Following a lunch presentation at the Center for Experimental Ethnography, Va Bene Elikem Fiatsi performed an intimate and collaborative self-curated work, RItual reALITies at Slought, followed by a conversation with CEE Postdoc Alissa Jordan.
In "RItual reALITies," Fiatsi engaged in a part-performance and part-discussion that explored identities as rituals that are produced collaboratively if not always conscientiously between individuals and societies. Detangling the notions of ritual, free will, and collaboration at the core of anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ violence on the world stage, Fiatsi asks: what collaborative rituals are used to make certain identities "real" and others "unreal" at State borders? and "Can the idea of "Reality" itself be seen as part of political rituals and ritual identity claims?
Listen to the conversation by clicking the link below, and visit the Slought.Org archive of the performance and conversation here.
"Implosion" showcases the exceptional end-of-semester interdisciplinary and collaborative works by Penn graduate students in Kristina Lyons' (Penn Anthropology) seminar, "Critical Engagements with Science(s) and Justice(s)".
Their installations will be shown on December 4th from 6:30-8:30 pm in Classroom L1 of the Penn Museum. These interdisciplinary collaborative projects took inspiration from the conceptual work of Donna Haraway and Joe Dumit to implode on combat medic trenches, an ebola epidemic, a data center, Monsanto´s glyphosate, and Mirena IUD technology. Students built multimodal installations out of the exercise.
CEE Visiting Fellow Ernst Karel and collaborator Veronika Kusumaryati will present and discuss their work in the audio archives resulting from the so-called ‘Harvard Peabody Expedition to Netherlands New Guinea’ in 1961. This was a large-scale anthropological expedition organized by filmmaker Robert Gardner to what is currently West Papua with the intention, as he put it, to carry out “a comprehensive study of a single community of Neolithic warrior farmers.” Funded by the Dutch colonial government and private donations, and consisting of several of the wealthiest members of American society wielding 16mm film cameras, still photographic cameras, reel-to-reel tape recorders, and a microphone, the expedition settled for five months in the Baliem Valley, among the Hubula (also known as Dani) people. It resulted in Gardner's highly influential film Dead Birds, two books of photographs, Peter Matthiessen's book Under the Mountain Wall, and two ethnographic monographs. Michael Rockefeller, a fourth-generation member of the Rockefeller (Standard Oil) family, was tasked with taking pictures and recording sound in and around the Hubula world.
Veronika KUSUMARYATI is a political and media anthropologist working in Melanesia and Southeast Asia. Her scholarship engages with the theories and historiography of colonialism, decolonization, and postcoloniality. She is currently working on a book manuscript entitled “Ethnography of a Colonial Present: History, Experience, and Political Consciousness in West Papua,” an ethnography of everyday experiences of colonialism and the making of political consciousness in West Papua, a self-identifying term that refers to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia. She received my bachelor degree from the Jakarta Institute of Arts majoring in Film and Media Studies. She is a member of the Sensory Ethnography Lab and currently a Harvard College Fellow in Anthropology.
Ernst Karel works with sound, including experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance, electroacoustic music, and postproduction sound for nonfiction vilm [film/video]. His work focuses on the practice of location recording and composing with unprocessed location recordings; in performance he sometimes combines these with analog electronics to create pieces which move between the abstract and the documentary. His work has been presented at Sonic Acts, Amsterdam; Arsenal, Berlin; and the 2014 Whitney Biennial, among others. Sound installations with Helen Mirra have been exhibited at the Gardner Museum in Boston, MIT List Visual Arts Center, and in the 2012 Sao Paulo Bienal. Video with multichannel sound collaborations include Ah humanity! (2015, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) and Single Stream (2014, with Toby Lee and Pawel Wojtasik). He completed his PhD on the anthropology of sound in the Committee on Human Development, University of Chicago, in 2003. At the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, he collaborated on sound for vilms including The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan, and developed and taught a practice-based course in 'sonic ethnography.' Currently he is working through the archive of tape recordings from the so-called Harvard Peabody Expedition to Netherlands New Guinea, 1961, in collaboration with Veronika Kusumaryati.
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay will be a visiting artist in CEE Fellow Ernst Karel's Audio Ethnography class on TUESDAY NOV 26TH, 1:30-4:30, and he is opening the class to the public. Location TBD -
The presentation by Indian-born artist and scholar Budhaditya Chattopadhyay delineates the role of sonic ethnography in film and media arts, by introducing a few of Chattopadhyay’s sound works for listening and discussion, as well his forthcoming book The Auditory Setting (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) that investigates how narrative and a sense of place and space are constructed in film and media arts through the recording, reproduction and mediation of location-specific ‘ambience’ or ambient sounds. The term ‘auditory setting’ can be understood as a sonic backdrop or the acoustically mediated space where a story or event can take place. The presentation aims to assess sound’s undervalued role in the setting and its production.
On Nov 19th, CEE hosted a lunch conversation with Lisa Britton, from Penn's French and Francophone Studies. She spoke on an video/audio that records the story of Moussa SY, a French-Senegalese descendant who, on any given day of the year, will don the uniform of his great-great-grandfather and walk 30 km from his home in Soissons to the memorial sites along the Chemin des Dames. Moussa Sy is a modern griot of sorts, a wandering storyteller eager to engage with those he encounters along his path, promoting the Senegalese perspective on the Great War and strengthening the connections of American-French-and Senegalese people.
Dir. Warwick Thornton (2017) (Australia)
The Southern Cross is the most famous constellation in the southern hemisphere. Ever since colonisation it’s been claimed, appropriated and hotly-contested for ownership by a radical range of Australian groups. But for Aboriginal people the meaning of this heavenly body is deeply spiritual. And just about completely unknown. For a start, the Southern Cross isn’t even a cross - it’s a totem that’s deeply woven into the spiritual and practical lives of Aboriginal people.
One of Australia’s leading film-makers, Warwick Thornton, tackles this fiery subject head-on in this bold, poetic essay-film. We Don’t Need a Map asks questions about where the Southern Cross sits in the Australian psyche. Imbued with Warwick’s cavalier spirit, this is a fun and thought-provoking ride through Australia’s cultural and political landscape.
Screening held in Rainey Auditorium at the Penn Museum at 2PM on Nov 10 2019.
BLACK FEMINIST CENTERED FORUM ON DISRUPTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN PHILADELPHIA
There isn’t a more significant time to lift the courageous, intergenerational, diasporic Black voices in NO! The Rape Documentary, and love WITH accountability: Digging Up the Roots of Child Sexual Abuse anthology than now. Fall 2019 marks both the 25th anniversary of the first pre-production meeting for the internationally acclaimed documentary film, NO!, and the forthcoming publication of the love WITH accountability anthology. Each of these works are groundbreaking, prevention resources that unwaveringly center diasporic Black survivors of adult rape and child sexual abuse. To commemorate the convergence of these milestones, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, the award-winning director of the film, and the editor of the anthology, partnered with the University of Pennsylvania, the Just Beginnings Collaborative, Feminist and Gender Studies Program at Colorado College, Scribe Video Center, African American Museum in Philadelphia, Leeway Foundation, and other sponsors/partners to present, #FromNO2Love: Black Feminist Centered Forum on Disrupting Sexual Violence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 31, 2019 - November 1, 2019. This gathering lifted the long-term and new survivor-led work that addresses, disrupts, and works to humanely end child sexual abuse and adult rape in Black and marginalized communities.
At Slought in Philadelphia, Alex Fattal presented a preview of a current work in progress and then sat down with CEE Postdoctoral Fellow Alissa Jordan to discuss his experimentations in ethnographic filmmaking with ex-combatants in Columbia.
On October 17th 2019 we joined colleagues at Annenberg for a lunch and a book talk by Alex Fattal, author of Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Columbia. In his talk, Alex Fattal drew from demobilization marketing campaign videos and print advertisement to explore how the market has become a principal ground for counterinsurgency warfare and the imagination of post-conflict futures in Columbia.
Pop-up Exhibition Hosted by Penn Museum
Hostile Terrain 94 is a participatory political art project sponsored and organized by the Undocumented Migration Project based at UCLA. The project memorializes and bears witness to the thousands of migrants who have died as a result of Prevention Through Deterrence, the U.S. immigration policy between Mexico and the United States. The pop-up installation at Penn Museum—to be on display September 25th for one day only—will be created by hundreds of people throughout Penn and Philadelphia. Volunteers will meet at various locations to handwrite on toe tags the identifying details of the nearly 3200 people whose bodies have been recovered along the Southern Arizona border since 2000. The time commitment is 30 minutes.
The tags are then be placed on a wall map of the Arizona/Mexico border in the exact location where corresponding human remains were found, to be on exhibition in Penn Museum September 25–27, 2019.
The event is cosponsored by Penn’s Department of Anthropology, Center for Experimental Ethnography, Cinema and Media Studies Program, Latin American and Latino Studies Program, Penn Provost, Price Lab for Digital Humanities, and Sachs Program for Arts Innovation.
For those volunteering on MONDAY, September 23:
PENN MUSEUM 336
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