A Memory Stick Packed With Memory – Карта памяти, заполненная памятью

2015-10-14 12.57.41***Русский текст ниже***

As a major outcome of the ORHELIA project (Oral History of Empires by Elders in the Arctic), our research team is proud to present a USB-Stick with oral history recollections from the different indigenous communities where we have been doing research during the past four years. The stick contains audio-visual and written materials from conversations we had with elders out in the tundra and in tiny kitchens over tea and sweets, all over the Eurasian Arctic from the mouth of the Lena River till Finnish Lapland.

ORHELIA Stick Screenshot 2

The stick offers a selection of remembrances both of happy and sad stories from people who have witnessed huge social, political and economic changes during their lives. There are stories about Stalinist terror and the Germans on the Arctic front during World War II, about boarding schools for indigenous children, about lethally poisonous rocket parts falling from the sky onto the soil of the tundra, as well as about playing Saami football, bear hunting stories, multilinguality or giving birth out in the tundra. A dominant topic throughout many stories from all regions are relocations by the state. This has turned out to be a common thread for many indigenous communities during the many upheavals of the 20th century. For understandable reasons, we couldn’t pack all stories on a stick – during our project we recorded several hundreds of hours of conversation – but any choice has something arbitrary and is regrettable, for no story is better than another. What we tried is to give a glimpse of the thematic, geographic and temporal broadness of the stories collected. Another aim was to show that there are not only stories of sufferance. Both the happy and the difficult moments in life should be present on the stick, as was the case in our conversations.

 

But why a USB stick and not, for instance, a web site? The USB stick is the first step in the popular dissemination of the results of our project. From the outset of our four-year oral history endeavour, it was a primary goal to bring our results back to those people who made our research possible at first hand. The USB stick is a format which allows accessing the information wherever there is a device like a computer or a tablet, even without an internet connection. In fact, even in the remotest tent on Yamal peninsula, families today have such devices, but due to the absence of mobile network coverage they mostly don’t have internet. For the younger generation, it will be a fun way to explore their elders’ past, which – as many told us – is interesting to them, but in the everyday routine only rarely becomes a matter of common conversations. For all generations it will be interesting to compare the stories from their community with fates from other people and places of the North. In the next months, we will go back to our corresponding research areas and disseminate the stick among all our contributors. By bringing back some of our results we also want to express our gratitude to our interlocutors. Special acknowledgement also goes to Stephan Dudeck and Antti Tenetz who dedicated many hours to designing and correcting the actual content of the stick. Without them, our common baby would never have become reality!

ORHELIA Stick Screenshot 3

The current edition of the stick is in Russian. Translated Finnish and English versions will follow. For broader public dissemination, we also plan an internet site with similar content. When we will go online we will announce it here on our blog, so stay tuned!

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2015-10-14 12.59.30Наша команда исследователей от проекта ORHELIA (Oral History of Empires by Elders in the Arctic / Устная история империй, рассказанная стариками Арктики) рада сообщить об издании флеш-накопителя с историями из разных коренных народов Севера, собранными нами в течение последних четырех лет. На этой «флешке» последнего поколения в формате кредитной карточки содержатся видео-, аудио- и письменные материалы из бесед с пожилыми жителями всей евразийской части Арктики, от устья реки Лены до финской Лапландии, записанных то в чуме где-нибудь в тундре, то за чаем на уютной квартире в селе.

В коллекцию мы включили как веселые, так и грустные истории от людей, ставших свидетелями огромных социальных, политических и экономических перемен в течение их жизней. Можно посмотреть и послушать рассказы о Второй мировой войне и о сталинских репрессиях, о жизни детей в школах-интернатах, о ядовитых частях ракет, падавших на просторы тундры, о саамском футболе, о медвежьей охоте, о многоязычности в повседневной жизни, о родах в тундре, а также обо многом другом. Однако красной нитью по многим историям из всех исследованных регионов проходит тема переселений коренного населения. Она оказалась самым наболевшим из множества потрясений, принесенных ХХ веком.

ORHELIA Stick Screenshot 6

По понятным причинам, мы не смогли «кинуть» на флешку все собранные нами истории – проект собрал несколько сотен часов записи. Пришлось выбирать, и, к сожалению, любой выбор является произвольным, потому что в принципе нет плохих или хороших историй. В своей вынужденной выборке мы попытались передать тематическую, географическую и временную обширность собранных историй. Другая важная цель была включить не только истории о страданиях, а передать тот баланс между счастливыми и трудными моментами в жизнях людей, который мы встречали в беседах.

