Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Diary for 29th November - 5th December 2007

THURSDAY 29TH NOVEMBER - Shamanic science

Tonight I'm off to a talk at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, South London all about some recent collaboration between shamans from the Amazon and European scientists. An anthropologist, Jeremy Narby, will be describing his recent work in this field, and the productive relationship that can be formed when indigenous knowledge of plants is combined with western understandings of molecular structure. In particular, Jeremy will talk about a team of shamans and scientists trying to find a cure for tuberculosis, by combining "microscopes and modified consciousness'. The talk, 'Shamans, scientists and plants: exploring the bio-cultural diversity of the Amazon' starts at 18.00 in the Jodrell Lecture Theatre (enter on Kew Road), and is open to all.

FRIDAY 30TH NOVEMBER - Baltic belonging

On Friday I'm going to the Baltic in Gateshead to check out the new exhibition by Kader Attia, called Square Dreams. Attia is their current artist in residence and was brought up in an Algerian family on the outskirts of Paris. His work explores issues of identity and belonging as they are caught up in the complications of globalisation - pretty spot on for anthropology then! The Baltic is open every day from 10.00 until 18.00 and entrance is FREE.

SATURDAY 1ST DECEMBER - China comes to town

Today I'm going to an all-day event at the British Museum, showcasing a selection of films from the Chinese film sessions at the RAI Film Festival earlier this year. The films are all based around family and community, and include an oral history of the Chinese communities in London as well as a film about a family living in one of China's great courtyard houses. The day is divided into two sittings, from 10.00 until 13.30 and 14.30 - 17.00, with two films being shown in each period. They will be on in the Stevenson Lecture Theatre, and admission costs £5 for either one (£3 for students), but you must book in advance, either in person or by telephoning the box office on 0207 3238181.

SUNDAY 2ND DECEMBER - Voyages in Eastern Europe

This Sunday, I'm returning to the Voyages documentary festival that I mentioned on the blog last week. There's a couple of fascinating films showing today. At 16.15 in the Cine Lumiere, you can see Wounds of Afghanistan, a film that follows two Estonian veterans back to the site of Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union in 1979 - tickets costs £5. Then, at 18.30 there's a film from Bulgaria called Georgi and the Butterflies which follows the director of a Home for Mentally Challenged Men, and his quest to set up a working farm for his patients - again tickets are £5. As with all the films at the Voyages Festival, they offer glimpses of corners of the world most people probably know very little about...

MONDAY 3RD DECEMBER - Investigating murder in Mexico

On Monday night, I'm back at Pocketvisions at the Roxy Bar & Screen for the screening of A Massacre Foretold. It looks at the murder of a group of pacifist indigenous peoples by paramilitary forces because of their support for Zapatista movement in Chiapas, and the reasons why an investigation into the atrocity was never adequately completed. You can watch a trailer of the film and find out more about it here, as well as viewing an interview with the director, Nick Higgins, here. The screening begins at 20.00, admission is FREE, and it will be followed by a Q&A with Nick himself.

TUESDAY 4TH DECEMBER - Seeing beyond sight

Come Tuesday I thought I might go along to an exhibition being held at The Association of Photographers, in East London. On show will be the work of a group of blind and partially sighted photographers, in a collection called Sight of Emotion, which aims to portray the photographers' own needs and experiences. It has been organised by PhotoVoice, who provide an opportunity for groups who are frequently the subjects of photographs to have the opportunity to express their own perspective on life, through images. The exhibition is open from 10.00 until 18.00 and runs until 7th December - admission is FREE. You can also view a film about similar photographic work online.

WEDNESDAY 5TH DECEMBER - China comes to town 2!

This afternoon I'm back off to SOAS for another screening from their migration and diaspora series. Today they are showing Going to Town, about a Chinese man torn between working in the city to provide for his children and his rural community roots. Situations such as this are common subject matter for ethnographic film which often seeks to portray the tensions between different social environments. The director is a postgraduate anthropology student at Cambridge University. As usual, the film begins at 13.00 in the Khalili Lecture Theatre and all are welcome.