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Trance Mediums and New MediaSpirit Possession in the Age of Technical Reproduction$
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Heike Behrend, Anja Dreschke, and Martin Zillinger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823253807

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823253807.001.0001

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Media and Manifestation: The Aesthetics and Politics of Plenitude in Central India

Media and Manifestation: The Aesthetics and Politics of Plenitude in Central India

(p.156) Media and Manifestation: The Aesthetics and Politics of Plenitude in Central India
Trance Mediums and New Media

Christopher Pinney

Fordham University Press

The political claims made by a Dalit (ex-Untouchable) medium in central India lie at the heart of this paper. They encompass the political potentiality of manifestation, and the liberating possibility of certain regimes of visible evidence. This superabundance of the divine – made manifest among subalterns – is contrasted with a different – and high caste – idiom of authority that privileges the indexicality of speech. The role of printed images, and film, in Dalit goddess possession forces us to move beyond the assumption that there are pre-existing subjects, with attendant politics who instrumentally use images. As with ‘prophetic’ practices of photography which are also discussed, we are confronted with fluid networks in which blurred and uncertain subjects explore pathways (through the nexus of ritual, media and technics) in which visual representations help define certain political identifications and those emergent identifications in turn help define visual potentialities as images.

Keywords:   Christopher Pinney, India, Dalit, Subaltern, Trance, Spirit possession, Media, Photography

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