Prelude
Broken relations, migrant destiny
in Translations, an autoethnography
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This is a personal history of the intersection of colonial anthropology, creative practice and migrant ethnography. By way of setting the scene, I refer to Vincenzo Volentieri, a hoax ‘genius’ I invented for the 200th anniversary of Australia’s white colonisation: Volentieri is a parody of migrant precarity and creative resourcefulness, uniting mishearing, mimicry, multiple role-play and a constitutional reluctance to settle down (and in) to suggest a new world concealed inside appearances. It is an easy-to-read introduction to the experience that lies behind the creative encounters discussed in Translations. After a non-allegorical summary of the following chapters, two contrasting mythological frames are presented: a creation narrative told by Kulin Nations of the Melbourne region; a re-interpretation of Sophocles’ Oedipus trilogy. The conjunction of stories from different cultural matrices typifies the self-division/self-doubling nature of migrant place-finding and storytelling: both have in common the idea of the journey as a continuous, ever unfinished, creative translation.

Translations, an autoethnography

Migration, colonial Australia and the creative encounter

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