— Arthur Rimbaud (via 1ady)
"Zürich ist für mich ein unausstehlicher Ort. Die Natur hat alles gethan, um die Gegend zum Paradiese zu machen, aber die Bewohner dieses Paradieses sind gefallen. So eine fremdfeindseelige Denkungsart, solche ausschließende Gesinnungen, solchen steifen Bauernstolz, solche Unwißenheit mit solchen Ansprüchen vereint, und besonders solche Entfernung von den sanften Grazien des Atticismus giebt es sicher nirgends mehr. […] Manches kettet mich an diesen Ort; ich denke es aber doch bald durchzusetzen, ihn verlassen zu können."
— Fichte, Brief an Heinrich Theodor von Schön, Zürich den 20.09.1793, in: GA III,1, p. 434.
— Franz Boas, “The Principles of Ethnological Classification” (via casipajaros)
— Marcel Mauss, Prologue to A General Theory of Magic (via casipajaros)
Photographer Jimmy Nelson is just the latest artist to act like indigenous groups are about to die out
“Meet the last tribes on earth, before they pass away,” reads the invitation on one of the rotating slides greeting visitors to the website of photographer Jimmy Nelson. The text fades to lay bare the image of three Himba women, backs to the camera, one carrying a young child. “Feel their breath, smell their presence, touch their souls,” reads the text placed over the photograph of a Kazakh man posing with an eagle. “Hunters, fighters, nomads, Jimmy Nelson enchanted them all,” proclaims a slide featuring a fur-clad Chukchi man gnawing on a bone while holding a knife. Each destination, the text seems to imply, served up a bed of snakes to be charmed.
Nelson’s website is devoted to the promotion of his new book, “Before They Pass Away“(TeNeues, October 2013), which features 402 color photographs of the people among whom Nelson traveled. Nelson spent three years among 30 indigenous communities, including the Huli of Papua New Guinea, the Chukchi of Russia and the Samburu of Kenya.
The photographs are aesthetically exquisite, with vibrant hues, stunning landscapes, rich textures and gripping portraiture. But the artist’s discussions of his work are troubling.
Nelson’s website presents a portrayal of an explorer who “found the last tribesmen and observed them” and an artist who serves as “the last visual witness of flawless human beauty.” While these words have a romantic resonance, Nelson’s mission is built on a horrifying assumption: that these indigenous peoples are on the brink of destruction. He couldn’t be more wrong.
The Māori people, featured in Nelson’s book, make up 15 percent of New Zealand’s total population, and the 2012 census estimate of 682,100 Māori residents is part of a consistent upward trend. Seven seats of the Parliament of New Zealand are designated as Māori. Their communities have been impacted by colonization and the resulting warfare, disease, land loss and assimilation. But, although contact brought changes, far from being erased, the Māori people continue to thrive.
Oh God, this article is great! Just because the culture of indigenous people is changing it doesn’t mean that they are dying out. They are now endangered animals or something like that. Cultures change and are dynamic…