The young natives jump into the void, held by nothing but liana vines tied around their feet. This festive and spectacular event (presumed to be a rite of passage into adulthood) inspired the sport of bungee jumping, which originated in New Zealand. The staging of ritual reveals the movement of ideas and the mimesis inherent in any culture; the artist’s manipulation of the film attempts, in turn, to highlight the deconstruction of the original tradition and its reconstruction in the contemporary staging.
The ritual itself and the way it is staged are typical of the Cargo Cults of Melanesia and their religious rituals that mimic a fantasy Western culture.
It is about the mechanic of mimicry where that which is copied is not a proper cultural form, but the outsider’s conception of it - on this occasion, the reversal in which Western culture has imitated an Eastern tradition that has since been modified to agree with the Western perception of it.
Coupé/Décalé (2011) by Camille Henrot