Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Response to Through Navajos Eyes

I, much like Daniela, knew little to nothing about the Navajo Indians (and based on the reading and interviews by Worth and Adair) are a people with very little exposure to or experience with film or picture-making, so it was fascinating to see how they used motion picture cameras to analyze the relationship between their language and culture and the way they structured their world through film. The project itself is most certainly ground breaking in the sense of its purpose; the idea of bringing Six Navajos to see if motion picture film, conceived, photographed, and manipulated by them would reveal aspects of cognition and values that may be inhibited, not observable or analyzable when the means of investigation is dependent on verbal exchange and particularly when it is done in the language of the investigator. The film that stood out the most to me was Intrepid Shadow and how Al Clah attempts to reconcile the western notion of God with his traditional Navaho notion of gods. I also saw that the circle was very symbolic in that it represents our forever quest for peace and tranquility.

The fact that this particular project” is considered by many (and indeed declares itself) to be the originator of the model of "handing over the camera to others" makes me wonder if it also paved the way for similar projects such as “Kids with Cameras” and “ Eyes on Gaza’s Children” initiatives and entire non- profit and human rights organizations whose sole purpose is handing used and up to date cameras to Palestinians children in the Occupied territories of the West Bank And Gaza. They would document everything from their day to day activities, but mostly human rights abuses often perpetrated but rarely highlighted or captured in such detail.

If it weren’t for this particular project and the terminologies that sprouted and stemmed from such “Politics of representation” and “multiculturalism” and the recognition of film as a legitimate field of study, the plight of many marginalized and disenfranchised across the world would seize to be heard or given much attention to.

But certain questions linger in my mind regarding this project: Do we as viewers and absorbers of their stories actually see through their lens? Do they get to see through their lens? How can this project be titled through Navajos eyes if the very people who were provided with the basic tools were under the watchful instructions of non Navajo filmmakers?

No comments:

Post a Comment