Trans-cultural Authorship, Copyright and Film. The Case of Funeral Rituals among the Toraja in Sulawesi, Indonesia

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin (Social and Cultural Anthropology)
Co-Project Director: Dr. Beate Engelbrecht
Research Associate: Dr.des Karin Klenke

Project Abstract

The reserach project focuses on the efforts of the Toraja in Sulawesi, Indonesia, to achieve UNESCO world heritage status for their cultural heritage. Known for its traditionally, richly decorated houses, one Toraja village had made an initial attempt to achieve such a certification. The regional UNESCO commission considered this application not sufficiently representative for the Toraja people and suggested instead that ten Toraja villages ought to draft an application for nomination as a cultural landscape as this would likely have bigger chances of success. A UNESCO cultural landscape entails a culturally shaped region including the entire way of life practiced. The form of subsistence (wet rice agriculture), burial practices in the cliffs, architecture and carving as well as rituals all form part of this specific cultural landscape. The research project documents the negotiations arising from this new effort on the local, regional and national level. We focus on different conceptions of property, authorship, inheritance and belonging as well as competing claims associated with such concepts.

The project emphasizes, furthermore, the meaning of film as a medium of representation as well as a method of generating data. We will film processes of discussion and negotation among actors in the villages as well as within national committees, so as to permit a detailed analysis. Film will also be used to investigate which aspects of their culture the Toraja choose themselves to suggest for UNESCO certification. Also of interest is the question how the Toraja seek to represent their culture through film (“indigenous filmmaking” practices). In addition, an ethnographic film will be made, in collaboration with Toraja actors, on aspects of their cultural landscape application for UNESCO (carried out by Dr. Beate Engelbrecht).

Publications
  • Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin, Karin Klenke (2010): Flexibilisiere Kultur zwischen „Tradition, Modernität und Markt“: Akteursbezogene Verwendungs- und Bedeutungsvielfalt von „kulturellem Erbe“. In: Bendix, Regina, Bizer, Kilian, Groth, Stefan eds.: Die Konstituierung von Cultural Property: Forschungsperspektiven. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2010.
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2010): Ethnographische Filmarbeit und Copyright. Überlegungen zur Situation in Indonesien. In: Bendix, Regina, Bizer, Kilian, Groth, Stefan eds.: Die Konstituierung von Cultural Property: Forschungsperspektiven. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2010.
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2011): Filming Cultural Practices: Questions of Copyright and Ethics. In: Crawford, Peter and Beate Engelbrecht (eds.) Future Past: Cultural Heritage and Collaborative Ethnographic Film Work: Højbjerg: Intervention Press (in preparation)
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2011): Filming Intangible Cultural Heritage is not the Problem. Questions of Rights, Publication, and Archiving are Pressing. In: Actas del Congreso: Partimonio cultural immaterial – Desde el trabajo de campo hasta la restitución: recopilar, archivar y difundir. Bilbao: Txoke (in preparation)
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2011): Documenting Intangible Cultural Heritage with Film: Problems of Authorship, Ownership and Archiving.” In: Materials of the Seminar on Audiovisual Anthropology: The Cultural Heritage as “Institute of Memory”. Moscow
    (in preparation).
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2011): Collaborative Ethnographic Film Work – Recording Intangible Cultural Heritage.” In: Materials of the Seminar on Audiovisual Anthropology: The Cultural Heritage as “Institute of Memory”. Moscow (in preparation)
  • Crawford, Peter and Engelbrecht, Beate (eds.). Future Past: Cultural Heritage and Collaborative Ethnographic Film Work: Højbjerg. Intervention Press (in preparation)
  • Beate Engelbrecht (2011): Documentation of a House Ceremony for a Tongkonan in Buntao, Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia 2009. Institut für Visuelle Ethnographie Göttingen. Video, original sound, 500 min. (Indonesian and Toraja) (8 DVDs – source edition).
Public Presentations
  • Karin Klenke: “Heterogeneity and the Heritage Regime”, International Symposium of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Cultural Property, The Constitution of Cultural Property: Interim Conclusions, 15.-17.06.2011 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “ Cultural Practices, Copyright, and Ethics – Expierences from Co-operative Film Work in Tana Toraja, Sulawesi, Indonesia“, Symposium “Future Past – Cultural Heritage and Collaborative Ethnographic Film Work”, Göttingen, 17.5.2010.
  • Karin Klenke: “ Turning ‘outstanding universal value’ into Local Value – ‘Heritage’ as a Resource in Negotiating Socio-Political Relationships in Tana Toraja”, Second International Symposium on Cultural Property, Interdisciplinary Research Group on The Constituting of Cultural Property: Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules, 17.-20.08.2010 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “ Authority, Authorship and Copyright in a Transcultural Context / History of Intellectual Property Laws in Indonesia”, International Symposium on Cultural Property, Interdisciplinary Research Group on The Constituting of Cultural Property: Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules, 12.-15.11.2009 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “ Totenfeste, Tourismus und Television“, Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, Frankfurt a.M., 02.10.2009.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “ Authorship, Copyright and Film in a Transcultural Context – Experiences from an Ongoing Research Project”, Conference on „Transcultural Montage“, Aarhus (Denmark), 24.8.2009.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “Cultural Heritage and Visual Communication: First Reflections on Toraja Perspectives”, Opening lecture of the newly installed Communication Studies, Catholic University Atma Jaya (Jakarta, Indonesia), 18.8.2009.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “Visual Anthropology and Toraja Cultural Heritage – Some First Reflections on Possibilities and Perspectives”, International Conference on Toraja: Toraja Culture as Symbol of Indonesian Multiculturalism and Genius Loci, Rantepao (Sulawesi, Indonesia), 28.7.2009.
  • Beate Engelbrecht: “Neue Publikationsformen im digitalen Zeitalter“, Vortragsreihe: „New Perspectives in Visual and Media Anthropology“, Berlin (Universität, Institut für Ethnologie), 24.11.2008.
  • Karin Klenke: “Eine lebende megalithische Kultur von außergewöhnlichem universellen Wert: Die Nominierung von Toraja (Sulawesi, Indonesien) zu Weltkulturerbe zwischen lokaler und nationaler Ebene”, Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde, Wien, 14.-17.09.2001.