A “Bushman” and a Phonograph (ca. 1907-09)

This is from Rudolf Pöch’s films taken during an expedition to the Kalahari 1907-09. Details on RP (http://poech.fox.co.at/en/team/filmarchiv/bestaende.htm). … Ethnographic filmmaking: goal to preserve presumed dying practices/cultues/peoples, special uses of film to capture motion for ethnographers….

The man in the video is named Kubi, and he was a member of the [personal details and any further info on the production].

Common theme in depictions of colonial life is the encounter between colonial subjects and technological innovations, which was a way to refer to the presumed evolutionary gap between white Europeans and others around the world, especially Blacks. Such depictions often showed the non-white figures confused, astonished, or amused, but the gap could also be suggested, as in this case, simply by juxtaposing “primitive” dress and “modern” technology.

Incidentally, the clip  is noteworthy for being the oldest surviving film to be synchronized with simultaneous recording of the human voice.


Can we embed this somehow?

Also, can we get a transcript of what he’s actually saying, I wonder. More detial in Oksiloff, Picturing the Primitive 46. General context of ethnographic and colonial film in Germany in Wolfgang Fuhrmann.