Beyond Observation offers a historical analysis of ethnographic film from
the birth of cinema in 1895 until 2015. It covers a large number of films made
in a broad range of styles, in many different parts of the world, from the
Arctic to Africa, from urban China to rural Vermont. It is the first extensive
historical account of its kind and will be accessible to students and lecturers
in visual anthropology as well as to those previously unfamiliar with
ethnographic film. Among the early genres that Paul Henley discusses are
French reportage films, the Soviet kulturfilm, the US travelogue, the classic
documentaries of Robert Flaherty and Basil Wright, as well as the more academic
films of Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson. Among the leading film-makers of the
post-war period, he discusses Jean Rouch, John Marshall and Robert Gardner, as
well as the emergence of Observational Cinema in the 1970s. He also considers
‘indigenous media’ projects of the 1980s, and the ethnographic films that
flourished on British television until the 1990s. In the final part, he
examines the recent films of David and Judith MacDougall, the Harvard Sensory
Media Lab, and a range of films authored in a participatory manner, as possible
models for the future.
Indigenous media and the Video nas Aldeias project
The definition of ‘indigenousmedia’
If the emergence of portable sychronous sound in the 1960s was fundamental to the emergence of more overtly participatory modes of ethnographic film authorship over the following decade, a further technological development in the 1970s facilitated a film-making praxis in which those who had traditionally been only the subjects of ethnographic films could become the authors of their own films about their lives. This technological development took the form of portable, easy-to-use and
through language” (chủ
nghĩa quốc gia bằng ngôn ngữ).30
This development was observed with apprehension by the secret
police. The creation of a modern indigenousmedia had not only exposed
the old secret societies to the surveillance of the colonial state, it had
also begun to unite the disparate groups of “feudal” elite into a broader
coalition against the colonial state:
Annamite society was, before the war, a handful of individuals from which
emerged several feudal families. I indicated that these times had passed and
that new groupings have been formed … the most
originators and the
spectators of their own representations (be it in cinema, video, or other
media): ‘Within “indigenousmedia”, the producers are
themselves the receivers, along with neighbouring communities and,
occasionally, distant cultural institutions or festivals’ (Shohat and Stam 1994 : 34).
This taxonomy can be applied to Berber cinema in Algeria, particularly in
the 1990s when production was dependent on participation
development, and a far cry from the old assumption that states should not intervene in the internal affairs of other
nation-states. Indigenousmedia reform was certainly a major
strand of the process of attempting to create a climate of peace and
reconciliation in Bosnia, although this was very much felt to be the
responsibility of non-military and non-governmental organizations.
But, so long as there was a NATO presence, there remained a need
for SFOR to communicate not only with local media, however
hostile they remained but also, because of this, directly with the
The New Zealand television series Mataku as Indigenous gothic
. Palmerston North:
Dunmore Press , 260–9 .
Gelder , Ken , and Jane
Jacobs . 1998 . Uncanny Australia: Sacredness and Identity in a Postcolonial
Melbourne University Press .
Ginsburg , Faye D . 2003 . ‘Embedded aesthetics: Creating a discursive
space for Indigenousmedia
?’, GNU Operating System http://goo.gl/aBna2t (retrieved 01 October 2013).
Halkin, A. (2008) ‘Outside the Indigenous lens: Zapatistas and autonomous video-making’, in P. Wilson and M. Stewart (eds) Global IndigenousMedia: Cultures, Poetics, and Politics , Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 55–78.
Hardt, M., and Negri, A. (2000) Empire , Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Horgan, J. (2001) Irish Media: A Critical History Since 1922 , London: Routledge.
Indymedia Ireland (2003) ‘Tá Indymedia ag Oscailt’, http
-colonial struggle was a result of the spread of indigenousmedia.
As the French secret police had observed, the latter helped to transform
“Annamite society” from a “handful of individuals from … feudal families” into “a tightly-knit opposition,” united by a new national culture.114
This supposedly ancient national culture, which was “unknown to the
Annamites,” would later be invoked by the two postcolonial states in
Vietnam as the basis for claiming national territorial sovereignty.
This sovereignty, however, is distinct from that of the imperial court,
whose weak tyrannical
rule was the first law of media control. Utilising a rhetoric familiar
in mid-Victorian Britain to curb opposition, the empire builders
classified the Anglo-Indian press as ‘responsible’ while
their Indian counterparts were ‘irresponsible’. Hence the
former were cultivated as bulwarks against the rising tide of
nationalism, whereas the Raj controlled the operation of the indigenousmedia through
Visitors, cosmopolitans and migratory cinematic visions of a superdiverse city
Keith B. Wagner
intrinsically linked to the wider UK and in particular London. In
their landmark study Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media , Ella
Shohat and Robert Stam confirm that artistic, cultural and political alternatives through a
wide range of non-Eurocentric media including Third World films, rap
videos and indigenousmedia, overlooked in popular culture and in academia before the 1990s,
need to be accessed and given proper attention. Their mediation on multiculturalism is best
understood as the self-representation of