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This is a guided tour of an online exhibition: The 'Social Life' of rivers feeding the Aral Sea in Central Asia. Featuring work by local artists and anthropologist-curators, the tour opens a conversation around the 'response-ability' of ethnographic and artistic knowledge-making and communication.
This Lab is designed as a guided tour an online exhibition of the
'Social Life' fo the Naryn and Syr Darya rivers in Central Asia,
exploring questions around the 'response-ability' of ethnographic
knowledge-making and communication (Donna Haraway 2016). Feeding a partly flourishing, but largely disappearing Aral Sea, these contested rivers connect a wide variety of agricultural, industrial and
post-industrial communities along their 3000 kilometre trajectory. Among tense transnational questions of responsibility for water provision and pollution, an Uzbek, Kyrgyz and German ethnographic team developed a multilingual exhibition 'of Three River Stories' as an attempt at 'grass-roots diplomacy'. Mounted with riparian residents to highlight diverse river livelihoods and imagine the possibility of a river 'otherwise', this virtual space features interactive chat-spaces, events and art by young people and local artists. The ASA guided tour will be an opportunity to explore the conditions, possibilities and limits of art-based and virtual spaces of communicating between Central Asian river communities, river arts and sciences. Taking its cue from Haraway's notion of 'response-ability', we focus on three questions: how to relate ethnographic and biographic river-knowledge across river sites and languages? How to create a meanigful interaction with policy-makers and other actors that foster reponse-ability? And where are the limits of response-ability in these different directions and milieuxs? We invite participants to share their experience of this and other spaces
and explore further questions, e.g. in relation to environmental justice and meaningful research practices.