Thursday, November 16, 2006

Visual Research Conference Day 2

Today (technically yesterday) marked the end of the Visual Research Conference. We saw some great stuff from Kate Hennessy, Guido Carlo Pigliasco and 3 of Peter Biella’s students from his Visual Anthropology class at San Francisco State University, including Dom Brassey. The conference ended at 2 pm. I stuck around for the 8:15 (African, Fijan, Italian, etc. time [I think that’s some kind of Anthropologist joke. I don’t quite it get since it seems to apply to such a broad spectrum of regions, nations, ethnicities, but I guess it refers to starting later than scheduled]) screening of Dick Werbner’s “Shade Seekers and The Mixer” and didn’t leave the Convention Center until 10, but I’m glad I did because the film was great and we got to talk to Dick about it.

I had lunch at an Indian restaurant where I got a “Naan: Spicy Lamb.” It was naan stuffed with spicy lamb, like a calzone, and served with some sauce for dipping. It was delicious and unexpected. I love the Bay Area. Not that there aren’t great places to eat and shop and generally “be” in Southern California, I’m just nostalgic about everything up here. I have a completely idealized view of Bay Area. Today I rode public transportation, Light Rail, for the first time since my visit to Holland in March. It was clean, quick, and cheap (as in free, though I paid [$3.50], my ticket wasn’t checked. I actually paid for 2 tickets because I didn’t know they were only good for 2 hours from the time of purchase not the entire day, oh well).

Aside from the food, my lunch was also very interesting because of my company. I feel a little uneasy about writing this here because of issues of informed consent. I don’t think my lunch date was informed, so I’m just going to give this to you as an anecdote, take from it what you will. I went to lunch with an undergraduate graphic design student from Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. I knew this going into lunch, I also knew that he came to the AAA Conference for the Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film and Video Festival to conduct research for his thesis project. He is interested in how people create biographies and collect, analyze, and archive objects and information in different cultures. He didn’t really have any idea what Anthropology was before registering for the conference, he just thought that the film festival would give him some insight into his thesis topic. Sitting at lunch, talking about how he even came across the conference and film festival in the first place, I was squirming to ask him, “So, are you Mormon?” He said yes. I asked if he went on a mission. He said yes. I asked where. He said Taiwan. We talked about that. It was very interesting. He was carrying around a nearly falling apart copy of Collier and Collier’s “Visual Anthropology” that he bought at a used bookstore in New York for $5. Nice guy, very interesting. When I said, “I don’t think me lunch date was informed,” I mean that I didn’t think he knew enough about Anthropology to know that, with me being an Anthropologist and him such an interesting subject, our conversation was inevitably a sort of field work. And, that’s why I’m not going to say anything more about that.

Again, long wake, short sleep. PEACE!

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