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Lesvos pathways

I am thinking about pathways and being guided, of the journeys we make due to the influences of others. My exploration of the island and it’s people was not a solo effort; moving from an autonomous way of working, to being part of a group was as much of a culture shock as the Greek sun. Whereas in London I could jump on all manner of transport unaided and be where I needed to be to chat with whoever I wanted, in Lesvos, I was reliant on transport, in waiting for others, for translation and calculating when I would physically be able to be outside and film due to the intense heat. In this way, the raw materials I created, whether through photos, film, camera, audio or writing, were intrinsically linked to who I was with and the relations I had built prior to getting to that point. 

Jennie suggested  an i-doc experience to guide people around Lesvos in the way I explored it, creating a sensory ethnography for the audience, and this is what I have been thinking about. 

Main content (filmed):

Stars

The area I have most footage around is with Tarald, the star-man, who spent time guiding me and others around the treasures of the night sky. I have enough content to create the atmosphere of that stone circle. Some of this footage, I am filming Tarald with others – on one night, he is guiding a group of Norwegians, so I do not know what they are saying, in others I am in the footage with a static camera capturing events, on other nights, I film Tarald showing fellow students Jupiter or Saturn or the moon. In this footage, I love the wonder you can hear in peoples exclamations when they see something through the periscope for the first time – a world out of reach opened up to them. 

Salt

This area I have to be careful with, as I can only use some of the footage I shot that does not reveal we were actually inside the salt factory. There are some close up shots of water and wider landscape shots of flamingoes I can use, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable using more. From conversations with Christos at the salt factory, and Giorgos from Metochi, I am interested here with ideas around how renovation of the salt factory in 1994, and the creation of the salt plains, meant that more birds started to arrive, and so increased birdwatching, and therefore touristic value, in the area too. The colours here were spectacular.

Embroidery and Israa

There are three filming shoots related to Israar’s encounters with embroidery. With Olympia, we were guided through the history of her family through all the embroidery pieces she keeps and displays, learning about tradition and what is proper along the way. The moments that are most interesting to me here looking at the footage, is the easy and trusted space created of laughter and sharing that four strangers developed in the space of a few hours. This was also evident when we visited the second household, when five of us ended up in easy (translated) conversation around piles of 100 year old embroidered materials.  

Makara club

The abandoned club in Skala Kalloni slowly revealed it’s mystery every time I went back with Damianos, who had been shown it first by Panos when thinking about transitions. I am interested in all the themes the club demonstrates – value, tourism, financial crash, village dynamics, a space of joy that is now ‘dead’ – but here I am also interested in a conversation I recorded with Damianos discussing the project, and moving from collaboration to separate ideas. 

Shrines

After walking with Ero and Giorgos one evening, I discovered that the shrines along the side of the road I had thought were for saints, were actually erected to remember those who had died in road accidents. I spoke with Giorgos (Metochi) about these, and how they lined the road, and filmed a small stretch of road I had been passing many times which had four shrines in short succession. From this excursion I have GoPro footage of my bike journey – my furthest solo excursion – which illustrates really nicely the isolated nature of Metochi. What interests me here is that when showing the footage to my boyfriend, he asked how I knew where I was going. I had without thinking created my own mind-map of the area, and was following a path I had taken many times in the previous two weeks. The actual shrines here speak to me about the passing of time, and holding someone in a space of memory and the place of their death, and how the presence of these shrines shift the environment of a road to something different.

I have photos and audio of lots of other places on the island I visited, and the building of relationships that led to these journeys, which can be added in to the island map. And I have my Google timeline which shows where I was on the island (sort of), and also a plethora of photos and footage to date / time me to places.

Is this too many things still?

I have started the first draft of a relations map, which helps map out what was built when I was in Lesvos, and how different events occurred related to whom. It’s not in the right format / space yet, but it’s something I’m interested in developing – are there any other examples of this being done before?

I have been reading a lot of David MacDougall and Sarah Pink, but would like to read more around the following:

  • relationship building (not family) from an anthropological viewpoint – does this exist?
  • Explorations about creating temporary communities – as in everyone on the course and at Methochi
  • Suggestions for any other similar works that you could recommend I watch? I now have my alumni membership for Goldsmiths library activated so should be able to access books / films through there.
  • Jennie sent me some examples of i-doc software which I had a brief look at – if anyone knows any software or methods that I could easily embed photos / film / text / audio into a map that would be great!

Anything else? Is this anthropological enough? Or am I going down a very large rabbit hole?!

9 Comments

      1. Emma Crouch

        Aha, well it says this about the student account, so I wasn’t sure if I could count? Also I’ve not been sent the details about how to pay / enrol officially on the course yet?

        “Before completing your purchase, we need to make sure that you are currently enrolled in a school or university.

        Please send us an email to sales@klynt.net with “Student Edition Purchase” as a subject and the following information:

        Your first and last name
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        Following the validation of your documents (2 to 3 working days), we will send you a link to purchase your Klynt Student Edition.

        IMPORTANT :
        Please note that by ordering a Student license, you agree to use it for personal or educational projects for non-commercial purposes and in accordance with the Terms of Use of Klynt. Also note that providing fraudulent information will result in the deactivation of your key without notice and without a refund.”

  1. Panos Panopoulos

    Dear Emma,

    I like your point (and drawing!) on the network and dynamics of relations in the group and how this reoriented your perspective and work. Relatedness is a major issue in anthropology, “related” to a critique of the stereotype of kinship as biology, on the one hand, and the approach of kinship as a social and cultural construction of relations, on the other. A first great read on this topic would be Marshall Sahlins’ book “What kinship is … and is not”. Concerning the issue of group dynamics formulated ad hoc, I think you should start with perspectives from social psychology.

    Best, Panos

    1. Emma Crouch

      Hi Panos! Thanks for the suggestion of Sahlin, I’ll take a look, it certainly sounds interesting from the reviews about it.
      Do you have any names to recommend for who is good on social psychology and group dynamics? It seems like a wide topic – thanks!

  2. Hydar Dewachi

    Hi Emma,

    In terms of relations, maybe watch Mike Figgis film CO/MA (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457307/) which is very interesting in terms of how group dynamics work. Also, might be useful to read Roland Barthes lectures “How to live together” (https://cup.columbia.edu/book/how-to-live-together/9780231136167)

    As for the digital platform, I’ve not worked with Klynt, but supervised students at Uni of Westminster who used it and the MA Digital Storytelling course leader has used it for one of his projects so I’ve seen it in action. I personally found it clunky and not very design intuitive but there are cases where it works well when there’s a good effort and investments put into the UI/UX (User Interface/ User eXperience).

    If you are familiar with WordPress, there’s a plugin that is made for creating narrative storytelling site: Aesop Story Engine Plugin (http://aesopstoryengine.com/)

    If you want to try it out, it’s completely free and you can test it locally on your computer using MAMP (https://www.mamp.info/en/), which is a local PHP and mySQL server that you can run on your computer so you have a local WordPress installation.

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