Chapter 9 - Abstract and author bios

9. Whose Story is This? Complexities and Complicities of Using Archival Footage

Fred Myers

Returning to the archive and the returns of archival material have become important dimensions of a contemporary, decolonizing anthropology. While such activities and archives might be conveniently understood as straightforward, they are themselves important and complex sites of intercultural negotiation. In this chapter, Myers presents an account of the movement of archival footage through a series of regimes of cultural property and collaboration. In illuminating the relationships established, evoked, and negotiated in the course of repatriating film footage to an Indigenous Australian community, this account pursues the vexed intersections of relationships and rights in the production of visual representations of an Indigenous Australian history.

Fred Myers, Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University, has written on Indigenous Australian culture, objects, and identity as they are understood both within local communities and circulated through different regimes of value. His books include Pintupi Country, Pintupi Self: Sentiment, Place and Politics among Western Desert Aborigines (1986), Painting Culture: The Making of an Aboriginal High Art (2002), and edited volumes The Traffic in Culture: Refiguring Anthropology and Art (co-edited with George Marcus, 1995), and The Empire of Things (2001). His current project involves the repatriation and ‘re-documentation’ of film footage from 1974 with the current Pintupi communities.