Sunday, July 10, 2016

Externalise, materialise, confront: on the making of sociolegal worry beads Part 2

Preview: my sociolegal worries about funding and foreign-ness materialised and united
A field trip to Cyprus got me thinking about worry beads. I began wondering how they might be used by Cypriots to think about their emotions and worries associated with the past, present and future of Cyprus reunification talks. But realised that I ought to begin with what I know best: sociolegal research. 

Deeper and of longer standing are my worries about what it means to do research as a foreigner. Of course in many respects any researcher is always a foreigner, and I hope that this bead may have much to say about that. But my focus in making it was specifically on my 20+ year history as a British researcher in India, Sri Lanka and Cyprus. In each case I have had a relationship with the country that extends beyond the research, but I have never shaken the nagging sense of hit-and-run.
The making of my second bead, which would confront this question of foreign-ness was triggered by finding a Cyprus Airports duty free bag. The words on that bag, together with the image of the airplane taking off, made me think about how being foreign helps you to fulfil your duty to be free (independent) but also opens the risks of carelessness (free from duty).

The bag reminded me that while I was in Cyprus in June 2016 it was announced that the UK had voted by referendum to leave the EU. So the concept of leaving was on my mind when I filmed the taxi ride to the airport.

The shame and sadness of leaving was also on my mind as I stole this photo of the EU passport channel at Larnaca Airport.

So I filmed myself making a worry beads out of the bag, Fimo modelling clay and some other bits and pieces.

Then I made this film combining footage from the taxi trip with footage of the making of my second worry bead.

Sociolegal worry bead 2: Free of duty duty to be free from Amanda Perry-Kessaris on Vimeo.

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