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Ethnofiction - Practicebased PhD in Applied Drama and Ethnographic Film

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· The Ethnofiction

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lectures


Lecturer: Johannes Sjöberg
(Helsinki 04)

factfiction.se has an aim to spread understanding for cultural variations, and facilitate intercultural communication.

The company is managed by Johannes Sjöberg - guest lecturer in Social Anthropology, Visual Anthropology and Drama since 1997, at several Swedish universities and university colleges as well as Universidade de São Paulo, The University of Manchester and The Nordic Anthropological Film Association.

Films are screened at all the lectures that can be presented in Swedish, English as well as Portuguese and Spanish.

The Artistic Freedom and Limitation of the Anthropologist
Social Anthropologists study the cultural aspects of human life. Their main research method is called the participant observation. The Social Anthropologist live in the culture they are researching during an extended period of time. The aim is to reach an understanding of ‘the native’s point of view’ – to understand the culture from the perspective of the informants. The result of this research can be presented in several ways. The lecture is concerned with the artistic means at the disposal of the anthropologist.

Visual Anthropology & Ethnographic Films
Visual Anthropology is a form of applied anthropology. Film is used to research and represent foreign cultural knowledge. The products are called ethnographic films and are presented as a complement to anthropological texts. Ethnographic films can also be screened at cinemas and the television to entertain, move and educate a popular audience.

The Ethnofiction
The Ethnofiction was introduced as a genre by the French Social Anthropologist and Ethnographic filmmaker Jean Rouch in the 50’. He felt limited by the academic format and the strictly factual documentary film genre, and asked his informants to improvise a story in front of the camera. In a collaborative spirit anthropological understanding was combined with cultural knowledge and drama. Also feature and documentary film directors outside academia have worked in this way with non-professional actors from different cultures.

Where improvisational cinema meets improvised acting...
Recent digital camera and editing techniques have made filmmaking easy and affordable. This development has created opportunities for directors as well as actors to experiment with the film medium in a way that was impossible before the mid-90'. Actors now has the opportunity to shoulder the role of the digital video director as well as exploring new uses of acting on the screen: as art to entertain and move, as well as in applied drama were the art becomes a tool used to help others. The lecture will demonstrate recent development with film genres balancing on the thin line between fact and fiction, where improvisational cinema meets improvised acting.