October 17, 2008
“This portrait is not an Indian” is the phrase Gerald Vizenor attaches to the famous Andy Warhol screen print of Native American activist Russell Means. Making an intervention into the way in which Native Americans have been frozen into place through the anthropological gaze, and the lens of the photographic portrait, Vizenor riffs off of Foucaults reading of the Ren Magritte painting, “Ceci n’est pas un pipe” articulating the disjoint between signifier and signified, and the power that is intrinsic in the process of bringing something into language, naming a pipe or an Indian as such. Now, ceci n’est pas un film. Forever relevant it seems.