“We are reminded, once again, that there are people both in front of and behind that camera,” Isaac You reflects in their review of The Gig Is Up, “that even this documentary relies on the active participation of humans.” The column I am talking about is one of four DOXA reviews in this issue — The Gig Is Up, Koto: The Last Service, You Are Not A Soldier and Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy. I tell you this not as aimless revelation, but because it gestures to what these reviews epitomize so effectively — even in the strictest of narratives, a documentary, there is room for nuance. A whole nervous system of it in fact.
We interpret what we see — in the sorry stuff of 2021 — as stories to help us live. The sinister inertia of narrative-formining tends to suggest everything can be frozen and identified immediately. That safety lies in generalization. I worry that, because of the need to impose an intelligible narrative line within all things, we forget the “people both in front of, and behind that camera.” That even the most steroidal infographic, or the most reliable image, can also contain multitudes of contradiction. Discorder is home to so many voices, so many tangential stories and thoughts, and if art has any liberating magic beyond serving as a tax-dodging investment vehicle, it will be in its ability to close the wounds created by a world fed on the binary rhetoric. Stories — a lot of them, with a lot of room.
So with that, I would like to welcome the new words of Fabio Schneider, in review of Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy — a film built on compassion and acceptance. Maheep Chawla, in conversation with Osman Bari of Chutney Mag. Frankie Tanafranca, exploring the again & again in Rydel Cerezo’s exhibition, “New Beginnings”, and finally, the return of writer Rachel Lau, with a generously unfettered piece on musician Miguel Maraville (tune-in to CiTR on 06/23/2021 at 7PM to see what I mean.)
Riding the tension between rebellion/obligation, love/atrocity,