Bridging Binaries: Navigating Bicultural Space in Film Design
This article examines how a researcher (a filmmaker whose lineage is both Indigenous and European) navigates ‘betweenness’ that is sometimes disruptive to cultural conventions. As a gay man who identifies as bicultural, I orient myself with, within and across worlds. From this position my approaches are largely shaped by the Māori values of manaakitanga (caring for the needs of people), kaitiakitanga (protecting and caring for all creation) and whanaungatanga (creating and sustaining relationships). These are supplemented by values emanating from my position as a gay activist and the resulting concerns with social justice and facing down the erasure, marginalization or exoticization of LGBTQ+ identities. Although I am of mixed race ancestry, I see my bicultural positioning as a way of accessing a form of epistemological pluralism that embraces intellectual, physical, social and spiritual ways of knowing. Thus, when creating the feature film Punch (Ings, 2022), it was necessary to find a place to stand, in practice, as a bicultural story designer. This involved actualizing productive care inside how the film production was experienced, working in communion with the land as a living being, and navigating tensions of transgression by establishing facilities for cultural guidance and insight within the project.
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