Screening and Discussion of Expedition Content (Ernst Karel and Veronika Kusumaryati, 2020) with Ernst Karel, Veronika Kusumaryati and Korneles Siep

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in or organising a public festival/exhibition/event


The Centre for Screen Cultures hosted a screening and discussion of a work of ‘sonic cinema’ that provokes questions around the histories of ethnographic, colonial, and documentary filmmaking through its repurposing of archival material. Crossing disciplinary lines, the event will consider the interconnections of art and politics, of sound and image, and of colonialism and human rights.

In 1961, Robert Gardner, the American anthropologist and ethnographic filmmaker led the Harvard Peabody Expedition to what was then known as Netherlands New Guinea (now West Papua). Funded by the Dutch colonial government, the group stayed for five months in the Baliem Valley among the Hubula people where they recorded many hours of audio (and filmed footage, resulting in Gardner’s 1963 film Dead Birds). Expedition Content, an augmented sound work by sound artist Ernst Karel and political and media anthropologist Veronika Kusumaryati (both associated with the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab), is an immersive sonic experience that returns to these tape recordings and brings that history into dialogue with the neo-colonial regime and ongoing violence being experienced by West Papuans today.

The Centre for Screen Cultures hosted an online roundtable discussion with the filmmakers: Ernst Karel and Veronika Kusumaryati, and the musician, Korneles Siep from West Papua, who discussed the making of the work and its significance for present day human rights abuses in West Papua.
Period14 Apr 2021
Event typeExhibition
LocationSt Andrews, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational