Accepted Paper:

Fighting for Nothing to Happen (Nora Wildenauer, 2015, 48 min.)  


Nora Wildenauer

Paper short abstract:

"Fighting for Nothing to Happen" (dir. Nora Wildenauer, 2015, 48 min. subt: engl) accompanies a relocation project in eastern Indonesia. The film provides insights in the topics of development and religion, brokerage, political structures in decentralized Indonesia and the local culture of Flores.

Paper long abstract:

After the volcanic eruption of Mount Rokatenda, the people of the island Pulau Palue in east Indonesia shall be relocated. But are the planned relocation and the 'new' life at Pulau Besar really promising? The ethnographic documentary "Fighting for Nothing to Happen", main part of Wildenauer's multi-media thesis in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University, investigates how development brokers of a Christian NGO translate interests between different actors, entities and scales, and how these translations influence the brokers' positioning towards the government. Since development brokers are operating on the boundary between the grand discourses of governments or international agencies and the realities of life on the ground, focusing on their central role can provide some major insights into development. By following the main character of the film, a Catholic priest and employee of a Christian NGO, the ethnographic documentary shows that ambivalence between the discourse of good governance and social 'reality' produces political actors who cannot claim fixed positions but constantly negotiate the politics of development by creating networks out of heterogeneous actors. Through this actor-centered and non-normative approach that uses audio-visual methods to focus on relocation practices and performative acts of translation, the film enables the viewer to connect with and understand the agendas of various important actors within the discursive arena of 'relokasi' without constructing and reinforcing homogeneous discursive categories. After the screening, questions regarding methodology, positionality, content and representation of research findings will be answered in a discussion with the director.

Panel Film01
Visualizing futures: audio-visual practices for a contemporary anthropology