Tent embassy dreaming and the body politic: contemporary urban Australian indigenous lexicons
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 18:21 authored by Vicki Van Hout
Through a process of empirical research and creative project exegesis, this thesis examines the 1972 Aboriginal Tent Embassy as the site of a critical cultural juncture. Employing dance theorist Susan Leigh Foster's utilisation of Michel de Certeau's tactics in the examination of African American acts of resistance as choreographies of protest, I explore both the functional plurality and adaptability of Australian indigenous ways of being. Anthropologist Michael Scott's wonder theories are utilised to articulate a constancy demonstrated through acts of reenactment, to accommodate each ideological iteration from the traditional forms reinforcing belief systems, to the entrance into the consumerist market and the appearance of the trickster as larrikin performance artist existing within the state. My creative research is a 're-imagining' of National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Agency (NAISDA) Dance College's first work, The Embassy, A New Challenge (1972), which celebrates the political activist as a new performative genre and a new narrative - The Tent Embassy Dreaming. As an urban indigenous contemporary dance/arts maker, my role is articulated in this cultural continuum; to keep the song alive and to address outsider concerns from both the media and academia, of the validity and authenticity of certain urban indigenous public practices.