Patronage, Commodification, and the Dissemination of Performance Art: The Shared Benefits of Web Archiving

Now that the Internet functions as a broadcasting forum, the “commodification” and marketing of indigenous performance art often takes place with no financial benefit to the performers. Therefore, scholars should work to ensure that traditional artists benefit from studies in “documentation” for the perpetuation of their livelihoods and cultural legacy. To help traditional arts survive, scholars need to create income-generating platforms in agreement with performance artists and transform archives into active fora for publicity and digital sales. This essay thus addresses the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of documenting oral performance on film, specifically with reference to performances of the epic of Pabuji in Rajasthan, India.