Visual Anthropoetry - An artistic approach towards indigenous knowledge
My artistic research departs from the belief that the birth of film was an anthropological gesture in itself. The Lumière brothers started a tradition in which the camera serves as a medium to narrate the others, but also to understand and get closer to the experience of otherness. If anthropology is intrinsically bound to the practice of film, what is the meaning and significance of visual anthropology? Reducing the discipline’s logos I propose to frame my artistic practice, instead, within the concept of what I would call visual anthropoetry; positioning poetry as a primarily intuitive and symbolical attempt to grasp the experience contained in the encounter with the other, and the self-knowledge gathered in the encounter with the unknown. On my ethnographic journeys through the south of Colombia I met Mercedes Jacanamijoy, one of the biggest repositories of her community´s oral tradition. The outcome of my research is a film proposal with her as a main vehicle to portray the poetic value of indigenous knowledge.
Despite the challenges experienced by both the physical and epistemological distance between The Netherlands and the tropical indigenous territories, artistic research allowed me to identify the elements from each one of these geographies that are part of my hybrid subjectivity. Its emphasis on process over results not only supports the recognition and value of failures and limitations within the act of creativity, but it also propels the research out of the institutional framework in which it was initially conceived. I intend to master the language of film within the context of this research to both expand and integrate the artistic connotations of indigenous culture through this precise medium. This way I hope to enable a permanent process of intercultural dialogue that allows me to decolonize my gaze and recreate my afro-indigenous roots in order to further cultivate my artistic identity.
Gustavo Lorgia Garnica is a Colombian filmmaker, visual artist and researcher. He has a BA in Social Communication with emphasis on audio-visual media. During his career, he has participated in major fiction film projects and he has worked together with different indigenous groups of Latin America, mainly the Huichol people in Mexico and the Nasa and Inga communities from Colombia. His short film ‘Bridges and other string theories’ was selected on exhibition circuits within U.S.A., Brazil, Argentina, The Netherlands, among others.