Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Poker and Indigeneity

Here are a couple of clips you might have seen in the last while advertising Party Poker:

and this one…

how are the representations of these individuals given credibility? Indigenous people plus technology is what is able to produce the comic tension needed to make these commercials ‘work’.

then this…


So if as Beth A. Conklin suggests in “Body Paint, Feathers, and VCRs: Aesthetics and Authenticity in Amazonian Activism” that indigeneity is subject to the forces of external representations of authenticity then the image of the native is essentially reflected back to the observer as their own construction. Indigeneity then is strategic for the performer (the indian) to gain access to the benefits afforded by the exercise of power which is once again (seems like a broken record already) held in Western ideological structures. To suggest then that a naked body painted native is somehow more authentic than one that is dressed in western clothes is actually only a judgement on our western idea not on the natives themselves. That it should seem funny to us that an indigenous person could use technology successfully enough to vanquish the most lucrative indulgences (poker) of our western capitalist frame should really give us pause. What we are actually suggesting is that the very (visual) types that we expect natives to demonstrate to prove their authenticity is exactly what allows them to remain disengaged from advantages of our own cultural paradigms.

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