Dr. Daisuke Bundo
"Applied visual anthropological study on the role of videos on the dissemination and conservation of indigenous cultures"
In recent years, an approach has become pervasive, in which researchers aim to improve the present situation by actively engaging with the problems faced by the members of societies or groups focused on as the research target. Especially in Europe and the U.S., interventions through the use of visual media have been successful and an area of anthropology in which visual media is used intensively is now referred to as “Applied Visual Anthropology.” Preceding such a trend, since the birth of video in the mid-1960s, video production has become a tool which allows producers to understand their circumstances and has promoted their active engagement with such situations. This has become a popular movement known as “Participatory Video” after digital video became common in the 1990s.
Since 1996, I have been conducting anthropological research on the Baka, a tribe in the tropical rainforests of the East Region of Cameroon. Since 2002 I have also been making ethnographic films. Although farming and settling down have become common for the Baka people, they still obtain much of their resources by hunting and gathering. However, controls on hunting and recent environmental damages due to logging operations and mining, are making their traditional lives difficult to carry on. They are also facing various troubles due to their dependent relationship with other neighboring peoples. These have led the Baka to organize an indigenous peoples’ group and they are now expanding their activities, backed up by support from aid agencies.
Since 2011, I have been making participatory videos on the Baka’s organizations. Collaborating with Cameroonian filmmakers I am producing five short films on three organizations ASBAK, OKANI and CADDAP. In addition, I continue to study the films through organizing film-screening seminars among researchers on Cameroon. This study, exploring the possibilities and challenges of the indigenous peoples’ movement through the use of visual media is also an attempt to create a new network among the indigenous people, filmmakers and researchers.