AEGIS European Conference on African Studies edition:3 location:Leipzig date:2-7 June 2009
Using the example of an exhibition I am currently building around dwelling in rural Northern Ghana, my contribution offers a reflection on the challenges of representing cultural productions of domestic space.
Rural dwelling in Africa is very often exhibited as the exotic, pristine manifestation of human being’s harmonic relation with the natural environment. In the conception of our exhibition, we intend to create a kind of meta-language that surpasses the one-to-one translation of the qualities of dwelling, or the all too exotic representations of its meanings. In our exhibition, we build an interactive video-installation with clips of ethnographic videos on dwelling, making use of unexpected interfaces. In this way, the scenography of the exhibition tries to create a multisensory embodiment of culture, not just as a visual representation of experience, but as a multimedia installation and incorporation of sound, image and rhythm. The sensuousness of the house is not represented in a kind of simulacrum, but through auditory geographies and haptic visualities.
Representation then becomes a kind of post-representation (Jewsiewicki): instead of mere translation, the anthropologist creates a new reality, setting out with the same structuring principles as the reality s/he wants to represent, but wherein s/he actively engages other forms of (re)presentation