At a street festival in West Africa, a young girl is delighted to discover a video camera trained on her. But her exuberant display is quickly cut short when she recognizes that the cameraman has already lost interest in her. But all is well: he has a document of the moment. Video has tipped the balance in another human interaction, and turned it into a curio.
This experimental video essay by Kwame Bruan probes the complexities of video as a tool for cross-cultural research and representation: it examines, in effect, the politics of its own production. How does the intrusion of this expensive technology distort relationships? What are the ethnographic filmmaker's responsibilites towards his "subjects?"
Yet perhaps these concerns are themselves distortions, preoccupations that obscure a more balanced encounter, in which human accommodation can flow in both directions.