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Accepted Paper:

The ‚Hunnic Eye': Learning to See in Popular Reenactment.  
Anja Dreschke (University of Siegen)

Paper short abstract:

In my paper I employ the concept of 'skilled visions' to explore how the notion of an 'aesthetic of authenticity' as a mediatized way of perception is embodied in historic reenactment.

Paper long abstract:

During the last decade mimetic practices of imagining, embodying and situating (past) events evolved into a form of vernacular culture symptomatic of an increasingly mediatized world. To explore popular reenactments as modes of knowledge production I draw on the example of the 'Cologne Tribes', a community of amateurs whose members reenact the historic life worlds of the Huns and Mongolians as a leisure activity. In their performances they creatively appropriate globally circulating audiovisual media representations, which are transformed into diverse forms of bodily and material self-staging. From a media anthropological perspective this process of remediation can be considered as a complex exchange of signs, persons and things (Schüttpelz 2006) in which visual, sonic and textual inscriptions are translated into bodily actions and material artifacts as media to experience alterity.

Though most 'outsiders' consider the knowledge bricolage performed in hobbyists reenactments as false, fake or fantasy, the construction of 'authenticity' is a matter of continuous negations among the 'insiders'. To address the 'insiders' ability to discern what is 'authentic', the Cologne Tribes developed the local notion of the 'Hunnic Eye' ('Hunnischer Blick') which is a certain skill obtained in a longstanding process of training and refinement structured by different levels of apprenticeship and expertise. In my paper I employ the concept of 'skilled visions' (Grasseni 2012) to explore practices attributed to the 'Hunnic Eye' as mediatized ways of perception and multisensory approaches to an 'aesthetic of authenticity' that is basically constituted in the eye of the beholder.

Panel P123
Skilled engagements [VANEASA]
  Session 1