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Decentralising narratives in Marja Helander's short film "Birds in the Earth"

Authors: Becher, Tanja;

Decentralising narratives in Marja Helander's short film "Birds in the Earth"

Abstract

This thesis proposes polyphonic interpretations of the short film Birds in the Earth (Eatnanvuloš Lottit, 2018) by Sámi artist Marja Helander. The thesis investigates and develops a method to decentralise the research of Sámi art conducted by non-Sámi art historian’s perspective. The artwork addresses discourses about the Sámi history, culture and current matters. This raises the question of which kind of interpretation a non-Sámi art historian can form employing traditional art historical methods such as researching literature. The thesis examines how including perspectives of Sámi interviewees influences the comprehension and therefore decentralises interpretations of Birds in the Earth. The base of this thesis lays in the tradition of art historical analysis and interpretation. Additions include writings on decolonisation and Indigenous art by Kerstin Knopf, the term of polyphonic history by Peter Burke and inter/view as exchange of gazes following Alessandro Portelli. In order to formulate decentralised interpretations, three open-ended interviews with Sámi spectators are conducted about their experience and understanding of the short film. Thoughts and stories articulated by the interviewees are woven into the interpretation which proceeds by the categories of choreography, costumes, props and scenography. With the short film as point of departure, Sámi discourses are discussed such as landownership, tourism and appropriation, togetherness with nature and Sámi identity. Input from the interviews is combined with research insights from literature, seminars and documentaries. Both the interviews and the art historical research are presented alongside each other without competing or excluding each other. Adding Sámi interviewees’ perspectives decreases the distance between a non-Sámi art historian’s interpretation and the Sámi artwork which would have formed through merely employing research from literature, seminars and documentaries. The interpretation is enriched and comes alive by the interviewees’ elaborated experiences. The decentralised and therefore decentralising narratives come closer to the substance of the artwork as the art historian is formulating while self-reflecting. This implicitly demands the acknowledgement of historical and cultural references of art history itself and a reflected positioning of the non-Sámi art historian’s role in relation to Sámi discourses alongside researching and writing. Developing the methodology of non-Sámi art historians writing about Sámi art proofs necessary and purposive due to the growing importance of and interest in Indigenous art.

Country
Finland
Related Organizations
Keywords

Sámi art, decolonisation, Art History, saamelaistaide, Marja Helander, konsthistoria, nykytaide, taidehistoria, dekolonisaatio, Indigenous filmmaking, contemporary art, Indigenous art

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  • citations
    This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    0
    popularity
    This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
    influence
    This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
    Average
    impulse
    This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
    Average
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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Impulse provided by BIP!
0
Average
Average
Average
Related to Research communities
Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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