Daniella Trimboli: Cultural Difference in the Future Tense: Performing the Attainment of Inclusion in Migrant Digital Storytelling

Migration and cultural difference are common themes of digital storytelling projects in Australia and similar post/neo-colonial nations, such as Canada, North America, and the U.K. Often, these projects are compelled by a vision of a culturally-inclusive nation, and the subjects of the digital stories are thrust forward along a linear, futuristic narrative. In this paper, I consider the affective modalities fuelling these projects and the various ways the notion of ‘the everyday’ gets deployed. I am particularly interested in how race gets entangled in these future-oriented performativities, inadvertently foreclosing possibilities available to non-white migrant subjects. Is the performance of a future-oriented inclusiveness counterproductive to the deconstruction of racialised migrant narratives? If so, how do we harness a future-oriented politics without collapsing into utopic and ultimately restrictive formulations of cultural diversity? With reference to digital autographics, such as web comics and social media ‘stories’, I begin to identify moment-to-moment translations or ‘excesses’ that occur in digital arts interventions that may not be captured by future-oriented narratives. I posit these excesses as types of ‘diasporic intimacies’ (Boym 2009)—dystopic and unsuspecting affective forces that disrupt the temporal and spatial rhythms of everyday migrant life. Finally, I contend that the interruptive rhythm of these excesses provides possibilities for creating alternative, non-racialised configurations of ‘the migrant’ and everyday life more broadly.

Dr. Daniella Trimboli is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University. She was jointly-awarded her PhD in Cultural Studies in 2016 by The University of Melbourne and the University of British Columbia. Her first book Mediating Multiculturalism: Digital Storytelling and The Everyday Ethnic is due to be published in late 2019 (Anthem Press). Daniella has worked as a Research Fellow at the Research Unit in Public Cultures at The University of Melbourne and has taught in Cultural Studies and Australian Studies at The University of Melbourne and Flinders University respectively. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Intercultural Studies. Daniella co-founded the online arts community “I’ll Be Your First Mate” on the topic of asylum seeking and global migration, and is currently researching the role of digital narratives for refugees and diasporic communities in the Transpacific.


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