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Accepted paper:

ARTlife: Articulations of Futures in an Afghan-Danish Film Collective


Karen Waltorp (Aarhus University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper presents the project ARTlife: Articulations of Life among Afghans in Denmark and its experiments with co-generating spaces of articulation. 'Research-through-filmmaking' is pursued in a move towards more collective work and an interventional and accountable futures anthropology.

Paper long abstract:

This paper takes its point of departure in the ongoing research project: ARTlife: Articulations of Life among Afghans in Denmark' and its experiments with co-generating spaces of articulation beyond the verbal and that which can be grasped within discourse. Working towards an interventional futures anthropology, we work with 'research-through-filmmaking', akin to 'research-though-design' approaches that acknowledge the interventional, and the researcher's entwinement with that which is researched. I unpack the notions of 'collaboration' and 'workshop', pivotal in this project, and I discuss how the circulation of images in social media concretely was part of the knowledge emerging between us in the collective. I discuss how this allows for articulations of futures - different and beyond that which is delineated and foreclosed by the current political discourse - and engaging with debates about different possible futures and/or ideas for imagining better societies or socialities. Studying (in) this political landscape and media ecology - as part of a collective where things only become manifest as we go along - implies a dialectic move between strict and loose thinking: An assemblage that only stabilizes temporarily and where the researcher is always part of the assemblage interrogated (Waltorp 2020). Scholars have suggested both the inherent contingency of life and research (Irving 2017, 2018), its 'ongoingness' (Lanzéni 2017, Pink 2016) and openness (Dalsgaard and Frederiksen 2013), and advocated the move towards more collective work in a culture of the 'sole anthropologist' (Biehl and Locke 2017, Pink 2016, 2018). This paper dialogues with this work, pointing towards an interventionist and accountable futures anthropology.

panel P026
Futures Anthropology as Interventional Theory and Practice [Future Anthropologies Network]