Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Diary for 17th-23rd May 2007

THURSDAY 17th MAY - Reading forensic anthropology novels!

Today I thought I would try out one of Kathy Reichs's novels about the work of fictional forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (who is also the lead character in the TV series Bones on Sky One).

The author Kathy Reichs is actually quite a famous forensic anthropologist herself. She works for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale in Quebec and is also Professor of Anthropology at the Univerisity of North Carolina.

I don't know what the books are like yet, but I do know that they are inspired by her own experiences, so the forensic anthropology in them is authentic. Kathy has worked as a forensic anthropologist all round this world - she has testified in Rwanda at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, helped identify individuals from mass graves in Guatemala and done some forensic work at Ground Zero in New York. If you are want to find out more about this kind of anthropology, this might be an interesting way to do it!

FRIDAY 18th MAY - Free Native American film screening at the British Museum

The British Museum, as part of it's exhibition "A New World - England's first view of America," is holding a special Native American film screening on Friday, in association with the Royal Anthropological Institute. From 3pm until 6pm they are showing 2 anthropological films: "Techqua Ikacha: Aboriginal Warning" about Indigenous Hopi people resisting oil and mining interests (Director: Alan Georg, 2006)and then "The Spirit of Crazy Horse" about the struggle to reclaim the ancestral homeland of the Sioux, from the battle of Little Big Horn to the 1960s and 70s (Director: James Locker, 1990). The films are free, but booking is advised. See the British Museum's website for details.

After the non-fiction screenings, you can stick around to watch "Smoke Signals" at 6.30pm. This road movie was the first feature film to be written, directed and co-produced by a Native American (Director: Chris Eyre, 1998). Admission £3.

SATURDAY 19th MAY - Exploring ideas about the body in Brighton Museum

On Saturday I'm heading to Brighton to explore the anthropological collections of the Brighton Museum. They have a particularly great gallery called "the Body gallery" (the pictures on the left are of objects from the gallery) which explores, through objects, how we interpret our own and other people's bodies. The museum is open from 10am-5pm on Saturdays. See their website for more info.

SUNDAY 20th MAY - Viva! film festival at the Curzon Mayfair, London

As part of the VIVA film festival, the Curzon Mayfair is showing Un Franco, 14 Pesetas (Crossing Borders) by Director Carlos Iglesias. 2pm, Curzon Mayfair.

This film explores the complexities around migration, a subject often studied by anthropologists. The description on the Curzon website says:

"TV actor Iglesias turns début writer-director to recount this story of his childhood when thousands of Spaniards emigrated to North Europe to escape unemployment and poverty in Franco’s Spain. In 1960, Martín (director Iglesias) and Marcos (Gutiérrez) leave behind their families in Madrid to seek a wage to send home. Switzerland confounds their expectation, with its freedoms and its open, bright spaces. Despite the inevitable cultural misunderstandings, they find work and settle in to enjoy their new lives. But when Martín’s wife and son and Marcos’ girlfriend María suddenly arrive to join them, it becomes apparent that some are better suited to this new life than others."

MONDAY 21st MAY- Free anthropology and film in a London bar!

On Monday, check out the first of several ENCORE! film screenings at London's Roxy Bar and Screen. As an encore to the London International Documentary Film Festival we featured back in March, the organisers are showing some of the festival's films again at Roxy's Bar and Screen a really nice and relaxed place to see a film, get something to eat and chat about the film afterwards with people from lots of different backgrounds, inclduing anthropologists. The first film to be shown is Sargy Man (Director Peter Mann 2006).

Sargy Mann is a successful figurative painter who, despite being registered blind since 1987, has continued to make work about what he sees. In May 2005 Sargy Mann undertook a research trip to Spain with his son, the film's director. As he begun work on a new series of paintings the artist, who has very partial vision in one eye, went completely blind. Despite this, he continues to paint recreating motifs from memory.

This film, directed and shot by the artist’s son, shows how an artist has overcome an apparently insurmountable obstacle, i.e. total blindness. Filmed over a period of more than a year and centred on the making of one painting, it tells a unique story and is a fascinating insight into the creative process. Both Sargy Mann and Peter Mann will be available for a Q and A after the film.

8pm, Roxy Bar and Screen, London. See for more details.

TUESDAY 22nd MAY - More anthropology of food!

Last week I featured a talk on the anthropology of cooking at Cambridge University and it's the last in the series of these talks this Tuesday. The final talk is called "The Pleistocene journey: humans as the cooking ape" and is taking place from 5-6pm in the Seminar Room in the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies at the university. Directions can be found here.
  • The talk by Richard Wrangham, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard University is free and open to the general public.

WEDNESDAY 23rd MAY - State Britain: art and protest at the Tate Britain.

Brian Haw became famous for his sustained protest outside the Houses of Parliament against the economic sanction in Iraq which he started in 2001. A year ago today, following the passing of the 'Serious Organised Crime and Police Act' prohibiting unauthorised demonstrations within 1km radius of Parliament Square his protest was removed. Now artist Mark Wallinger has
painstaking recreated the 600 banners, photographs, peace flags and teddy bear used in Brian's protest displays over the years inside the Tate Britain.

I've put this exhibition in the blog because anthropologists are often interested in what is sometimes called the 'politics of representation' and Mark Wallinger's work raises lots of interesting issues about this. You can also watch a clip from an ethnographic film about Brian Haw's protest by Goldsmiths Visual Anthropology student Delphine Gibson on YouTube.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for the Kathy Reichs books, having read quite a few. They're a bit gory, but the best bits about them are the detailed descriptions of the forensic anthropology procedures used by Tempe Brennan. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the life cycle of the blowfly though...