Travels with Tooy by Richard Price and the film work of Ben Russell

May’s Reading: excerpts from Travels with Tooy by Richard Price and the film work of Ben Russell
Tuesday May 17 2011
VIVO Media Arts [1965 Main Street], Vancouver BC
7pm Salon Free
Facilitated by Alex Muir

This month we will attempt to place a few excerpts from the ethnographic work of Richard Price in conversation with the experimental film practice of Ben Russell. The common denominator for these two entities is work with and about the Saramaka Maroons of Suriname–one of themost prominent and enduring Maroon communities in the world. Price’s book Travels with Tooy (2007) provides entry into the culture and history of the Saramakas via Tooy, a priest who reveals and upholds his genealogy through his work as a healer and storyteller, but also as a trance medium through which the spirit kin of his ancestors directly speak and teach. In placing this text in proximity to Russell’s feature length minimalist long take study Let Each One Go Where He May (2009) and his Trypps series of shorts (2005-10), we mean to entertain very open questions pertaining to psychedelia, perhaps specifically in a “new world” context–and how it might relate to the condition explored through the Maroon phenomenon–forging new indigeneities in a foreign context.

While not mandatory or necessary, you are encouraged to check out Ben Russell’s screening at DIM on Monday, May 16.

Richard Price is an American anthropologist. He and his partner Sally Price have been working with the Saramaka peoples from the 1960s through to the present day. His books on Maroon culture have taken on such diverse forms as a novel, annotated transcription of evening storytelling/singing ceremonies, and poly-vocal historical testimony.
Ben Russell is an experimental filmmaker based in Chicago. His recent works pursue the idea of “psychedelic ethnography”, tracing the hallucinatory through objects and ritual in films made in locales such as the Badlands, Providence, Suriname, and Dubai.

image: Ben Russell, Trypps #6 Malobi, 2009