P03


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Existential crisis, exceptional fields: expanding fieldwork and storytelling in the face of violence and pandemic 
Convenor:
Anne Huffschmid (Freie Universität Berlin)
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Format:
Panel Discussion
Start time:
21 March, 2021 at 18:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

The panel discusses audiovisual and artistic approaches to vulnerability and crisis in settings such as Syria, Mexico and Guatemala. It seeks to relate experiences and ideas on aesthetical and methodological strategies as well as challenges such as how to deal with distance or the unseeable.

Long Abstract

Departing from a recent experience in exploring and narrating "forensic landscapes" the panel gathers audiovisual and artistic approaches to a variety of crisis from contrasting settings such as Syria, Mexico or Guatemala. It seeks to relate experiences and reflections on aesthetical strategies, narrative and methodological innovations as well as challenges such as how to deal with distance or the unseeable.

Audiovisual field research in hyper-violent settings, as in contemporary Mexico with an escalated violence crisis in the last decade, has already undergone significant changes. These refer both to accessing and exploring the unpredictable and opaque terrain of ongoing mass violence, without endangering agents and collaborators, as well as to constructing image-based narratives without reproducing the visual discourses of dehumanization. The current pandemic takes us one step further, forcing us to reinvent research methodologies 'at a distance', dealing with unpredictability and elaborating complex stories at the threshold of life and death, without falling prey to science aesthetics or apocalyptic temptations.

What lessons may we draw from dealing with the limbo of forced disappearance, how may we expand our ways of telling towards experimental methodologies and narratives? How to deal with existential threats, everyday life and survival strategies in terms of collaboration? How to conceive and create critical and mobile archives as narrative resources? How to rely on sensory methods when confronted with restrictions for our senses? The panel looks forward to a vivid discussion on how to produce sense-making narratives in fields of existential threat and apparent senselessness.

Accepted papers: