Embedded Aesthetics: Creating a Discursive Space for Indigenous Media

Peer Reviewed

Essay Excerpt

With an interest in enlarging analyses of film texts to account for broader contexts of social relations,' I have found it helpful to think of Aboriginal media as part of a mediascape, a term created by Arjun Appadurai to account for the different kinds of global cultural flows created by new media technologies and the images created with them in the late 20th century. Appadurai argues for situated analyses that take account of the interdependence of media practices with the local, national, and transnational circumstances that surround them (Appadurai 1990:7). Using such a model for indigenous media helps to establish a more generative discursive space for this work which breaks what one might call the fetishizing of the local, without losing a sense of the specific situatedness of any production. The complex mediascape of Aboriginal media, for example, must account for a range of circumstances, beginning with the perspectives of Aboriginal producers, for whom new media forms are seen as a powerful means of (collective) self-expression that can have a culturally revitalizing effect. Their vision coexists uneasily, however, with the fact that their work is also a product of relations with governing bodies that are responsible for the dire political circumstances that often motivated the Aboriginal mastery of new communication forms as a means of cultural intervention.[2] Such contradictions are inherent to the ongoing social construction of Aboriginality.... (366)

Ginsburg, Faye. "Embedded Aesthetics: Creating a Discursive Space for Indigenous Media." Cultural Anthropology 9.3(1994): 365–382.

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