For our first Third Thursday of Spring Semester 2021, CEE opened with Deborah Thomas offering comments on Jenny Chio's work as a filmmaker, a writer, and also as a fieldworker, followed by an introduction to the work and background of Reggie Wilson, who is a choreographer, researcher, and artist
Jenny offered preliminary comments on her experience of returning to teaching and the change in priorities since COVID-19 and quarantine, as well has how impressed she has been with the resilience she has seen in LA and around the world.
Reggie spoke about identifying as a "lay anthropologist" in his artistic practice, drawing from his experiences reading Zora Neale Hurston. While reading Hurston as a student, Reggie began asking questions about what it means for him to examine cultures and communities that he is a part of. He reflected on his virtual travel back and forth between home sites, like Milwaukee, and the place of his work in New York, given the exigencies of COVID, and how the places you are, and who you are and what you are shape what your questions are and what your questions have been
Deb, asking after the way Jenny works, followed with a provocation about the relationship between people and place and what holds that relationship together. Jenny responded with the obligation to locality, and not the same as the obligation to countries. As well as the different ways she herself is coming to terms with both critique of nation and the support experienced within nations, contributing to who she is as ascholar. She spoke of the need for space to define such relationships ina way that is both critical and empathetic, critical and supportive.
Reggie spoke both of people and place as concepts that are both "infinite," the difference groups we expand into. It plays out in who you are and what you are trained to do, that influence of locality, of place, is not small in who we are. If people is the body, or the bodies, then place, or choreographic space, is the "where the body does its things". Also, Reggie offered reflections on place not just as a physical site outside the body, but place as site---place can be within one's head, or a specific spot on a wrist.
Jenny continued with reflections on portraiture and people and place, specifically, in portraiture asking what is the place that gets created in the contact between person and place. Furthermore, how people and objects come to make a place within the realm of portraiture.
In the question and answer session, Ore asked after process and positionality starting with Reggie who spoke of going first to begin research, the ways it moves between non-linear explorations and the pressure to make it linear for the sake of grant writing. But once established, there is a a research period, followed by being in the space, feeling it out, then sometimes the need to bring the company in, or part of the company, so that several people can begin moving in a space, then external forces and pressures to define it, to find definitions for the sake of presenting and funding.
Jenny Chio reflected on being introduced to a particular site for her PhD, and how things have unraveled between one village she worked in, the loss of touch with the field, and the way that a difference developed in relationship between towns and between times. She is thinking critically about preserving and nurturing relationships, and the work that it takes. And the difference in time in the research relationship, both over time, and in the way the length of time spent in research changes so dramatically.
Jenny also went on to speak of portraiture as context, the roll of setting, the relationship between the sitter and the photographer, and also the sitter and all the objects, the sites involved.
Jasmine Blanks-Jones posed a question about personhood to the speakers, asking for comments about how and where personhood is located. doesn't just reside in a body but between bodies, between individual bodies.
Reggie than offered reflections on site and place---the example of dance exploring site, diving into it. The need to understand different definitions of site.
Va Bene Elikem Fiatsi, posed a question about place in the context of the term "Africans in the Americas", and the mutations and relationships that the term implies. Reggie responded by turning attention tot the importance of local specifities and places in the lives of artists and people, and the critical process of "local" sites in shaping who people are.
“It’s after the end of the world, don’t you know that yet?”
– Sun Ra
How do you archive something that hasn’t happened yet? What would an archive of the end of the world look like?
On December 3rd at 5 PM EST, Center for Experimental Ethnography fellow Christina Knight and choreographer Jessi Knight of knightworks dance theater will discuss their forthcoming short film, “doomsday: field notes,” a fictional work documenting a mysterious set of ritual practices discovered by an anthropologist from the future. In the film, fragments of dance, glimpses of community building, and invocations of black feminist writing reveal a “doomsday church” invested in charting a black future. For this conversation, knightworks will share their creative and collaborative process, screen clips of the work-in-progress, and discuss their investments in the black speculative.
Christina Knight is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at Haverford College. Knight's work examines the connection between embodied practices and identity, the relationship between race and the visual field, and the queer imaginary. She is currently completing a book manuscript that focuses on represents of the Middle Passage in contemporary American visual art and performance. Knight is also at work on a new project that examines the influences of drag culture on contemporary black art. Jessi Knight is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Pittsboro, N.C. After graduating from Duke University with a self-designed dance degree with an emphasis in music and education, Jessi embarked on a teaching and choreographing career that has afforded her the opportunity to teach, choreograph and perform both locally and nationally. She spent four years in Denver, Colorado as a member of the internationally acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble and currently resides in North Carolina where she continues to choreograph and perform on a project by project basis for her company knightworks dance theater.
Join us for the Fall 2020 Fellows Event by Steven Feld (CEE Fellow, Fall 2020). Hearing Heat listens to histories of listening to cicadas in Papua New Guinea, Japan, and Greece. Through a swelling intensification of intermedial recontextualizations, cicadas are amplified as a companion species thermosonic technology that bears ongoing witness to “the climate of history” in anthropocene atrocities ranging from rainforest destruction to nuclear escalation to precarious heat waves.
