional and vernacular expression. In this situation, any human expressive behavior that deploys communication technologies suggests a necessary complicity. Insofar as individuals hope to participate in today's electronically mediated communities, they must deploy the communication technologies that have made those communities possible. In so doing, they participate in creating a telectronic world where mass culture may dominate, but an increasing prevalence of participatory media extends into growing webs of network–based folk culture. "

(Robert Glenn Howard, 2008)

1). Robert Glenn Howard (2008). "Electronic Hybridity: The Persistent Processes of the Vernacular Web" Journal of American Folklore, Volume 121, Number 480, Spring 2008, pp. 192–218. DOI: 10.1353/jaf.0.0012


1990sacademic journalagency • alternate voices • communication technologiesconsumer culturedigital revolution • electronic hybridity • electronic mediation • electronic technologiesexpressionfolklorefolksonomy • human expressive behaviour • hybrid formhybridity • image reproduction • instantaneousInternet • John Dorst • Journal of American Folklore • mass culture • mass distribution • mass media • mass-mediated communication technologies • medium is the messagemodes of communication • network-based folk culture • new communication technologies • new mediaparticipatory Internet mediaparticipatory mediaremediationsocial networking tools • technologies of cultural reproduction • telectronic age • telectronic world • vernacular • vernacular expression • vernacular production • vernacular web • webwiki


Simon Perkins

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