Assimilation of cinematographic techniques by African filmmakers, in order to be not assimilated? A plea for anthropophagy
Faculty of Social Sciences. Communication Sciences
School of Visual Arts presents MediaModes : a Graduate Student Conference on Critical Thinking at the Intersection of Art and Technology, New York City, N.Y., Saturday November 4, 2010
University of Antwerp
Both Hollywood and colonial films made themselves susceptible to assimilation by African audiences, due to their semantic malleability and their susceptibility to local meanings and practices. Media-anthropologic research points towards the hypothesis that it is not the content (which is appropriated and reinvented by African audiences) but the medium itself, with its intrinsic elements such as time, space and narration, that constitutes the (colonizing) message. The question whether the assimilation of a media-text implies being assimilated, to put it in Senghors words, must be transposed to the level of the production of media-texts. Does the appropriation of the means of production and the cinematographic technique by African filmmakers which is often considered as countering the alienation caused by the impossibility to make their own image in colonial times paradoxically and unwillingly implies a being alienated as well? If so, how is deconstruction of Western imagery of Africa possible when African filmmakers rely on shooting back?