Frontier Imaginaries is an exhibition currently being held across two sites in Brisbane: ‘No Longer at Ease‘ in the Institute of Modern Art and ‘The Life of Lines‘ at Queensland University of Technology.
Beth Povinelli is one of the artists featured in ‘The Life of Lines‘ – she is also Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University.
Beth’s research forms a critique of late liberalism – she dubs it an ‘anthropology of the otherwise’ – which I find vital to current debates about Australian identities and our visions of the future, both here and around the world. At the launch of Frontier Imaginaries, she argued that Australia is on the front lines of a crisis in Western thought, brought about in part by the pressures of climate change and the rise of digital technology.
Originally a philosophy student, Beth’s love of Australian movies led her to visit the country on a grant application in 1984. She eventually found herself working as an anthropologist and advocate for Indigenous communities. As she says, her career has been less about “explaining” Indigenous culture and society to others, more about helping to analyze how late liberal power appears from an Indigenous perspective.