Front Lines of Community. Hollywood Between War and Democracy
Kappelhoff, Hermann – 2018
This article explores the spaces and temporalities of belonging that emerge from fiesta videos produced, circulated and consumed between Oaxaca and California. Fiesta videos, which depict festivities in the Mexican hometown, are an innovative popular film genre that people from Ayuujk (Mixe) villages of the Oaxacan Sierra Norte have created for their own purposes of transnational community building in the course of their migration to the United States. I examined the spaces and temporalities of belonging that emerge from fiesta videos by conducting multi-sited ethnographic research in Tamazulapam Mixe, Mexico, and in Los Angeles, USA, between 2012 and 2016. Fieldwork basically consisted in accompanying actors during their daily life and media practises. The actor-centred approach shows how transnational affiliations which seek to overcome the restrictive border and US policies towards migration from Latin America are established in diversified and often indirect ways. Actors whose life courses entail complex compositions of lengths of stays, permanency and temporality as well as legal and illegalised statuses negotiate these belongings through affective media practises involving fiesta videos that have a political dimension. Ayuujk people resort to them to redefine citizenship, Ayuujk culture and the ethnic group in a transnational setting. In this context, they currently invest ‘productive nostalgia’ in imagining and modifying ‘home’ in view of the future.