Still from Kapaemahu (2020).

An evening of short films that explore care and repair in everyday life—materially, socially, ecologically—hosted by Dr. Joshua A. Bell, curator of globalization at the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History. Short selections include How to Steal a Canoe (2016), Jáaji Approx (2015), Kapaemahu (2020), and Mobile Goroka (2018).

Selected Shorts

How to Steal a Canoe
(dir. Amanda Strong, 2016, Canada, 4 minutes)
Jáaji Approx (dir. Sky Hopinka, 2015, USA, 8 minutes)
Kapaemahu (dir. Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, 2020, Hawaii, USA, 8 minutes)
Mobile Goroka (dir. Jackie Kauli, 2018, Papua New Guinea, 16 minutes)

(Total run time 36 mins)

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About the Host

Dr. Joshua A. Bell
is a cultural anthropologist and the curator of globalization at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH). Combining ethnographic fieldwork with research in museums and archives, Bell examines the shifting local and global network of relationships between persons, artifacts and the environment. He carries out research with communities in the Purari Delta of Papua New Guinea, Oceanic collections at NMNH, and cellular telephony. At NMNH he is the acting director of the National Anthropological Archives and directs the Summer Institute of Museum of Anthropology. He is currently finishing an exhibition entitled Cellphone: Unseen Connections, which explores the global and local material and social and linguistic dimensions of our communicative devices. Bell has edited several books and written articles on materiality, the politics of heritage, visual return, history of collecting, and cell phone repair.

More information on selected shorts

How To Steal A Canoe
Director – Amanda Strong
Year - 2016
Runtime - 4 min.
Category - Animated Short

How to Steal A Canoe
is the story of a young Nishnaabeg woman and an elder Nishnaabeg man rescuing a canoe from a museum and returning it to the lake it was meant to be in. On a deeper level, we witness the act of stealing back the precious parts of us that were always ours in the first place as Indigenous people. The film’s sound design conveys the story through both music and storytelling. The spoken lyrics are performed by Nishnaabeg poet Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. The original score was composed by Cree cellist Cris Derksen. [From the website]

Jáaji Approx.
Director - Sky Hopkina
Year - 2015
Runtime - 7:39 min
Category – Experimental Short

Logging and approximating a relationship between audio recordings of my father and videos gathered of the landscapes we have both separately traversed. The initial distance between the logger and the recordings, of recollections and of songs, new and traditional, narrows while the images become an expanding semblance of filial affect. Jáaji is a near translation for directly addressing a father in the Hočak language.

Director - Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu
Year - 2020
Runtime - 8 min.
Category - Animated Short

Four spiritual beings of dual masculine and feminine energy traveled from Tahiti to Waikiki many years ago, bringing with them healing arts that blessed the people of Hawai‘i. Eternally grateful for their healing abilities, the people of Waikiki erected a monument to honor these incredible beings. Told in the ʻŌlelo Ni‘ihau Hawaiian language, Kapaemahu breathes life into a beautiful story that has been hidden from history for far too long. [From Mother Tongue Film Festival]

Mobail Goroka
Director - Jackie Kauli
Year – 2018
Runtime - 16 min

“The documentary Mobail Goroka tells the story of Luke Natapol, Joseph Kaupa and Michael Agwa who all earn money by operating street stalls that provide mobile phone services. Highlighting their daily routines, the documentary shows how people respond to the logistical challenges and economic opportunities presented by new communications technologies.”

Creative Commons 2018 CC-BY-NC-ND
Documentary: 16 minutes
Director: Jackie Kauli
Research Assistant: Wendy Bai Magea
Camera: Dilen Doiki
Editors: Elias Doiki
Soundmix: Tfer Newsome
Producer: Verena Thomas
Executive Producers: Heather A. Horst & Robert J. Foster

Mobail Goroka
is a product of “The Moral Economy of Mobile Phones in the Pacific”, a research project funded by the Australian Research Council (DP140103773), made in collaboration with the Centre for Social and Creative Media at the University of Goroka.
Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)