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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Demarcating screen space : cosmopolitical technologies at vídeo nas aldeias Shamash, Sarah


In this case study of the organization and film and video archive known as Vídeo nas Aldeias (Video in the Villages or VNA), founded in 1986 by Vincent Carelli, I develop an argument for VNA as a critical filmic archive worthy of study and safeguarding. Crucially, I examine VNA as a producer of knowledge through an interdisciplinary framework. Its collection comprises over ninety films on and by Indigenous peoples, representing over forty Indigenous nations across Brazil. As a practicing media artist and filmmaker, I apply an interdisciplinary framework to develop philosophical arguments and film analyses to conceptualizing VNA’s archive as a pluriversal and anti-colonial technology of knowledge. Over-arching concepts of visual sovereignty, as elaborated by Native American scholars Michelle H. Raheja (Seneca) and Jolene Rickard (Tuscarora Nation), as well as concepts by Laura R. Graham to include representational sovereignty, as theoretical frameworks with which to examine individual films and the archive as a whole, guide my analysis. I use Amalia Córdoba and Juan Salazar’s discussion of “imperfect media” to root my analysis in Latin American theory. I argue that the films are constituent of cosmopolitical processes that can be framed within onto-epistemic oriented cinema; I appraise how the films and the archive have repercussions on and off screen. A key objective of this dissertation is to broaden the field of film studies to include Indigenous cinema, not as an addendum to film studies, but as integral to film history and film culture. I conclude by examining how VNA, by means of its creation of a growing, alternative filmic corpus, is working to invigorate futures for Indigenous peoples and for cinema studies.

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