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SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011

(P223)

Medi@tion(s) of affect: people, places, pixels

Location Block 1, Piso 1, Room 74
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 11:30

Convenors

Filipe Reis (CIES ISCTE-IUL) email
Scott Head (Federal University of Santa Catarina) email
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Short Abstract

This panel explores the paradoxical role of images, sounds and other media in the emplacement and displacement of affective communities: the creative processes by which the intensive nature of affective experience becomes invested in and divested from the extended world of people, places and things.

Long Abstract

This panel explores, theoretically and ethnographically, the paradoxical role of images, sounds and other media in the emplacement and displacement of affective communities. Through the empirical focus on such media, it seeks to shed light on broader processes by which the 'internal' nature of affective experience becomes both invested in and divested from the extended world of places, people and things.

Affect is understood here as the intensive yet open-ended aspect of a sensation, its potential to become something other than it is. At the same time, that affect may be situated or captured in the form of a given emotion, a specific emotional investment can equally take on the unbounded form and intensity of affect. We propose the notion of medi@tion to account for the complex and creative processes by which sounds and images become the object, expression or vehicle of affect, and thereby contribute towards the formation, dissemination and transformation of affective communities.

In tune with the theme, 'Creativity & Emotions', our emphasis lies in the material things (images and sounds) and the processes of medi@ation (via audiovisual media, radio, internet) through which affective connections with the world take on meaning and body, converting abstract spaces into inhabited places, charged with affect. If the affective resonances produced or expressed by such media may crystalize into shared and recognized ways of seeing and being-in the world, they can likewise contribute toward the invention of new modes of feeling out and embodying as-of-yet indefinite relations between people(s) and places.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Sunless cyborg: affective connections in Chris Marker's Sans Soleil

Author: Scott Head (Federal University of Santa Catarina)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper pursues connections between Chris Marker's experimental film turned 'classic', Sans Soleil, and contemporary theories of affect, focusing in particular on their mutual relevance to anthropological conceptions of ethnography (textual or filmic) as a form of trans-cultural mediation.

Long Abstract

This paper pursues connections between Chris Marker's experimental film turned 'classic', Sans Soleil, and contemporary theories of affect. It focuses, in particular, on their mutual relevance to anthropological conceptions of ethnography (textual or filmic) as a form of trans-cultural mediation.

Brian Massumi's recent theorization of affect in terms of potential connections, over against captured and contained 'emotions', and his interest in the philosophical implications of the new media, artistic and scientific experiments, offers an important conceptual ally. Rather than first theorize 'affect' and then treat the film Sans Soleil in terms of how it exemplifies that theory, however, I seek to trace out the conceptual claims that the film itself makes - explicitly, in words, no less than implicitly, in images, and their mutual articulation.

Sans Soleil continually draws attention to the unresolvable tension between the filmic text and the extra-filmic world, and the role of affect in at once evoking and mediating such tensions without resolving them into a finished form. As such, it is suggestive of the stakes entailed were the ethnographies anthropologists write to be refigured as experimental forms of trans-cultural mediation. Conversely contemporary anthropological conceptions of the role of ethnography in coming to terms with the complexities of transcultural connections,are suggestive of the stakes involved in treating Sans Soleil not just as an 'experimental film', but as an ethnography of anthropological import in its own right.

Places of the imagination: an ethnography of the TV detective tour

Author: Stijn Reijnders (Erasmus University Rotterdam)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper focuses on TV detective tours: guided tours of the locations and settings of popular TV detective programs. What explains the growing popularity of these tours? To explain this process, a new concept is introduced: lieux d’imagination.

Long Abstract

This article considers the phenomenon of the TV detective tour, guided tours of the locations and settings of popular TV detective programs. What explains the growing popularity of these tours? The article proposes that the locations in question serve as physical points of reference to an imagined world. By visiting these locations and focusing on them, tourists are able to construct and subsequently cross a symbolic boundary between an 'imagined' and a 'real' world. To explain this process, a new concept is introduced: lieux d'imagination. This concept is supported and developed on the basis of ethnographic analysis of three popular TV detective tours: the Inspector Morse Tour in Oxford, the Baantjer Tour in Amsterdam, and the Wallander Tour in Ystad, Sweden. In all, 31 interviews were conducted with tourist office employees, tour guides, local inhabitants, and tourists; these interviews were supplemented with participatory observation. Analysis of interview transcripts and observation records shows that lieux d'imagination result from a complex process of negotiation and appropriation.

The Druze Tito figure on YouTube

Authors: Mare Kõiva (Estonian Literary Museum)  email
Andres Kuperjanov (Estonian Literary Museum)  email
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Short Abstract

We are going to use YouTube clips about the life of the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, the development of Yugoslavia under his rule as well as snippets from annual secular pilgrimages and festivals held in Tito's home village Kumrovec. Some of the video clips parodise the political

discourse and "former comrades".

Long Abstract

According to Istvan Povedak (2009), historical heroes and contemporary celebrities are in close relation. Their formation was generated by similar circumstances but their cult and its peculiarities accommodate to the parameters of a given historical period. Which time period and heroes does the YouTube Titoana reflect?

