Becoming the quiet weaver

Written on Monday 22nd August

I just had a wonderful conversation with A about all things, including ANT. I asked her the question, can ANT reflect and provide a useful vocabulary for Yolŋu metaphors? Things that I captured from our conversation… ANT is more a discipline or a way of seeing the world, just like mindfulness. Also, it rejects dichotomies and renders things as heterogeneous. A said a wonderful thing, ‘When you follow the actors, you find things.’ She also suggested that the ANT vocabulary is designed to refrain from giving actors pre-determined roles (I should read Law’s book After Method). I don’t know that A completed answered my question in the way that I had hoped she would. She flipped the question back onto me. Here are some of the things I said… one of the central reasons for me pursuing my Masters research is so that I can immerse myself in Yolŋu language and worldview. A key dilemma though is, how can I, a Balanda woman who sees the world from a western worldview, ‘see’ and ‘hear’ phenomenon and concepts in a Yolŋu world when I am projecting my own perceptions onto the world? How can I become more conscious of my assumptions that are born out of my own worldview? Is there an academic discipline which will help me to strip back my projections and make visible what exists in a Yolŋu world? Can ANT ‘see’ the generative practices of Yolŋu ‘making the world’ through dhäwu and bunŋgul? I am trying to find a way of understanding and making sense of Yolŋu ideas, a way that wont intrude loudly – like a quiet weaver sitting patiently next to her teacher, watching, waiting to be shown how a Yolŋu world is woven together.

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Filed under Life as Bilinydjan, Theory

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