Lecture & Film

Aesthetic Anthropology: the films of Arthur Omar as ethnography of the imaginary

Triste Trópico

Ivana Bentes

May 3, 2018 20:15 h

Arthur Omar’s film “Triste Trópico”, and his essay "The anti-documentary" provide an important point of entry into the parallel and intertwined histories of experimental cinema and anthropology in 60s and 70s Brazil. How can we move beyond the notion of subject and object? How do we deal with otherness? How can the language of aesthetics provide an experience of empathy, connection and tension with the social and political other? Arthur Omar works across the field of experimental cinema in the 70s and video art in the 80s, while constantly reflecting on the “nature” of cinema in films, videos and photographic and audiovisual installations. Taken together, his films and his writings constitutes a theory of language and aesthetics as ethnography and of cinema as a "documentary" of the imaginary.