The Touchstone of Vision
Remembering the Indigenous Gaze in 'Stones have Laws'
Keywords:decolonial, pluriversal, aesthesis, opacity, collaboration
This article looks at the Dutch and Surinamese Maroon film Stones Have Laws (Dee Sitonu a Weti, 2018), as an example of unlearning colonial modes of perception, authorship, participation, and framing reality, through transcultural collaboration. Exploring the tension between the image as document and as medium, I look at the ways this project interacts with the history of ethnographic filmmaking in its observational, reflexive, and participatory forms, and the postcolonial notion of the returned gaze. Connecting Indigenous, decolonial and phenomenological theories of the reciprocity of vision and plurality of lifeworlds, I argue that this work demonstrates how the image can act as a reminder of the ways our senses and conceptions of reality are interrelated with that of more-than-human beings and environments. Translocal collaborations call on both filmmakers and viewers to co-create a vision that is shaped by multiplicity, consent, temporal commitment, and contextual grounding.
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