Archival Emanations: A Video Remix in the Contrapuntal

The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)

Viola Lasmana

Graduate student, Department of English
University of Southern California

“Archival Emanations” enacts an alternative mode of knowledge production through remixed scholarship. With an emphasis on polyvocality, the video juxtaposes archival footages with readings from theoretical and poetic texts, as well as various soundscapes. Creating a contrapuntal representation of word, sound, image, and thought, “Archival Emanations” presents comparative approaches to disparate materials in provocative and surprising ways. Focusing on the history of colonial violence and contemporary state power in Indonesia, this video remix connects histories in a critical, creative, and affective way, making meaning that is mindfully aware of difference. Indonesia, an archipelago consisting of tens of thousands of islands, renders the importance of polyvocality even more poignant.

The theory, practice, and metaphor of remix function as a way of thinking and making that allows one to mobilize semiotic elements in innovative ways, and affords the ability to question, subvert, and complement established ways of seeing. My work has been influenced and guided by theoretical articulations of remix, particularly Virginia Kuhn’s idea of remix as “digital argument” existing in an “emergent discursive space,” as well as Edward Said’s notion of contrapuntal reading. In both formulations, remix works as resistant praxis that can re-engage master archives and add to public dialogue and debate. “Archival Emanations,” therefore, strives to tap into the radical points of entry that remix makes possible; it is at once experimental, tactical, transformative, and oriented towards ethical futures.



Associated Press Archive, “Indonesia: Trial of Women Arrested for Anti Government Protest.” AP Archive,

Ellis, Gay. “Happy Days Are Here Again.” Internet Archive,

Kuhn, Virginia. “The Rhetoric of Remix.” Transformative Works and Cultures 9, 2012,

Malinowski, Stephen. “Bach, Art of Fugue, Contrapunctus 3,

Monnikendam, Vincent. “Mother Dao, the Turtlelike,” 1995,

Nine Inch Nails, “38 Ghosts.” Internet Archive,

Putih Abu-abu. Directed by Nendra Primonik, Lessy Kumalawati, Christian Yanuar, and Muhammad Azka Ramadhan, 2006. DVD.

Rendra, W. S. “Sebatang Lisong,” 1977,

Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.

Stoler, Ann Laura. Imperial Debris. Durham: Duke University Press, 2013.

Vertov, Dziga. “Man with a Movie Camera,” 1929,

Whitman, Walt. “America.” Mp3 recording. The Walt Whitman Archive,

Whitman, Walt. “A Passage to India.” A reading by Tony Kushner,

Ytterhus, Arngrim. Pramoedya Ananta Toer, 2009,


The Cine-Files, issue 11 (fall 2016)