This intermedial performance piece is designed for installation of 6-8 rooms with variously positioned speakers and screens presenting an experimental interplay of voice(s), acoustic biospheres, poesis, musical composition, film and television soundtracks, graphic design and notation, sonographic spectra, sculpture and physical objects. The physical installation version of the piece will be recrafted for CEE online experience as a fifty-minute film in the form of an “exhibit walk-through tour,” with discussion to follow.
For our November Third Thursday event, "Memorializing Otherwise" on November 19th at Noon, we joined Ken Lum, Deborah Anzinger, and Gabrielle Goliath in discussion about monumentalization and questions around intimacy and embodiment.
Is it possible to publicly narrate the past, and document the present, in ways that move beyond permanence and monumentalization? What would it mean to think in terms of materiality not in relation to landscape but instead in terms of embodiment?
Participants Ken Lum, Deborah Anzinger, and Gabrielle Goliath addressed these questions and others in conversation with participants. Gabrielle Goliath drew from her work "Elegy 7" which can be viewed here.
As always, Third Thursdays are free and open to the public
Feminist Filmmaking and the Representation of Muslim Women
Photo by Nida Mahoob
In this virtual masterclass on Saturday, October 17 at 11:00 am EST Ethnocine-Haverford Artists-in-Residence Seemab Gul and Nida Mehboob exploref the important role of feminism in Muslim countries, the often exploitative representation of South Asian/Afghan women in western media, and the ethics of collaboration and participation for documentary filmmakers, photographers and visual anthropologists.
The artists residency is a collaboration between VCAM and Ethnocine Collective, a group of visual anthropologists and filmmakers who push the boundaries of documentary storytelling through decolonial and intersectional feminist practice. The residency aims to strengthen the burgeoning field of feminist ethnographic filmmaking by supporting two underrepresented artists to claim the time, space, and a critically engaged community to move the needle forward on works-in-progress.
Organized by Ethnocine Collective & Haverford's VCAM, Co-sponsored by the Center for Experimental Ethnography and the Brown Girls Doc Mafia.
Free and open to the public
Teaching Embodied and Creative Practices at a Distance
On October 15th, scholars, students, and members of the public joined together for our second Third Thursday gathering of the semester. We were privileged to discuss the course adjustments made in light of the pandemic, and lessons that CEE-Affiliated Faculty, John J. Jackson, Sharon Hayes, Jasmine Johnson, and Amitanshu Das have learned from them. Guiding questions included:
What challenges have emerged in teaching performance and media-based courses remotely during the pandemic?
In this conversation, Sharon Hayes highlighted the ways she has been "prioritizing presence" throughout the course of the virtual semester, and Jasmine Johnson echoed this sentiment as she continues to navigate the "deep intimacy between constraint and possibility" that the pandemic has presented. The panelists emphasized how the pandemic has inspired them to find new ways to inject energy into what they do as instructors. We look forward to continued conversations about prioritizing "liveness" and promoting collaboration in remote multimodal explorations.
On Sep. 17th, scholars, students, and members of the public joined together for the first virtual monthly lunch gathering of the semester. We introduced our Spring 2020 fellows, Christina Knight and Steven Feld, and they discussed their academic, creative, and ethnographic endeavors. Dr. Feld described how his undergraduate work in sound, text, and film work led him to pursue avenues for legitimizing interdisciplinary and multimodal work in the academy, while Dr. Knight her academic, creative, and teaching efforts at the intersection of art and identity.
Virtual Screening of a music video from Guy Ramsey's "A Spiritual VIbe Vol. 1" album
Musiqology featuring Renaldo Maurice, dancer and Vince Anthony, vocals
FROM "A SPIRITUAL VIBE VOL 1"
Thanks to the generosity of Scribe Video Center and the Precious Places Community History Project, we are excited to bring you new short films by Philly community members each week from April 20 through June 1! Each film will be available for one week only so make sure to catch it before its gone! Find the schedule below.
These films are from Scribe Video Center's Precious Places Community History Project in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Precious Places is a community oral history project inviting members of the Philadelphia region's many neighborhoods to document the buildings, public spaces, parks, landmarks and other sites that hold the memories of our communities and define where we live. Precious Places teaches the video production process to participating groups, fostering projects authored by those who intimately know the featured neighborhoods.
Conceived as a way to allow neighborhood groups to celebrate their unique histories and as a tool to address current-day concerns, the Precious Places video documentaries explore the rich stories of our communities, the memories, and stories held in public spaces and community landmarks. They record community histories and help define where we live at a time when so many of the city's memories are undergoing so much change (Precious Places description from Scribe.Org 2020).
The Precious Places Community History Project is funded by The Independence Public Media Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation, Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, and The Alston Beech Foundation.
SCHEDULE OF SUMMER 2020 SCREENINGS
"People may move, but they don't leave Norris."
Join us this week in watching We One, the Love and Life of Norris Homes by members of the Norris Homes community. It documents the history of a North Philadelphia public housing community affected by federal policy and is told from the perspective of former residents who lived at Norris going back to its earliest days in the 1950’s. The film will be available for the next seven days, until Monday the 27th of April.
PENN MUSEUM 336
© 2018 The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania