Changing Places: A Visit[ation] to Zegache
2 Feb 2012

The research project ”Changing Places” takes as its point of departure events that capture the attention of publics in different parts of the world. Focusing on events which are transmitted via public screens, we investigate how people communicate (or not) using these media, including the expressive forms they employ (image, text, sound) as they remediate their experience to other people and places. Several very different kinds of events are included in the project, from the sport mega-event of the 2010 Football World Cup and the royal weddings in Sweden and England to micro-events involving collaborative art installations for public space. Using primarily ethnographic methods, the research explores how these events are recorded and remediated through social and cultural practices that come into play as large format and handheld screens are used in arenas of public life.

This seminar reports on fieldwork carried out in November 2011, around the production of a video animation of St. Anna, the patron saint of Zegache St. Ana, a municipality in Oaxaca, Mexico. The work itself is part of a collaborative design process between Swedish artists Geska Brečević and Robert Brečević from “Performing Pictures” and the Zegache-based Talleres Comunitarios, an artisan workshop specializing in restoration and the production of religious artefacts. Merging media technology with a tradition of venerative artefacts, the animation will be housed in a chapel at the entrance of the town. There the interactive video shrine will “mediatize” a public space, as secular and sacred rituals become intertwined. In the meantime, the video animation has already appeared in other forms, including as an iPhone app.

In the seminar, the focus is on the collaboration involved in “animating St. Anna” through to the occasion when the work made its first appearance “on screen” in Zegache.  The documentation will be used to address questions about participatory or collaborative art involving artists from different parts of the world and the introduction of new media forms into traditions of venerative art. This in turn raises questions about mediatization and globalization of cultural practices and beliefs, in a specific local context and with possibly broader implications.

Stockholm University, Higher Seminar  / Thursday, February 2, 10-12 a.m.

Changing Places: A Visit[ation] to Zegache 
Department of Media Studies, JMK / Karlavägen 104, 5th floor, Bang-salen
Karin Becker and Geska Helena Brečević


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