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Accepted Paper:

The Future-oriented Anthropologist and the Flow of Images  
Karen Waltorp (University of Copenhagen)

Paper short abstract:

Building on the insights from the ARTlife research project and Film Collective, this paper considers the imperative to discuss how our insights and the images we co-produce (should) enter into larger media- and knowledge infrastructures and ecologies - and thus the formation of mediated publics.

Paper long abstract:

Building on the insights from the ARTlife project and Afghan-Danish Film Collective (Waltorp and ARTlife Film Collective 2021), this paper considers the imperative to discuss how the images we co-produce enter into larger media- and knowledge infrastructures and ecologies - and thus the formation of mediated publics. Images are circulated and consumed at an unprecedented scale with a staggering 3.2 billion images and 720.000 hours of video uploaded daily (Thompson et al. 2020). An estimated 59.5 percent of the global population have access to the Internet, 92 percent of them mobile-only. Images have moved us since early woman made Rock Art; used in ideological battles and spurred political action, as we know from early Russian formalist cinema (Eisenstein 1964, Vertov 1923), Hollywood cinema (Powdermaker 1950), propaganda (Berger 1969) and in the colonial-imperial sciences (Azoulay 2019).

The digital age makes for other kinds of circulation and impact than previous scholarly contributions. This paper engages with questions of productive friction in terms of responsibilities: In the collective, we use and make images to co-articulate imagined futures, and what it means to be both Danish and Afghan. As a response to recent developments in Afghanistan, our collaboration has come to include support events and talks on- and offline on the changing position of women in Afghan society and diasporic (hashtag) activism around this topic. In this process we tag, circulate, and inadvertently contribute to a flow of images. What is the role of the anthropologist in this changing ecology and flow of images?

Panel P13b
Towards an anthropology of future images: ethics, politics, and creativity
  Session 1 Friday 10 June, 2022, -