EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination
Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010
Location Rowan Room 221
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30
In the era of the "iconic turn" and globalization - how can anthropology conceptualize the audio-visual representation of global phenomena, the glocalized production of pictures and the consumption of global imaginaries? Above all, how do anthropologists use pictures as a method and discourse to account for transcultural and transnational processes?
This workshop seeks to fill a gap of focused discussion about these complex, intertwined topics at a theoretical as well as practical level. It invites researchers to present their work (in writing and/ or film, photos) in order to concretize the vast field of "picturing globalization" and its underlying analytical and methodological problems at the intersection of audio-visual representation, the negotiation between the local and global and the production/ distribution/ consumption of global media- and ideoscapes (Appadurai).
Discussant: Thomas Fillitz, Lisbet Holtedahl
This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.
Diversly globalized Rome: criticizing the global city theory through a visual representation of the cultural dimensions of globalization
In this paper I criticize the standard global city theory (GCT) as it's been developed by economists and urban planners since the 1980s. According to GCT Rome shouldn't be a globalized city by any standards, since it is not the headquarter of transnational corporations, nor is it a basing point for financial industries, nor the site for really new forms of capitalism. Indeed, it is a city which has revolved for long around religious tourism and services connected to political bureaucracy. Yet nobody could deny Rome is undergoing a radical socio-cultural change because of the threefold movement of people, goods and information around the Globe. Relating my oral presentation to a documentary I'm working on with the film-maker Federico Gnemmi, the aim of my paper is to demonstrate how growing socio-cultural difference within Rome can be successfully represented and analytically processed through the visual representation of ethnographic fieldwork.
Observational montage: filming the transnational subject
This paper will discuss some epistemological issues that have arisen during pre-production research that I have carrying out to produce an ethnographic documentary on transnationalism. The documentary's narrative will focus on the subjective continuities and discontinuities suggested through the different social practices that transnational subjects engage in. The paper will focus on the use of contrasting cinematic techniques as a means of capturing and rendering a transnational field.
The main protagonist of this documentary engages in meaningful relationships across different - and at times contradictory - historical, social, and national contexts. These different social practices suggest a juxtaposed consciousness that recalls the editing concept of montage. As such, montage can be explored as a possibility to address disparate elements that converge in the transnational subject. I will also consider the value of 'observational cinema', as it pertains to maintaining a time/space integrity as a means to capture the immediacy of the moment. This paper will explore the possibilities of an 'observational montage' as a resource in studying the habitus of a transnational social field.
Promise and unrest: an affective economy of global care work
This paper foregrounds the merits of longitudinal audiovisual ethnography as a source of reflexive knowledge and medium of analysis, in depicting the transnational contingencies of long-distance motherhood and the culturally specific, gendered expression of intimacy in the context of a Dublin-based Filipino woman separated from her two young children, labouring to provide food, healthcare and education for an extended family in Babatgnon, Philippines. Drawing on excerpts from my completed ethnographic film 'Promise and Unrest' (2010) conducted over a period of five years - a co-constructed text in which mother and daughter emphatically shape the direction of the film's narrative - this paper will instantiate how material and familial structures, together with emotional dynamics underpin the performance of global care work. It will highlight questions of love labour and the mobilization of female migrant subjecthood as a flexible, mobile, self-aware and future-oriented disposition, active across multiple affective, class, social and cultural domains.
Picturing intangible cultural heritage
The vision of an easily accesible "cultural memory of the world" is very near. But cultural memory does not automatically come into being. It is shaped by the (social, political, economical etc.) will of people and institutions. The UNESCO Intangible Heritage convention is an example for the attempt to influence cultural memory.
Archiving and digitizing Intangible Cultural Heritage is an intricate task because these cultural expressions do not exist as such. They need to be mediated to come into being. Naturally, Intangible Heritage is mediated by humans acting as mediums. It is with the aid of audiovisual means, however, that cultural expressions are enabled to transcend space and time and become part of global cultural memory.
I would like to present some thoughts about questions pertaining to picturing Intangible Heritage. I stress that there is a need to move away from the classical discourse on ethnographic film and its ever present idea of representing culture as a master narrative. Instead we need to take into account todays and tomorrrows internet technology as the most powerful tool for disseminating and archiving cultural expressions. Key ideas for desirable future actions are multivocality and multisitedness, empowerement and experiment, cooperation and co-production.
Cartography is not but ethnocartography: the globalization idea in cartography
Cartography is a discipline that it tries to describe the reality by means of a particular georeferentiation that it's transmitted through the peculiar cultural matters and products that it generates, to those that denominated maps, and that they show many times more than ourselves and of how we apprehend this reality that of the same reality.
If the maps are cultural conventions and social constructs of the reality, as well as other ideas they have had their cartographic expression in different particular times of the societies that produce them and where they are inserted, the ideological paradigm of the globalization is perfectly insert in the current ways of making cartography.
By means of a series of cartographic illustrations and their "picturing globalization" it will be shown as the cartography it is not but ethnocartography, or said otherwise, all scientific discipline it is not but ethnoscientific discipline.
Globalized fears: circulating imaginaries of violence on YouTube
In recent years the concept of "circulation" has been of special interest in the field anthropology (see e.g., Spitulnik 1997; Gaonkar 2002; Lee & LiPuma 2002). This paper aims at elaborating the idea of circulation in the context of visual media anthropology. The authors illuminate the workings of circulation by illustrating how violent media images travel on YouTube and how the video clips contribute to formation and reformation of globalized social imaginaries of violence (Butler 2003; Appadurai 2006). Special focus is given to the analysis of circulation of the school shooting videos on YouTube. By analysing the school shooting videos on the Columbine, Virginia Tech, Jokela and Kauhajoki massacres, the paper claims that the school shootings as visual media spectacles of violence, death and terror can be seen as paradigmatic examples of deadly events stimulating social imaginaries of violence through the cultural logic of circulation in the era of globalization.
Hindi films in Trinidad: imagining alternative female subject positions
Hindi films are widespread in Trinidad and used to be a primary identity marker of Indo-Trinidadians. With the emergence of the so called 'New Bollywood Film' the medium has opened up to new decoding practices. In general, these films aim at a global audience, consequently, other ethnic groups in Trinidad increasingly engage with these media products.
Especially young women project their desires and ideals onto the media text, developing certain practices of imagination. Thereby, value systems and gender roles represented in the films are reinterpreted in the local context. Emotional and sexual desires are often linked to socio-political and economic ones, which enable the female recipient to imagine alternative subject positions. Thus, 'imagination as social practice' (Appadurai) can also be seen as a practice of empowerment for women from diverse cultural backgrounds suffering under different forms of patriarchal repression. The paper is based on ethnographic data collected in Trinidad.
This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.