Thursday, August 30, 2007

Diary for 30th August - 5th September 2007

THURSDAY 30TH AUGUST - Tibetan Pilgrimage on film

There's another chance to watch Werner Herzog's documentary 'Wheel of Time' today at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh. As I've mentioned on the blog before, the film contains rituals never before seen on film during a Buddhist ceremony promoting peace and tolerance, and Herzog's approach to his subjects is often compared to that of anthropologists. For more information contact the Filmhouse on 0131 228 2688.

FRIDAY 31ST AUGUST - Community photographers' magazine

Today I'm going to check out my local bookshop to see if it's stocking the latest issue of Daylight magazine, due out imminently. Published biannually, the magazine uses photography and essays to address some big contemporary issues from the 'bottom-up' with portraits of people and communities around the world. For example, the last issue focused on the theme of 'global commodities', or more specifically the individuals behind global trading networks. Like anthropology, the magazine looks at the social and cultural situations of those involved in such structures - stories and realities often hidden behind business statistics and financial rhetoric. A word of warning - for some reason it's not available in WH Smith but should be in most of the other likely places and online, priced at £7.50, some of which supports grassroots media projects across the globe.

SATURDAY 1ST SEPTEMBER - Singing with Basil

The British Film Institute is currently running a season called Documentary Centenaries, and today it celebrates the work of Basil Wright, whose 'poetic' film-making crops up on many a visual anthropology course. I'm particularly looking forward to seeing Song of Ceylon, perhaps his most famous film, about cultural life and religious customs in Sri Lanka. It is amongst four of his works that are screening tonight at the National Film Theatre from 18.00 - tickets are £8.60 (less for students). Interestingly, The Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) now gives out a Basil Wright film prize at its film festival every two years, and you can read more about this year's winners here.

SUNDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER - Chasing plastic bags

Today I'm off to see what I can make of the current exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, called 'The Movement of an Object'. It is a collection of shots from around London, as photographer Marysa Dowling followed a plastic bag across the capital and captured how it was recycled by thirty different individuals from a 2 year-old to a 77-year old. You can also add your own pictures of plastic bags to an online collection here. Anthropologists often study objects as revealing entities in their own right about how and why society functions, such as in The Social Life of Things which traces the journey of all manner of things from human relics to oriental carpets. The Photographers' Gallery is open from 11.00 (midday on Sundays) until 18.00, and entrance is FREE.

MONDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER - Amore on your mobile

Pocketvisions returns this evening with what is claimed to be the first ever documentary shot entirely on a mobile phone. Referencing Pier Paolo Pasolini's 1965 film that featured Italian's views on life and love, Nuove comizi d'amore (New Love Meetings) gathers amorous confessions from across Italy about sex and sexuality. As usual, it is screening at the Roxy Bar & Screen from 19.00 and entrance is FREE. Pocketvisions has also just opened entries for the 2nd London International Documentary Festival to be held next Spring, so if you've made or are making an ethnographic film it may be worth submitting. The deadline is 6th December 2007 and you can find out more here.

TUESDAY 4TH SEPTEMBER - Tribal happenings

This evening I'm going to catch up with BBC1's Tribe again as the programme visits Anuta in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific. Some academics have labelled Bruce Parry's trips as 'skateboard anthropology', so see what you make of his latest trip to such a hard-to-reach location and people. The Anuta live by the principles of 'aropa', namely sharing their possessions as an expression of love for their community. For an alternative view on the Anuta, you could see if your local library stocks specialist Richard Feinberg's account of the oral traditions of the islands. Also well worth a look is Survival International's blog page, which features short films about indigenous communities around the globe.


Today I'm going to attend an exhibition currently being held at Asia House in London, called Burma Inside Out. It is a collection of artworks produced by Htein Lin, who was imprisoned in Myanmar from 1998-2004 on charges that were never proven. Whilst behind bars, he used materials such as prison uniforms to create artwork reflective of his time spent under the guard of the military junta. It's an interesting expression of the relationship between the individual and the 'state' and is open from 10.00 until 18.00 daily, with admission priced at £2. On Wednesday there's also an opportunity to listen to music from Myanmar from 18.30 onwards. If that's whetted your appetite, then there's also a display of prisoner art from the UK currently on at the ICA - hurry though as it ends this week.

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