Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Diary for 2nd August to 8th August 2007

THURSDAY 2ND AUGUST - Parallel worlds

Today I'm going to read an interesting article I spotted on the web last week about an anthropologist's research into Second Life, the online virtual world. The article includes an interview with an American anthropologist, Tom Boellstorff, who as part of his work is studying religious practices in Second Life. Apparently the virtual community of people attending mosques, churches and synagogues act very similarly to how they would in real life, but are beginning to form communities that would be impossible outside of the internet because of geographical distance. Technology is set to impact upon anthropology more and more as it develops, so this is a good introduction to a tricky subject.

FRIDAY 3RD AUGUST - We're all going on a summer holiday

On Friday I want to plan a trip a little further afield, to the Musee de l'Homme in Paris. L'Homme Expose is the first part of an ongoing exhibition investigating the history of man. It aims to show the history of those who have tried to describe and understand the nature of humanity over the past 700 years. Entrance to the exhibition is about five euros, and you can find out about Eurostar train times and prices here. While traveling over I might do a bit of background reading on a couple of the most famous French social scientists, Claude Levi-Strauss and Emile Durkheim.

SATURDAY 4TH AUGUST -Social systems in Cornwall

On Saturday I'm heading over to Tate St.Ives in Cornwall to have a look at their current exhibition 'Social Systems'. It's an interactive display where visitors are expected to become part of the artwork, as a 'social sculpture' in progress. So it's a good way of understanding how individuals, especially outsiders such as anthropologists, can and do influence a social system or event. You can view profiles of some of the artists involved here. The exhibition runs until 2nd September, and entrance is £5.75, or FREE if you're under 18.

SUNDAY 5TH AUGUST - Can white men jump?

Today, I'm going to spend some time browsing an online resource set up by a group of American Anthropologists about race, that asks the question, "Are we so different?". It is designed to make us think more carefully about race in the contemporary world, and the way in which meaning is assigned to how people look. The site contains articles, photographs, films and interactive exercises to explore these issues. A couple that look particularly interesting are the opportunity to understand what it is like to live as someone else, and a section on racial stereotypes in the world of sport, both part of the Lived Experience microsite.

MONDAY 6TH AUGUST - Triple Bill at Pocketvisions!

The latest installment in Pocketvisions' series of films this summer sees a hat-trick of documentaries on show tonight at the Roxy Bar & Screen. First up, at 19.00, is the short film 'The Midnight Man' which portrays carnival time in Brazil.

Then, straight afterwards is 'Garlic and Watermelons' about the controversial eviction of a group of gypsies in Athens prior to the city's hosting of the 2004 Olympics. Finally, in the new late-night 21.00 slot at Roxy, is 'Stella Polare' - an experimental film which uses fragmented images and words to reflect upon violent political action, war and terrorism. Sounds like a night not to be missed - entry, as usual, is FREE.

TUESDAY 7TH AUGUST -More dancing at the Horniman

For those of you who haven't yet got on down to the Horniman Museum for their summer sessions with the Nzinga Dance Ensemble, there's another great opportunity today with Afro Hiplife. It's an afternoon workshop for 13-19 year-olds where you will have the chance to try out various modern dance forms combined with African cultural dance. The workshop costs £5 and starts at 14.00 - to book you'll need to contact Nzinga Dance on 020 8314 5238. While down at the Horniman, the Musical Instruments Collection is also well worth a look, which has over 7,000 sound-producing objects from across the world, right through from ancient Egyptian bone clappers to electric guitars. Entrance to the collection is FREE.

WEDNESDAY 8TH AUGUST - Unplugged in Edinburgh

On Wednesday I'm hoping to soak up some of the Edinburgh Festival before going to check out David Batchelor's exhibition, Unplugged at the Talbot Rice Gallery. Occupying a large atrium space, the collection contains a variety of salvaged objects from London's East End and Scotland all of which have little or no financial worth, from plastic pegs to combs and toys. They are, however, all artefacts from people's lives, and can tell us a lot about the operation of a certain area of economic and, perhaps more importantly, social activity. The consumption of goods is an important area of anthropological study and has ranged from analysis of French middle class taste in fine art to the decoration of flats on a council estate -you can read an article about it here. The exhibition is open from 10.00 until 17.00 between Tuesday and Saturday, and admission is FREE.

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