If you have followed Duckrabbit over the last couple of years you will no doubt know they produce an excellent blog and exceptional multi-media work. However, their recent work for MSF and Oxfam sits some what uncomfortably with the position they often seem to support. Advocates for the voice of those in the developing world to be at the forefront of audio-visual communications, these voices are conspicuously absent from their most recent work. In both the pieces for MSF and Oxfam we predominantly hear from white Westerners who can be described to differing degrees as outsiders. All others are passive receivers of their largesse. We hear very little from those actually from the countries where these problems exist, let alone those who suffer. The claim that the work Duckrabbit did for Oxfam is unique because it is unscripted seems to ignore whose voice is included and whose is absent.
Now, to be fair, both sets of ads are aimed at raising funds in the UK. They are aimed at a UK audience with a specific objective in mind – that they motivate people to give money. The question is – does this mean the voices of the rights holders should be absent? Or more to the point – in order to better understand the problems and balance the relationships between the developed and developing world should we not have voices from both sides represented? I feel uneasy writing this as I admire the folks at Duckrabbit and consider them a progressive force in this field. But feel the need to ask these questions given the work they have produced recently. I welcome their response and hope it contributes to the healthy debate they themselves have fostered so well through their blog.
UPDATE: You can read an initial response from Peter at Duckrabbit here.