Mela- Alexander

An article just appeared on mela which I had not seen when writing about mela films in Global South Asia on screen, but it looks pretty much on point when in the end it:

“argues for the need to build questions of history and of power back in to our understanding of diaspora, without falling back on reductive and essentialised tropes of ethnicity, religion or origin. The arguments are fourfold: first, that the Mela enacts powerful imaginative and emotional ties to idealised notions of ‘home’ and ‘origins’ in Bangladesh among British Bengalis; second, that rather than simply replicating essentialised ideas of Bengali identity and culture, the contemporary shape and significance of these events must be placed within a more locally situated context and (hi)story, conjuring multiple points and moments of emergence and affiliation; third, that these rituals recreate the borders of ‘community’ identity in the UK through appeals to shared national history, experience and ‘culture’ and in so doing generate new borders of inclusion and exclusion (marked particularly through a religious/secular divide and its gendered and generational consequences); and fourth, that these events incorporate multiple histories and (con)temporalities, opening up these sites as demotic spaces of encounter, dialogue and conflict that challenge and unsettle bordering processes”

 

The rest of the article leading up to this is a great survey of the literature on bengali diaspora in the UK. Have a look: here

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Orientalism for kids – again

Orientalism for kids – again

Am gearing up for another round of kiddy tv and hoping there are new programmes since the mind worms of Iggle Piggle and Peppa Pig did their damage. This time Theodor and I are reviewing the options for Annabel’s rapidly arriving toddler indoctrination sessions. First exhibit on review is Nicklodious’s ‘Shimmer and Shine’.

Flying carpets, shalwar kameez, wayang kulit shadow puppets, princesses and dragons (with bad breath). The two genies have 3 wishes an episode to bestow, of course wishes go astray, are wasted frivolously, but a lesson is learned. Nothing new then, and some pretty standard 1001 nights fare, along with a geography-hopping sampling of almost any magical tradition anywhere. Ok, not so worried about that, but there is a dad who eats popcorn – very suspicious. He may work in films. Big eyed anime influence, suburban values and cinema in-jokes. Does the obvious fun they had making this mean the stereotypes are somehow undone? Nope, but a popcorn munching genie is better than that 60s comedy dream of Barbara Eden.

Oh damn, there’s a prince in it, daft boy in specs – and now sitar fusion cartoon songs. I preferred the Beatles cartoon trip to India bit posted on my film course blog.
This is what we do on Sunday mornings…

Yale radio project latest

Just in:

“This week Ellen Carey talks about her beautiful and ground breaking work, and Rob Green articulates the downfall of the art economy and closing of his gallery while Jessica Backus from Artsy sees a global upswing in art sales and Zlatko Kopljar compares the artist relationship to the capitalist system as similiar to the Stockholm syndrome – where long term hostages start bonding with their captors and acting like them.

More artists and theorists are here talking about what they love, which is why I love doing this.

As always, the archive can be seen here and to hear it on itunes and download to your phone, click here,”

– the new additions are these on the list below. ​​

Jessica Backus
Ellen Carey
Thomas Dreher
Diana Shpungin
Rossella Emanuele
Zlatko Kopljar
Rob Greene
Davide Cantoni