July 19, 2020 11:48 AM   Subscribe

In the radio episode "Indigenous memory code," science writer Lynne Kelly and Indigenous health scholar Karen Adams share their perspectives on Aboriginal songlines as technologies of remembering. Prefer visual to audio? In 2016, Sydney Opera House's "Lighting the Sails" featured indigenous artists commissioned to create work on songlines. More context from the Opera's head of Indigenous Programming.

Lynne Kelly authored The Memory Code, which details her journey to learn about memory practices from indigenous cultures. Hour-long interview with Kelly on landscape as memory aid.

Previously on songlines.
posted by spamandkimchi (4 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I first encountered Lynne Kelly on an episode of Sean Carroll's Mindscapes podcast. Fascinating theories and a fascinating human being.
posted by gwint at 1:43 PM on July 19, 2020

Ha, my library has this book (big surprise, it never has anything I want), gonna borrow it.

The SOH sails show (I wonder why it's unlisted?) is a great watch, visuals and music are both entrancing, with moments of surprise. I wish they had more info on the visual and musical artists involved and maybe like a guide or something. It got me to look up the artists individually to piece things together so I guess that's a good thing in the end, though I couldn't find much on the music.

My partner recently bought a book on songlines (Song Spirals authored by a few Yolgnu women). Most of what's been published on songlines are the men's role in them, so it's been nourishing to read one centred around women. When we're together he tells me about the chapter he's read, and I lie next to him wondering about what the world would look like now if indigenous societies around the world weren't decimated by colonialism, or if colonisers had instead assimilated into indigenous culture if they were willing to take them in or let them live around them in some way; if indigenous culture was the dominant culture still. I have some thoughts I'm trying to untangle about what in current society we ('re (not/) allowed to) remember and what we ('re (not/) allowed to) forget, between these thoughts on songlines and some thoughts on that metatalk thread the other day, but nothing I can articulate clearly yet. We're not far into the book yet because of his 70 hour work weeks - I think I'll just borrow the book from him.

Unrelated to the topic but Dr Kelly links on the side of her website to a sweet blog she keeps on spiders (CW lots of close ups of spiders, swarms of spider babies). My partner is a no-spiders person and I'm a spiders-are-fine-so-long-as-there's-not-too-many-and-none-in-the-bed/toilet/shower person, but she appears to be a let-egg-sacs-hatch-inside-her-house-and-lets-the-baby-spider-swarms-be person, which is what I'd like to be but in reality I'm too chicken and I'll just have to live vicariously through her blog.
posted by womb of things to be and tomb of things that were at 6:20 PM on July 19, 2020 [4 favorites]

That was great, thanks! Singing Saltwater Country by John Bradley and the Yanyuwa Families of the Gulf of Carpenteria in the Australian Northern Territory is also a great read on the topic.
posted by mapinact at 1:22 AM on July 20, 2020

In the radio episode, the menmonic technique Kelly describes is what's also known as the Method of loci or Memory Palace (previously).
posted by progosk at 5:57 AM on July 20, 2020

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