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DOC NOW documentary media festival 2012
MFA Thesis for Ryerson University
Mixed-media installation including video screens, video projection, sketches, Kelabit cultural artifacts arranged in a reconstructed tetel (a hearth)

[Suite 208], 80 Spadina, Toronto, Canada
May 30 - June 23, 2012
Website (Ongoing Work)
Info

Tetel, in the language of the indigenous Kelabit tribe of the interior highlands of Northeastern Sarawak, Borneo, means cooking hearth or fireplace. In Kelabit culture, the tetel was a place for mediation, negotiation, matchmaking and communal gatherings. Today, Kelabit language and culture are gradually disappearing as young Kelabits leave for urban centres to further their education. With this project Marcus Raja, herself a curious and eager member of the Kelabit tribe, aims to highlight the declining relevance of the tetel to the Kelabit community and to explore some of the causes and effects of the loss of its traditional function. For Marcus Raja, the tetel has acted as a bridge to transfer knowledge about family structure, traditional culture, and social relationships. Its loss represents the loss of Kelabit language and culture in the race for progress, it represents changing realities.

Her installation examines Kelabit concepts of individual, communal, and cultural identity as Kelabit voices, around the tetel, tell stories of continuity and change across the last few decades. As the Kelabit embrace development, the rapid disappearance of the tetel has affected Kelabit oral history and language, changing the social context and experience of communal gatherings. By reconstructing and humanizing the tetel in this installation, Marcus Raja explores the topic of cultural deterioration. Through it, she aims for a personal representation of a society in transition, and for a narrative balance between the forgotten past and the uncertainty of the future of her own identity.

"the importance of documentation - when it comes to archiving often hidden history".

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Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel
Stories Around The Tetel


Video Projection: http://www.storiesaroundthetetel.com



Video Monitor 1:


Video Monitor 2: