OCA Notations: `Ethnography of the Self: The Status of Everyday Life’

Published 2014/11/20

Still from Chronique d'un été (1960, directed by Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin)


‘Ethnography of the Self: The Status of Everyday Life’
A conversation between artists Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas, and anthropologists Caterina Pasqualino and Arnd Schneider

With a book launch of Experimental Film and Anthropology, a book by Arnd Schneider (co-edited with Caterina Pasqualino)

Within the programme ‘Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings’

Wednesday, 26 November 2014 / 19:00
Live audio streaming

Office for Contemporary Art Norway
Nedre gate 7, 0551 Oslo I

OCA welcomes artists Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas, and anthropologists Caterina Pasqualino and Arnd Schneider for a discussion titled ‘Ethnography of the Self: The Status of Everyday Life’.

Schneider, Pasqualino, Anastas and Gabri will engage in a conversation to analyse radical anthropological approaches and modes of observation that have built scenarios of spontaneity, scripting and speculation. Touching upon several moments in history, with particular emphasis on practices set forth by visual anthropologist Jean Rouch which have become influential on means deemed appropriate to visually analyse our everyday life and our very existence, Pasqualino, Schneider, Gabri, and Anastas will shed light on how anthropology has influenced artistic practices and how artists continue to influence the anthropological approach.

The event is part of the programme ‘Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings’, a project that evolves through three individual, yet interconnected stagings involving lecture performances, talks, unfinished moments and exhibition fragments, all of which contribute to speculations around the choleric moment we are experiencing globally. Click here to read more.

About Experimental Film and Anthropology
Experimental Film and Anthropology (edited by Arnd Schneider and Caterina Pasqualino) urges a new dialogue between two seemingly separate fields. The book explores the practical and theoretical challenges arising from experimental film for anthropology, and vice versa, through a number of contact zones: trance, emotions and the senses, materiality and time, non-narrative content and montage. Experimental film and cinema are understood in this book as broad, inclusive categories covering many technical formats and historical traditions, to investigate the potential for new common practices. An international range of renowned anthropologists, film scholars and experimental film-makers, including Nicole Brenez, Kathryn Ramey, and Rane Willerslev engage in vibrant discussion and offer important insights for all students and scholars involved in this exciting field of new cross-over practices.

About the speakers
Arnd Schneider

Arnd Schneider is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oslo. He writes on contemporary art and anthropology, migration and film. His main publications include Futures Lost (2000), and Appropriation as Practice: Art and Identity in Argentina (2006). He co-edited (with Chris Wright) Contemporary Art and Anthropology (2006), Between Art and Anthropology (2010), and Anthropology and Art Practice (2013). He was a co-organiser of the international conferences Fieldworks: Dialogues between Art and Anthropology (Tate Modern, 2003) and New Visions: Experimental Film, Art and Anthropology (Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, 2012).

Caterina Pasqualino
Anthropologist and documentary film-maker (Research Fellow at C.N.R.S. (IIAC/LAIOS Paris. Bronze medal, 2000) Caterina Pasqualino teaches Anthropology of Performance at E.H.E.S.S. She first conducted research in Sicily (Milena. Un paese siciliano vent’anni dopo, 1990), then on andalusian flamenco, a musical genre usually perceived in folkloric terms, from a purely anthropological perspective (Dire le Chant. Les Gitans flamencos d’Andalousie, 1998 republished as pocket edition: Flamenco gitan, 2008 and film Bastian and Lorie, Notes on gypsy’s flamenco, 2009). She is currently researching palo monte possession rituals in Cuba. Along with her intention to develop new issues, she has turned toward contemporary art and experimental cinema and she initiated confrontations between ethnographic material and artworks.

Rene Gabri
It is 18:42, 26 October 2014, the one who writes this note is laying down on a couch inside an apartment on the island of Giudecca. Earlier in the day, this same person sat in a sun spotted garden occupied by students who refuse its privatisation by their university. She sat with him and he with them, they sat together discussing the ever increasing imposition of debt and structural adjustments of different sorts to preempt and determine the forms life can take. The request to try to summarise oneself or give an account of oneself seems strange, no matter the frequency and apparent normality. One writes, one erases, a movement backward forward. This person who emerges in the midst of this writing is at this moment hesitant to say anything which could add up to a sum. A fragment of a day could suffice? Writing about oneself is not a neutral act. One writes with a hope to disappear in the process. So maybe this is a biography about a dis-appearance, a biography for an artist who is perpetually trying to dis-appear, to become something, one or an other, two, three, or four. How to give an account of proliferation, propagation, dissemination? It could resemble notes regarding a poem to come, where the poem becomes multiple. A life which only writes itself in the steps it takes away from power and from commandments, toward difference. It is 19:12, on that same day, ‎minutes have passed by. Numbers or experience? But something has changed, the person who started writing this note and the one who writes now is not the same. How does one know? How can one be sure? Can it be proven? No. But this text can be understood as a testament and testimony to this event, in a life, which can be called by a name, but not delimited or circumscribed by it.

Ayreen Anastas
Ayreen Anastas is her name and yet she is not the same. She is an image dissolving itself in a landscape of thyme, of earth, of dirt, of olive trees, of stones and cement walls crawling, enclosing, menacing, dispossessing and smashing life everywhere they go. She refuses the language of mere descriptions, the idea of one’s own distinctions and all discourses of biographies and definitions. She desires, thus postulates and hallucinates: A. the suspension of laws, orders, state police, all elites, elitism including egalitarianism. B. the inclusion and appreciation in her life- their lives of: the invisible, inaudible, unsayable, imperceptible, immaterial, intangible and the general. C. the putting into question the will in all its forms and especially the confusion arising from the translations of the will to power as power over and not power to, and finally D. the weariness of work as life, of work over life and all regimes of property over lives, times and spaces.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 / 19:00
Pirates, Exiles, Runaway Youths, Merchants and Other Migrants in Ancient Italy and Plautus: The Comedy and Reality of A Borderless World
A Lecture by Elena Isayev

January­–February 2015
A Project by Rene Gabri and Ayreen Anastas

March­–May 2015
A Project by Ruanne Abou-Rahme and Basel Abbas

For more information about the programme, please contact OCA’s Communication Manager Tara Ishizuka Hassel.

'Of Love, Departures and Countering Defeats in Choleric Times. Three Stagings' is the opening project of OCA's ‘Notations’. During the next years OCA’s Notations will unfold as a series of programmatic activities – performing, writing, thinking, fragmenting, exhibiting, moving, eating and socialising – that will explore the desire for the institution to reflect upon the potential for artistic practice as an alchemical sphere of public action. The spirit of OCA's Notations is embodied by the interrelated and circular relations designed by Hans Gremmen – OCA’s long term graphic designer. The Notations replace the institution’s previous Semesterplan.

OCA’s Notations will be activated by participating artists, curators, writers, critics and intellectuals of diverse disciplines and take place within OCA’s public space in Oslo. Their explorations will find synergies with OCA’s interrelated national and international activities, as well as its publication series Verksted. Seeking to catalyse new thinking, OCA's Notations will reflect upon the current state of affairs within the arts globally, by shifting the accent from the dynamics of exchange and production to those of social reproduction.