Native peoples of the Amazon and elsewhere in Latin America have become engaged consumers of electronic media, while also making use of video cameras, cell phones and laptops to create and transmit their own artistic and cultural productions and political views. The results can be complex and surprising, ranging from videos about traditional ceremonies to catchy electronic music and even a native-language cover of the Beatles. Among the works made by Kayapó film makers I trained as part of an indigenous media project at the Goeldi Museum in Brazil are films documenting tug-of-war at an interethnic sports competition; a professional soccer game in Rio de Janeiro; the “Miss Kayapó” beauty contest at a local fairground; and a concert by the indigenous pop star Bepdjyre, who composes his own lyrics in Kayapó but sets them to popular Brazilian dance rhythms.
|Bepdjyre's stage show includes Kayapó girls showing off sensual dance moves gleaned from watching TV and DVDs.|
This conference, sponsored by Vanderbilt and Middle Tennessee University, brings together anthropologists, media scholars and indigenous filmmakers to reflect on the appropriations and interpretations of digital media by indigenous peoples, and to discuss the transformations this use of technology is bringing about.
|The "Miss Kayapó" beauty contest captured by film maker Tatajere.|
Faye Ginsberg of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University will give the keynote address at the event. Indigenous filmmaker Takumã Kuikuru and Brazilian anthropologist Carlos Fausto present their documentary “The Hyper-Women,” which follows a village on the Upper Xingu River as it strives to rescue, rehearse and host a traditional song festival before the last woman who knows the repertoire dies. The film has won several international awards including the Jury Prize at Brazil’s prestigious Gramado Festival, Best Film at the Curitiba International Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Hollywood Brazilian Film Festival. Kayapó film makers Bepunu and Krakrax will show works produced on their own village-based laptop editing suites as part of the Goeldi Museum media project, and Richard Pace of Middle Tennessee University will present results of a study financed by the National Science Foundation on the uses and impacts of satellite TV, DVD players and cell phones in a Kayapó village.
Conference registration is open through February 16. For more information, visit vanderbilt.edu.
Updated from the original posting by The New York Review of Books.