We are going to use YouTube clips to analyse myths and antimyths of Tito in a popular visual media environment. YouTube is a specific political forum and a part of participatory culture (Burgess 2009, Jenkins 2008, Vonderau, Snickars 2008). Among others YouTube contains multivoiced video clips about the life of the former Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito, the development of Yugoslavia under his rule as well as snippets from annual secular pilgrimages and festivals held in Tito's home village Kumrovec. Additionally there are large corpuses of commentaries and messages of YouTube users, an additional part and verbalisation of visual narratives.

We are analyzing the YouTube Tito archives using the discourse of a star politician and former Yugoslavian history, viewed via the prism of the president's biography and visual narratives. Important keywords in video clips include partisan war, democracy, songs and music, youth, unified symbolics, but also the discourse of an enlightened leader with of simple origins (cf Belaj). Some of the video clips parodise the political discourse and "former comrades". Besides nostalgia, fixing history and political narratives, humour plays a major part.

Archive technologies, social networks and biographical narratives: ethnographic reflections on memory in the digital age

Author: Sara Mota (University of Coimbra)  email
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Short Abstract

Taking into account the current digital and technological landscape, this communication will address the new social and cultural practices of inscription and mediation of memory, analysing the uses and appropriations of digital media as platforms of production, sharing and consumption of memories.

Long Abstract

There is a growing prominence of individual memory in the public sphere. The traditional family albums and personal diaries are becoming galleries of images and narratives open to wider communities. Now, private memories are also mediated through new technological platforms, becoming important to analyse the social and cultural practices in which people make use of the possibilities offered by digital media to materialize their biographical narratives in new social platforms, creating hybrid spaces of memory.

This presentation will draw on an ongoing PhD project, still at a preliminary stage, a research project that positions itself within the embodied, experiential and situated practices of everyday life. Interlacing voices and narratives to understand the meanings attributed to the experiences that emerge from the externalization and consumption of memory in digital format, and what kind of relations are established between what occurs through online mediation and the contexts of everyday life, this communication intends to examine the ways in which media are changing the communicative practices concerning individual and private memories. In the process, it will analyze how the use of new technologies has blurred the boundaries that traditionally separated the private and public spheres of memory and the role of technologically mediated memories in the construction of experiences. Departing from an ethnographic approach, in order to understand the relation between the private domestic sphere and public sphere, and the role of "memory technologies" within it, it also seeks to understand how digital technologies are reconfiguring how we remember and how we forget.

Men, places and emotions that structure environments

Author: Luísa Remechido  email
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Short Abstract

How does a virtual environment become a unique place where people develop and are developed through relational and emotional bonds? What type of practices, motivations and tools are assembled by people in these processes?

Long Abstract

The emergence of new issues raised by technological progress, globalization and and the increasing complexity of societies, requires a new anthropological answer. As such, it is essencial to reassess study strategies and field work methods.

This abstract is based on my work on practices in internet use, research on security and privacy in online environments, proceeding onwards to a new stage where the shaping of places and their inhabitants/users will be analysed, and will also endeavour to answer the following questions:

How does a virtual environment become a unique place where people develop and are developed through relational and emotional bonds? What type of practices, motivations and tools are assembled by people in these processes? What differentiates the concept of an online community (or virtual community) from a social network?

To understand if there was a social logic in such an interaction, and due to the relational context and uncommon features of virtual life, I have considered starting from a comprehensive perspective due to changing cultural and social practices on an interactive stage where people act and react intentionally.

The proposal is to find an explanatory model for the phenomenon, in this context, and an explanatory survey of how this production linking men and places takes place.

Beyond the voice

Author: Elena Lacatus (Polytechnic University)  email
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Short Abstract

In a world aiming to reach the holistic understanding of the basic phenomena through multidisciplinary approaches Sound and Music are revealing their hidden emotional weight and shaping memories abilities through experimental lab research techniques of the 21st Century.

Long Abstract

The last decades allowed significant progresses on spectral and biometric studies of the Voice, so now it can be shown through analytical means the uniqueness of each individual's "voice signature". Beyond this property the preliminary spectral analysis performed on the registered voices revealed the existence of some certain features. For example, for a notorious singer (the main case study of this presentation -Amália Rodrigues) there are notable differences between the measured values of the characteristic parameters of the same song recorded in the studio or during live performances. The presence of an active audience (having an established dialogue through applauses /sings or shared language) or of a less reactive one leads to significant changes on singer's performing parameters, these changes being quantifiable through the registered lab researches on microstructural patterns.

Some of the available recordings were digitized, analyzed and quantified with dedicated voice analyze and modeling software, the preliminary data showing the evidence of an energy exchange between the artist and the public over the performances otherwise, the evidence of the shared emotion .

The intensity of this exchange can be determined through the rate of the frequency's increase on the audio signal of the same type of songs or more obvious through the increases on the frequency level between the first interpretation of a song in the show and its second performing during encores. The density of energy, as one of the possible metrics of shared emotion, is spectacularly shaping different patterns of the sound microstructural "fingerprints.

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This panel is closed to new paper proposals.