Kobarweng or Where is Your Helicopter?

Johan Grimonprez

1992, 24:00 minutes, colour/B&W, English text


Point of departure was Kaiang Tapior's question "Where is your helicopter?", which puzzled me on the day of July 6, 1987 as I stood in the village of Pepera. Apparently in June 1959 a scientific crew, including anthropologists, had dropped down from the sky in helicopters; much to the terrrified surprise of the villagers who watched in awe at these things from out of the sky, the likes of which they had never seen before.
Kobarweng reinscribes the history of this first encounter between a remote village set in the highlands of the island of New Guinea and the outside world, told mainly through a native narrative reclaiming the memory of a colonial past. Switching the roles of observer and observed, it is anthropology - and specifically the desire underlying anthropological representation, that is depicted as an object of curiosity to be explored and scrutinized.

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