Heriot Watt University

EASA 2014

An installation matter that matters: stories embedded in things and places

Date and Start Time 31 July, 2014 at 16:00


Vitalija Stepusaityte (Heriot-Watt University)

Vaiva Aglinskas (CUNY Graduate Center)

Simona Gervickaite (Vilnius University)

Aislinn White (University of Ulster)

In this laboratory we shall present an installation for participants to explore narratives of things and places, and how anthropologists can get a sense of a person's reality through objects, which are either physically present or absent.

Representations (e.g. a photo of/without the thing or the place, drawing) of 8-12 objects or places are displayed on cubes/tables/wall and complemented by audio stories (2-4 min, mp3 with headphones) recorded by the people to whom they are meaningful. In responding to visual and audio-recorded material in the installation, lab participants will add to and adapt the installation with their own narratives. Participants can re/write 'object labels', acting as interpreters or re-tellers of the story, trying to "explore the lifeworld of someone" through the narrative presented and their own personal experience. The variety of responses to a single object/narrative would raise questions of to whom and about whom the materiality speaks, and whether it is possible to 'translate' senses of joy, memories, attachment, loss or belonging into words.

By exploring responses during the lab time(90min) the aim is to start a discussion of how we experience - individually and collectively - our reality through material or imaginative objects, how stories are retold and theorized depending on an anthropologist's personal experience.

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European Association of Social Anthropologists