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7pm at Deluge: Anti-Ethnography
Curated by Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil
He surprised me by suddenly emerging from the dense forest on my right, pointing his loaded shotgun at me. He was threatening me. At that instant by luck, I was recording a tape. Instinctively I pointed the camera at my potential assassin as if it were a firearm, with that aggressive gesture, that imaginary threat, which we video artists use as a warning that the camera is also a dangerous weapon, as if bullets could come out of the lens. ? Juan Downey, The Laughing Alligator
Anti-Ethnography is a selection of video works which examines the violence inherent in the ethnographic impulse and unveils the absurd fetishism underpinning the discipline.
For indigenous peoples the camera is a dangerous weapon, one that has been wielded against us since the device’s inception. Anthropology’s obsession with preserving images of our “vanishing” cultures, through ethnographic films or archives filled with boxes of our ancestors’ remains, has long been a tool used to colonize and oppress indigenous peoples.
By relegating our identities to the past, and forcing us to authenticate ourselves through this past, our existence as contemporary individuals living in a colonized land is denied. It is in this sense that ethnography confines indigenous agency.
The anthropologist’s encapsulating gaze ignores the fact that for indigenous communities tradition is not an immutable set of truths handed down by revelation, but a set of ever-evolving social practices whose continuity cannot be repaired by preservation, only elaborated through struggle, and finally achieved under conditions of genuine self-?determination. AK/ZK
We have never been simply ignored, or simply romanticized, or been merely the targets of assimilation or genocide. It is rather all these things and many more, often at the same time in different places. The prison is a dreamcatcher, a vapor. It is both vicious and flattering, flexible and never monolithic. It can’t be refuted or denied, it just is. Most devastating of all, the ideological prison is capable of becoming an elixir that we Indian people ourselves find irresistible. Paul Chaat Smith, Everything You Know About Indians Is Wrong
Sioux Ghost Dance | W.K.L. Dickson, Thomas Edison | 4:07 | USA | 1894
Welcome to the Third World | Guillermo Gómez-Peña | 1:35 | Mexico/USA | 2004
The Laughing Alligator | Juan Downey | 26:36 | Venezuela/USA | 1979
Auntie Beachress Are You Looking at Me? | Tonia Jo Hall | 0:15 | USA | 2015
Overweight with Crooked Teeth | Shelley Niro | 5:21 | Canada/USA | 1997
Instant Identity Ritual | Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Gustavo Vázquez | 1:48 | Mexico/USA | 2007
Este es mi reino [This Is My Kingdom] | Carlos Reygadas | 12:19 | Mexico | 2010
Bizarre Thanksgiving Performance Ritual | Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Gustavo Vázquez | 1:54 | Mexico/USA | 2013
Auntie Beachress Lakota Language Challenge | Tonia Jo Hall | 0:15 | USA | 2015
wawa | Sky Hopinka | 6:00 | USA | 2014
Auntie Beachress Only Boring People Get Bored | Tonia Jo Hall | 0:15 | USA | 2015
Diane Burns Alphabet City Serenade | Poetry Spots/Bob Holman | 2:00 | USA | 1987
Dance to Miss Chief | Kent Monkman | 5:03 | Canada | 2010
Auntie Beachress Life’s Struggles | Tonia Jo Hall | 15:00 | USA | 2015
9pm at Deluge: INAATE/SE/ [it shines a certain way. to a certain place/it flies. falls./]
Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil | 75:00 | USA/Canada | 2016 | Victoria Premiere
Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil’s debut film re-imagines an Anishinaabe story, the Seven Fires Prophecy, which both predates and predicts first contact with Europeans. A kaleidoscopic experience blending documentary, narrative and experimental forms, INAATE/SE/ explores how the prophecy resonates through the generations in their indigenous community on the Michigan/Canadian border. With acute geographic specificity and grand historical scope, the film fixes its lens between the sacred and the profane to pry open the construction of contemporary indigenous identity.
Adam Khalil and Zack Khalil (Ojibway) are filmmakers and artists from Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Their work subverts traditional forms of ethnography through humor, transgression and innovative documentary practice. Their films and installations have been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, UnionDocs, e-flux, Maysles Cinema, Microscope Gallery (New York), Spektrum (Berlin), Trailer Gallery (Sweden), and Carnival of eCreativity (Bombay). They both graduated from the Film and Electronic Arts program at Bard College and are UnionDocs Collaborative Fellows and Gates Millennium Scholars.
“The tattered history of the Ojibway people of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is redeemed through the punk-rock humor of a pair of young native filmmakers in INAATE/SE/.” The Wall Street Journal
“An artful and brilliant collage, expressing hope, pain, despair and the trickster humor that is so evocative of its people.” BOMB Magazine
“Stylistically audacious” The Hollywood Reporter
“Formally adventurous but never esoteric, INAATE/SE is an inimitable model for what radical documentary in the 21st century might be” Screen Slate
“INAATE/SE/ is as lucid a dream of the future as any historical documentary has ever been.” NonFics