Session 5: Sensible Imagination
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Sat 25 Feb

13:30 - 15:00

De Brakke Grond

20 / 17,50

Arguing that it is necessary to conceive of the world in radically different ways, to decolonise the modern worldview, and to escape from the bubble of a mediatised post-truth society, the panel Sensible Imagination presents alternative ways of navigating the world, documenting reality, and negotiating the entanglements between humans and nonhumans, words and things. The arts of storytelling and knowledge from non-Western and indigenous cultures offer crucial cues for a different conception of our humanity. Erika Balsom Rehabilitating Observation: Lens-Based Capture and the ‘Collapse’ of Reality Today, much popular cinema has moved away from the primacy of lens-based capture, foregoing the documentary registration of real bodies in real spaces, while fake news proliferates and the US president deems real news fake. How are critical documentary practices best poised to respond to this state of affairs? What does the kind of access to the world afforded by documentary look like and mean in our contemporary moment – a moment marked at once by ubiquitous computing, widespread political, humanitarian, and ecological crisis, and what some have deemed a ‘collapse’ of reality? Erika Balsom offers a polemic, proposing that practices privileging lens-based capture – in particular, the long-beleaguered observational mode of documentary – are today endowed with a new urgency and radicality. Ben Russell Psychedelic Ethnography Ben Russell’s talk is an audiovisual compass, its orientation marked by the seemingly opposite poles of psychedelia and ethnography, two approaches which have the same goal at heart: the understanding of ourselves in the world. The result is a dialectic that is both embodied and critical, in which the terrors and pleasures of getting lost are balanced by the necessity of knowing where. who and what we are, particularly in relation to anyone who is not us. Helen Verran Clashings, Coalescences, Confluences. Doing the Noise of Being in Yoruba Classrooms and Yolngu Databases Helen Verran lived and worked in places where people entangle words and things differently, expressing quite other metaphysical commitments than we modern humanists who represent ourselves and our milieu to ourselves. In her talk she looks at how children in Yoruba elementary school classrooms, and Yolngu Aboriginal Australians move consciously between differing forms of word-thing entanglements and negotiate cavernous rifts in the noise of being.
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