Accepted paper:

LA VIE DU RAIL. Dehierarchization and participation in ethnographic research through interactive media representations


Anna Lisa Ramella (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

LA VIE DU RAIL / is an interactive website retracing a railroad track in Mali. It perceives informants, researcher and recipients as subjects of a transcultural space, reducing preset prioritizations through non-hierarchized interaction with different media elements.

Paper long abstract:

"LA VIE DU RAIL. A railway line in Mali as transitory space" retraces the Malian part of the former Dakar-Niger railway line integrating diverse forms of media. Based on anthropological fieldwork, it draws out the interaction of individuals and circumstances as participants of constant transit. Audio-visual methods are being combined with text in order to preserve the complexity found in the field. The depiction that is being created avoids to decide for a prioritary form of approach but is only structured by the linearity of the train tracks. An individual travel through the material can be perceived by traversing various stations of the train. The permanent movement of transit at the same time results in the stability of the people working in the train. The lives of these such as the inhabitants along the railway line are the central moment of the project. Personal narratives and observations feed the reflections on spaces, non-spaces and transitory spaces. The potential of non-linear linkage between the media elements through html-programming has been sought as a substantial factor for dehierarchizing representation aswell as interactive perception. In a short film at the beginning of the interactive website the camera converges with a form of life that is subject to rifts of loss and nostalgia as well as renewal and dynamics. LA VIE DU RAIL reflects on those issues of transitoriness while submerging into the quest of positioning oneself as anthropologist within a tradition of scientific work.

panel V05
Anthropological visions. atlases of difference, multimedia arcades and non-linear arguments