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Accepted Paper:

Floating maps: Navigating the lake through cooperative media practices  

Author:

Anna Lisa Ramella (University of Cologne)

Paper short abstract:

This talk is an exploration into the orientation practices of fisherpeople at two different lakes in the Kenyan Rift Valley.

Paper long abstract:

This talk is a preliminary exploration into the orientation practices of fisherpeople at two different lakes in the Kenyan Rift Valley. As they navigate the vastness of the lake by boat or canoe to locate their fishing nets (in one case) or scan the lake from the shore for approaching hippo herds (in the other), local fisherpeople employ a combination of techniques to orient themselves. These range from landmarks along the shore to an intricate network of phone calls across the lake, and from floaters to spot nets to hardly recognisable tiny waves on the surface of the water. They are constantly adjusting their knowledge and practices to the changing water levels and moving artefacts (such as water hyacinth beds) within the lake. My current research in Kenya investigates how, through a combination of media practices, the lake surface becomes a sort of floating map that takes into account the surroundings of the lake as stable entities as well as localisations of changing on-water objects. By means of "(en)skilled vision" (Grasseni 2004) and cooperative networks, fisherpeople position themselves within a dynamic landscape.

Panel MA02
Scaling the map: Contemporary theoretical and methological innovations in participatory cartographic production