To sing with another's voice

Animation, circumspection, and the negotiation of Indigeneity in northern Australian new media


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In northern Australia, elaborate forms of indirection and self‐effacement shape the media play of young Indigenous Australians. Young people animate celebrity avatars and their iconic voices as kinds of camouflage, breathing life into the artifacts of social media across a range of online platforms and media networks. In turn, they are themselves addressed, affected, and animated by such media. Informed by widely distributed norms of communicative circumspection, these practices register the reach of institutionalized media activism into the lives of young people and enliven the extrainstitutional circuits to which the latter give shape. Such practices also register the distinctive powers of media artifacts as agentive creatures in contemporary social worlds, and the dialogue of animation and self‐erasure from which their agency derives.