‘Who do you want to kill?’ Affectual and relational understandings at a sorcery rock art site in the southwest Gulf of Carpentaria, northern Australia


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Publication Date

October 2016


This article explores the affectual and relational contexts in which rock art is embedded through an exploration of the encounters, reactions, and responses to a well‐known sorcery rock art site known as Kurrmurnnyini in northern Australia's southwest Gulf country. These encounters with a culturally powerful place, and the emotions derived from people's personal memories and experiences of Kurrmurnnyini and its sorcery‐infused rock art, are vital to establishing an understanding of contemporary perceptions of what is clearly more than an ‘archaeological site’. We contend that by turning our attention to the often‐overlooked affectual and relational dimensions of rock art and the contexts in which it is found, researchers place themselves in a better position to access and become aware of the agency and affect of graphic imagery as well as the significance these powerful images and places hold for people today.

Document Type



Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 22, no. 4 (2016-10-21).