Sight Unseen: A Travelogue

Jonathan Robinson
(1991) A personal documentary essay that makes use of the nineteenth-century travelogue form, but that is less about "exotic" India than the tourists' perceptions and his abilities to perceive. It traces the displacement of an American tourists' sense of belonging, referring ironically to the ambiguous persistence of the colonial imagination when touring the "exotic." The point of view shifts between three main voices. The words are taken from diverse sources, such as, Paul Bowles, Walter Benjamin, and the author, and are woven into an evocative maze of sounds and musics that include soundtracks from Indian movies, performances by Ravi Shankar and Wayne Horvitz, and the sounds of streets and villages in India, Nepal, and Tibet.