Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Weekend in Japan" - Video Experiment

What is this? (Do you really want to read this "study guide"/spoiler?)

This short film summarizes a weekend in early April 2008 as experienced by the visual anthropologist. Beautiful spring time weather made cherry blossom viewing even more wonderful. Behind my house is a small stream lined with cherry trees. Up stream the neighborhood elderly people's association writes and displays senryu poetry among the cherry blossoms. Friday night I attended a deaf gathering at a bar in Osaka. The bar was dimly lit, making sign language a little challenging to see. However, we were doing OK when all of a sudden the disco balls started, showering us with rays of brilliant colors. All very beautiful, but once again it made signing a little difficult. But we adapted and continued with our fun. Sunday I was invited to a cherry blossom viewing party with deaf people, uniting my visual themes (key words) of cherry blossoms, deaf and sign language.

I experiment with ordered pairs and dichotomies. Traditional culture and modern practices; deaf and hearing; light and dark; sound and vision; self and other; humans and nature; stereotypes and reality - these things are not opposites or either/or. Rather they are mutually supporting, influencing and intermingling with each other; they are partial truths. The film is composed of sound and vision bites a la Bakhtin's architectonics. Sometimes things are smooth, sometimes they make sense, sometimes things are rough, sometimes things are utterly confusing. This is culture and life - at least for one visual anthropologist for one Weekend in Japan.

Comments and critiques, please. Special thanks to my VAOJ students who have already let me have it - very much appreciated...

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