I was very happy to receive a reply from Illcommonz, in response to questions I sent regarding the meaning of “Anthropologix,” what the words were next to the MTV logo on the screen (I was not sure if I had read them clearly), and to ask questions about the makers of the film. The response I received added some important clarification, but was also very encouraging where “open anthropology” is concerned.
Illcommonz explained that the meaning of the term “anthropologix” is “NOT Anthropology,” as in not the academic discipline (genre was the word used). The MTV logo was inserted by the video creators, not because it was shown on MTV, as I thought (I fell for it), but as a sign of contemporaneity.
Illcommonz explained that he lectures at a university, and is an artist-activist-anthropologist who teaches anarchist anthropology. He explained that the title of his course, “bunka jinrui gaku kaiho kouza”, means lectures in open anthropology.
I wanted to add one short note, to the extent that there are any similarities or overlaps. This is not the first time that I have been inspired by the beautiful renegade work of independent, anarchist, artist-researchers. One of those that I have known for several years — and I am not sure who I have known since they preserve their individual anonymity and shift their locus of production and communication from Brazil to Jamaica to the Pacific — is a collective called The Fire This Time. I was struck by this group on two accounts at first: “the fire next time” is a line from the 3-Canal song “Talk Yuh Talk” featured on this blog; second, the revolutionary reinterpretation of the figure of the Black Indian in TFTT is echoed in the Black Indian in Trinidad’s Carnival, and 3-Canal also adopted the Black Indian theme in the late 1990s. With respect to TFTT, readers can visit my neighbouring blog.
Slowly but surely, with the aid of Roi Kwabena, Illcommonz, and The Fire This Time, I am inching my way towards painting some image of what an open anthropology can be. In the meantime, let me end with a segment of a poem by Federico García Lorca, which explains at least one of the directions in the relationship between anthropology and public in open anthropology:
The poem, the song, the picture is only water drawn from the well of the people, and it should be given back them in a cup of beauty so that they may drink — and in drinking — understand themselves.