Passing Through the Plastic Shaman
September 24, 2010
posted by Caroline Picard
Here is article I wrote about shamanism. It’s actually about shamanism as it was depicted in an exhibit in an apartment gallery over the summer. In some way that show became a vehicle for me to think about whether or not it is possible for a Contemporary (Urban? Though I’m not sure that makes a difference…) American can appropriate/incorporate shamanic practice (though shamanic could stand in for any kind of ritualistic practice embedded in another culture) without sacrificing a degree of potency or, in this case, collapsing under ironic influences….I don’t know. I feel like it’s dangerous to draw a conclusion wherein one’s access to foreign cultural understanding is limited, but it seems just as dangerous to assume that one is capable of fully understanding a community (particularly it’s spiritual habit) by virtue of possessing/recreating its signifiers. The latter feels a little imperial. The former could lead to the celebration of biggots. Neither is ideal.
Regardless, you can read the essay by going here.