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Expedition Content (Dir. Ernst Karel and Veronika Kusumaryati, 2020)

Date: January 14-20, 2022

Time: 2:30pm & 7:30pm daily

Location: Lumiere Music Hall

Address: 9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211


Exclusive Los Angeles theatrical engagement!

An immersive marvel of sonic ethnography, Expedition Content—the latest film produced by Harvard's famed Sensory Ethnography Lab (Leviathan, Manakamana)—draws on audio recordings made by recent college graduate and Standard Oil heir Michael Rockefeller as part of the 1961 Harvard-Peabody Expedition to Netherlands New Guinea that set up tents among the indigenous Hubula (also known as Dani) people.

In their nearly imageless film, Ernst Karel and Veronika Kusumaryati document the strange encounter between the expedition and the Hubula people. The work explores and upends the power dynamics between anthropologist and subject, between image and sound, and turns the whole ethnographic project on its head.

Screening with: Single Stream (dir. Pawel Wojtasik, Toby Kim Lee, and Ernst Karel, 2014; 23 min.)

TRT: 101 min.


Advances the possibility of a purely sonic cinema.

Leo Goldsmith, The Brooklyn Rail

A sonic journey that interrogates how images are produced and who produces them.

Clayton Dillard, Slant Magazine

What Expedition Content does so adeptly is to make audible and legible those voices that have been silenced through omission.

Stephanie Spray, Non-Fiction Journal

[In revisiting this story], Karel and Kusumaryati touch on an issue of immense scope: the relationships that forge ideologies, representations and the destiny of entire peoples.

Olivia Cooper-Hadjian, Cinema du réel

Raises questions about colonial ethnographic research and also experiments with a proposal in which the narrative arises from the experience of the explorers in the place and that of the viewer sitting in the movie theater.

Ivonne Sheen, desistfilm

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