Directed by by Ernst Karel & Veronika Kusumaryati
2020, 78 minutes
EXPEDITION CONTENT is a multichannel sound piece, composed for the Left, Center, and Right speakers of the cinema. If playing the film in a classroom or auditorium equipped with 5.1 sound, please be sure to project from the Blu-ray or a file with the original 5.1 audio, which we will provide. (The stereo mixdown version is also included, for headphone playback or for situations without 5.1 sound capabilities.)
An immersive marvel of sonic ethnography, Expedition Content draws on audio recordings made by recent college graduate and Standard Oil heir Michael Rockefeller as part of the so-called Harvard-Peabody Expedition to Netherlands New Guinea in 1961 to study the indigenous Hubula (also known as Dani) people.
In their nearly imageless film, Karel and Kusumaryati document the strange encounter between the expedition and the Hubula people. The work explores and upends the power dynamics between anthropologist and subject, between image and sound, and calls into question the whole ethnographic project.
Subjects & Collections
2021 Anthropology Cinema Studies Cultural Studies Directed by Women Education Indigenous Studies Political Science Sensory Ethnography Lab Sociology World History 2022
Festivals & Awards
Official Selection - Berlin International Film Festival
Official Selection - Art of the Real
Loridan-Ivens/CNAP Award, Special Mention - Cinéma du Réel
Critic's Pick! "Startling and fascinating... builds to a shattering climax."
-Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
"Advances the possibility of a purely sonic cinema."
-Leo Goldsmith, The Brooklyn Rail
"A sonic journey... that interrogates how images are produced and who produces them."
"What Expedition Content does so adeptly is to make audible and legible those voices that have been silenced through omission."
-Stephanie Spray, Non-Fiction Journal
This documentary would be suitable for documentary collections on indigenous cultures, research projects, historical preservation."
- Video Librarian