ISSN: 14742756
First published in 2002
2 issues per volume
Volume 11 Issue 2-3
Cover Date: September 2013
From the roof top into the mine
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Authors:  Ayisha Abraham 
DOI: 10.1386/ncin.11.2-3.169_1

found-footage,home movies,digital experimental films,Ram Gopal,gold mining,Kolar Gold Fields,traditional Indian dance,gay performer

This article focuses on two of my films: Through the Dark Mine (Abraham, Film Tales, Bangalore, 2013) about the Kolar Gold Field Mines (1864–2001), and I Saw a God Dance (Abraham, Film Tales, Bangalore, 2012) – a short documentary film about the charismatic dancer Ram Gopal (1912–2003). The title of the article, ‘From the roof top into the mine’, reflects my attempt to juxtapose these two ostensibly different films, crafted out of found-footage, in order to see how they work side by side, metaphorically and historically. Both films illustrate mid twentieth-century modes of living and inform on the century’s modern and industrial practices such as film, dance and industrial gold mining. Working with and writing about the found footage used in making these two films represents in my opinion a form of archaeology of marginal practices in film. My composite films share a particular geographical area, and I have edited them as to create a visual path to experiencing the interiors of a gold mine and the intricate intimacy of the dancing form proposed by an exceptionally talented and beautiful gay performer. In writing this article, which is structured as a free-style essay, I developed new perspectives on my initial interpretations of the original visual material, and also on the formal concerns surrounding the structure and aesthetics of experiential and experimental film.
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