Background history leading to my discourse on Digital Anthropophagy: For many years I have dealt with the conundrum of legal usage of found and acquired visual materials in my video art and experimental filmmaking. As an artist, I create new contexts for these materials. By using such imagery in my work, I call under question the validity of ownership claims of usage of the owner’s discarded materials, and what is considered fair use. I construct new narratives out of other people’s discarded and dejected recorded memories, creations, and events. In the process of doing this type of work and the advent of the internet with its new paradigms of the digital revolution, I was constantly reminded of the anthropophagic practices in Brazilian tdigenous culture. The cannibal eats what he/she considers to be foreign in order to see through that person’s eyes and incorporate their strength, experiences and qualities. But I find that in today’s digital culture, we as an audience, watch the world around us in a globalized structure, thus quickly acquiring worldly references and spitting them out in a personal but also somewhat homogenized way. We have thus become both the cannibal and the cannibalized because of the wide and immediate access to information and the incredible reduction of time it now takes to consume that widely available culture. It no longer takes a passive person watching the ships arriving on the shore in order to consume what they might bring aboard, and conversely, for the colonizer in those ships to take away the riches they “discover” in far-away lands. Over five hundred years later, that exchange has now become horizontal and thus cross-pollinated and equal, and happening with an inhuman speed cycle.
- Vanessa Ramos-Velasquez (BR/DE) is an interdisciplinary artist creating installation, performance art, videodance, videoart, film, and hybrid art, having acquired a diverse background along her various global residencies through what she describes as anthropophagic hunger. She now lives in Berlin.
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