Research Interests:

Visual anthropology // media anthropology // anthropology of art // indigenous media // indigeneity // intersectionality // migration // transnationalism // media appropriation // mediatization // performativity // collaborative methods // artistic research // qualitative ethnographic methods // modes and issues of representation.

Dissertation Project:

Establishing own Modernities: Indigenous Media and Art Practices in Chiapas, Mexico

This project examines indigenous media and art practices from Chiapas and Oaxaca (Mexico). Specifically, it investigates how producers in marginalized circumstances apply their practices to create discursive media spaces. Of particular interest is whether and how these media spaces are being used by the social actors to negotiate issues of belonging and to articulate or debate their ‘own’ or ‘alternative’ forms of ‘being modern’. A key question is to what extent media and art are used as political tools to articulate, disseminate, and establish such forms of own culturally specific ‘alternative modernities’. These ‘own modernities’ will be systematically examined, and their qualitative or imagined conditions described, to not only affirm that people are using media spaces in negotiations of their 'own modernity' but also trace how that is done in the local context and in relation to local ideas. In what ways are global influences, technologies and ideas appropriated locally and in a way that is culture-specific? How are issues of globalization, ‘modernity’, and ethnic citizenship negotiated in the processes of production, circulation and reception of media? Finally, the local micro perspective will be discussed in the context of critical modernity and decolonization debates.

My qualitative fieldwork focuses mainly on a network of interacting artists/filmmakers in San Cristóbal and communities surrounding the regional metropolis. To gain a thorough understanding of the culture-specific context of media appropriation, I investigate the production, encoded semiotics, dissemination and media reception of indigenous media productions. Focusing on the social actors, a qualitative media-ethnographic approach is employed. Local media are considered in relation to national and transnational ‘mediascapes’, as well as in relation to the historical and political contexts that influence or motivate their production. A vantage-point of inquiry is the assumption that ‘global flows’ such as media technologies tend to be appropriated and expressed in distinctive location- and culture-specific ways. Hence, new discursive media spaces arise between the dichotomous poles of ‘modernity’ and ‘tradition’.

"Darkmoon" 2013 (Thomas John dir.)

Excerpts of "Darkmoon"

Excerpts of Thomas John's film "Darkmoon", which was produced in close collaboration with the Tzotzil-Maya filmmaker 'Ronyk'. The film deals with indigenous art in Chiapas (Mexico). It's an attempt to develop a poetic and artistic audio-visual language, to portray the poetic practices & the personhood of the main protagonist, Angelina.