Playing Indian: Installation in three parts

Stephen Foster

2005, 09:00 minutes, colour, English


Playing Indian is in three parts:

Burn; From The Ashes... (3:00 mins)
Static; The Absence of Movement... (3:00 mins)
Squelch; silence ~ Suppression ~ A Crushing Remark (3:00 mins)

The three videos are meditations on the use of indigenous iconography in pop culture and the possible divergent meanings and repercussions this might have for aboriginal peoples and society at large. Starting with a basic dichotomy implied in the one word titles images are arranged to highlight inter-textual links between meanings and the social metaphors found in the titles. The words themselves have conflicting meanings as they are used in other contexts. The words have specific technological usages but also have overt connotations to oppressive social actions when perpetuated against marginalized members of society.

Playing Indian is non-narrative and image based; edited for rhythm and emotive effect along with a dense sonic treatment. The result is a sound installation as much as it is a video installation. The processing of the image and sound extends beyond stylistic effect to metaphor. Mediating effects of technology are signified by the texturing of image and sound with overt analog and digital effects. This references forms of mass media and its ability to alter our perception of events and history. the video works leave the viewer pondering the source of the images as part of a "real" history or a constructed Hollywood fiction.

Playing Indian can also be screened as a back-to-back series on a single-channel videotape or as a 3-channel installation.

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