Category Archives: Muziek, kunst & media

Living with the End

Black Hole sunBy Peter Versteeg                  Recently Chris Cornell, singer of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died. Soundgarden is probably best known for their early nineties song ‘Black Hole Sun’, which is the invocation of a sort of natural disaster which will swallow everything that is ugly and false. It is a cry to be released from a depression that is caused by an awareness that life has become hollow and that the earth has been delivered into the hands of frauds, crooks and idiots. Cornell took his own life. Announcing his tragic death, news shows showed exactly this song as he played it during the last earthly gig he ever played. It is not difficult to feel its ominousness. Continue reading

Thin Description? Notes on the Amsterdam Anthropology Lecture Series (AALS)


Dr Paolo Favero giving his AALS lecture at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

By Matthias Teeuwen    Last AALS lecture was an inspiring and thought-provoking presentation by Dr. Paolo Favero on the myriad possibilities that emerging technologies provide to conducting ethnographic research. He talked about the implications of the use of i-docs (interactive documentaries such as Highrise), wearable camera’s (used exclusively in Leviathan), user GPS (Dr Favero gave an example of its use in Rider Spoke), and much more in ethnographic research. Here are some impressions. Continue reading

Some thoughts on film in ethnography


Still from ‘Inside the Mind of Favela Funk’

By Ina Keuper     On 7 December the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology organized its second Ethnographic Film Day, which featured four rather different ethnographic documentaries. Former staff member Ina Keuper was there and shares some thoughts on Standplaats Wereld about these particular films and the role of this visual medium in anthropology. Continue reading

Exotische Folklore: Barok

Barok musici in San Ignacio de Moxos, Bolivia

Door Ton Salman   Het zijn, wereldwijd, tijden van eerbetoon aan culturele tradities. Tot aan de vakantiefolders toe worden de “authentieke dansen”, de “oorspronkelijke rituelen” en de “intact gebleven, rustgevende dorps-levensritmes” beloofd aan –inmiddels ook– de massatoerist. Je kunt het meemaken in Vietnam, in Zambia, in Peru; “echte cultuur” kun je overal beleven.

En over dat cultuurtoerisme zijn inmiddels de nodige publicaties verschenen, over de voor- en nadelen voor de “locals”, over de effecten op economieën, over (erg scheve) winstdelingen, over de “agency” van de “authentieke dansers”, en over de verknipte toerist die massaal iets anders dan massatoerisme wil. De mooiste titel binnen dit veld is waarschijnlijk die van Nick Stanley: “Being Ourselves for You: The Global Display of Cultures”, al uit 1998. Continue reading

Antropologisch portret van de Egyptische Revolutie

Filmposter 'Ik ben het volk'

Filmposter ‘Ik ben het volk’

Door Ellen van de Bovenkamp

Egypte 2011: net als documentairemaakster Anna Roussillon terug is in Frankrijk breekt de revolutie uit. Ze baalt verschrikkelijk dat ze dit historische moment mist. Toch is ze er vervolgens in geslaagd een fantastische documentaire over die revolutie te maken. Ana Ash-Sha’ab – ‘Ik ben het volk’ – werd zeer lovend ontvangen op Europese filmfestivals.

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Glocalising Social Media

Image: UCL Press

Image: UCL Press

By Jordi Bok            As anthropologist Daniel Miller takes place behind the microphone to start his lecture, a whistle blows through the lecture room. It is not a starting signal, but the noise of a WhatsApp-notification. Some people laugh, some look annoyed and others just ignore it. Slightly embarrassed, the girl sitting next to me quickly checks her phone to see who contacted her at this inconvenient moment. This perfectly sets the stage for what prof. Daniel Miller is going to talk about today, 12 February 2016, as part of the Amsterdam Anthropology Lectures at VU University: social media. Continue reading

Structurele nostalgie of gewoon pret? De 78-toeren plaat


Door Freek Colombijn      De Nederlandse muziekindustrie schijnt het goed gedaan te hebben in 2015, maar de trend van fysieke muziekdragers als CDs is een gestaag dalende verkoop. De enige uitzondering hierop is de verkoop van vinyl, ouderwetse grammofoonplaten. De laatste platenspeciaalzaken hebben bakken vol elpees terwijl de CDs het met steeds minder ruimte moeten doen. Kenners zeggen dat het analoge geluid van een elpee mooier is dan het digitale geluid van een CD, maar dan moet je wel een goede installatie en goede oren hebben om het verschil te merken. Wellicht speelt er ook een element van nostalgie mee waarom grammofoonplaten het goed doen. Continue reading

It’s hard to ignore a camera

By Matthias Teeuwen      On Thursday 3 December 2015 the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of the VU held its first ever Ethnographic Film Festival. Throughout the day ten films were screened in the Church Hall of the university, each followed by a short Q&A session with the filmmakers. What struck me during the screenings was the question: What is the difference between a documentary and an ethnographic film? What is the difference between making films in order to raise awareness about the plight of a group of people and making films in order to make a visual depiction of a group of people? Continue reading

The here-and-now-after is online: death and afterlife in virtual gaming worlds

“EVE is real. It’s as real as real life,” says a player of the online science fiction game EVE Online on a forum. “I can’t wait until there is technology with which I can upload myself and live in the universe of EVE forever, ” he reflected.


Tarmak Spurgeon, a character of the author in EVE Online

By Peter Versteeg    The virtual world as hereafter. Except as a space in which the impossible can happen and players can master dragons or conquer solar systems, the virtual reality of the ‘massively multiplayer online’ game (MMO) touches our imagination of eternity. It is the experience of virtuality itself that evokes images of the never-ending. Against that background people reflect upon the possibility to live on virtually, after death. Continue reading