This is a music video for a song by MF Doom called Air, which has been remixed by a Detroit-based electronic/hip-hop producer called Dabrye. It was edited in Final Cut Pro. I took the footage from an online archive, the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology Films, located at:
The video was conceived for submission to Intersect, the Stanford Journal of Science, Technology and Society, which "accepts papers on a wide range of topics related to the intersection of history, culture, sociology, at, literature, law, ethics, and design with science and technology." It is open to interpretation, and not necessarily meant to present a clear message or argument.
I have taken a few anthropology courses in my first year here at Stanford, and although I have found them very interesting, I have always felt slightly uncomfortable at the vague sense of first-world voyeurism I feel is present in the field, where researchers sometimes study third-world people and cultures as if they are subjects in a lab. I meant to convey my discomfort with this idea through the combination of dark, aggressive music and anthropological depictions of African tribes, which are in some cases highly stereotyped, portraying the tribespeople as violent, primitive, superstitious, animalistic. The twist comes at the end of the video, when we see the producers of these anthropological studies: two well-dressed Caucasian academics, surrounded by priceless artifacts they have plundered from another culture. The field of anthropology has of course grown more objective, non-intrusive, and culturally sensitive since this video was produced in the 1940s or 1950s, but I feel the video raises some continuing questions about the ethical ramifications of interfering with or objectifying other cultures in our search for knowledge about them.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?