Heritage and the Politics of Culture
This paper analyses social interactions that lie at the basis of “Recording the Future: An Audiovisual Archive of Everyday Life in Indonesia” (RtF). Its main question is how “local knowledge” is simultaneously employed, visualized, and co-created in the context of the making of the archive. RtF is an ever growing collection, currently consisting of more than 600 hours of film, which is stored in Leiden as part of the university’s Asian Library. In contrast to a previous article (Kloos 2015), my entry-point will not be the images themselves, but rather the metadata created as part of the project. These include diaries written by the project leaders during the days of shooting and a set of (filmed) interviews with Dutch and Indonesian team members conducted in 2006. These documents contain intriguing insights into the roles and agencies of, and interactions between, the Indonesian filmmakers, local fixers, and the Dutch anthropologists leading the project. I focus on the area of tensions and interactions between different forms of expertise. The skills and knowledge on which the project rests, of scholars, filmers, and fixers, are simultaneously “professional” (scholarly, technical, organisational) and “local” (predicated on established networks, language and comportment, a “feel” for certain places) in nature. This local knowledge, I hypothesize, is not a pre-existing or ready reservoir or resource. It is more fruitfully regarded as co-constituted and partially visualized through the interactions, and at times clashes, between the performances of different forms of expertise and the various considerations at its basis.