ORHELIA Stick Screenshot 1

А вот почему мы сделали флешку, а не сайт? Сайт несомненно будет, но флешка была для нас первым приоритетом при реализации очень важной цели нашего проекта: вернуть собранные знания тем людям, которые нам их давали. С самого начала нашего четырехлетнего проекта по устной истории Арктики это было одной из главных целей. Флешка – это формат, который соединяет два требования: интерактивность и в то же время доступность из любого места, где есть компьютер, ноутбук или планшет. Такие устройства сейчас можно встретить даже в самых отдаленных оленеводческих бригадах, а вот с интернетом из-за отсутствия мобильной сети во многих местах труднее. Для представителей более молодых поколений это будет познавательный, а иногда даже забавный способ узнать о жизнях своих предков. Многие нам признавались, что им истории бабушек и дедушек интересны, но в суете повседневной жизни стариков просто некогда расспрашивать. А если свободное время все-таки появляется, то хочется посмотреть «видик» или полазать в планшете. С флешкой можно будет соединить одно с другим. А для всех, включая старших, будет интересно сравнивать истории своего народа с человеческими судьбами в других арктических регионах, во многом, кстати, удивительно похожих.

ORHELIA Stick Screenshot 4

В течение следующих месяцев мы собираемся вернуться в те места, где мы собирали материалы и раздать флешки участникам проекта, а также другим заинтересованным людям. Возвращая людям истории из Арктики, мы выражаем всем участникам свою глубокую благодарность. Отдельное спасибо также заслужили Штефан Дудек и Антти Тенец из нашей команды. В основном они провели много часов за созданием дизайна, форматированием и корректированием материалов. Без них наше детище не получилось бы!

Текущее, первое издание сделано на русском языке. Попозже выйдут финская и английская версии. А вот для широкой публики позже мы планируем создать сайт с теми же материалами. Мы объявим об этом здесь, так что подпишитесь к нашему блогу и следите за новостями!

 

Arctic refugee lived experience: Northern Sea Route? Walking route? Cycling route? Motor (Lada) route instead?

Please also see the comments to this post, interesting!

Surely most of us have followed the terrible news about drowning refugees desperate to

picture by Mauricio Lima for The New York Times, bicycles from refugees pile up at the Russian-Norwegian border - in the Arctic at almost 70 degrees northern latitude
picture by Mauricio Lima for The New York Times, bicycles from refugees pile up at the Russian-Norwegian border – in the Arctic at almost 70 degrees northern latitude

reach Europe – and many may have thought that “well all that’s what the poor people have to cope with there in the South, Sicily, Turkey, Greece.” But guess what: some refugees have opened the Arctic route for entering Europe. Colleague Patty Gray just alerted me to this article in the New York times, entitled “Bypassing the Risky Sea, Refugees Reach Europe Through the Arctic” by Andrew Higgins, check it out. As sad as it is that these people have to travel all the way up to the Arctic where they hardly intend to stay – this is probably an amazing case study for an ethnography of cross-border relations! As Anna Stammler-Gossmann has written, Arctic Russian border  crossings like this were used by shuttle traders to bring car tyres, coffee, and clothes to Russia.

Russian Arctric border: a no-go for pedestrians. Photo by Herman Jelstad, May 2012
Russian Arctic border: a no-go for pedestrians. Photo by Herman Jelstad, May 2012

Now it’s people, and different from the southern European borders, they don’t need criminal people-traders to bring them. They can cross the border themselves! To be honest, several times already I was annoyed by this practice at the border that you are not allowed to cross it on foot. Therefore the poor refugees have to buy bicycles in the closest Russian town, Nickel’, just to cross the border and then get them confiscated by the Norwegians! What’s that good for? Above all, my cyclists’ heart hurts when I see all these nice bicycles piled up. But maybe someone doing an ethnography of this new migration route would identify this as modern-day resource distribution – but from refugees to one of the world’s richest countries – Norway.

X SIBERIAN STUDIES CONFERENCE – PASSION FOR LIFE, Emotions, Feelings and Perception in the North and Siberia

A really early announcement for a great conference on Arctic Anthropology!

I hope to meet many of the readers of our blog in a years time in St. Petersburg in order to discuss an important theme in our field. As some of you might have guessed I would like to distract the participants’ attention a little bit from the dominance of “love” and “harmony” as emotions associated with the Russian North. Instead I would like to guide them into themes that have some theoretical implications for anthropology like practices and expressions of ‘attachment and detachment’, ‘performance and representation’ of emotional states, ‘techniques of ecstasy’, ‘irrationality’, ‘shame’, ‘effervescence’, ‘awe’,  ‘affective control’  and ‘transgression’. There seems to be two particular poles in the Siberian (better circumpolar) ethnographic material: on the one hand control and restrain of emotions (silence, calmness, equanimity) possibly associated with hunting, and on the other hand ritually performed excess of emotional expressions possibly associated with shamanic practices. I would prefer to put the focus on practices and body techniques as something particularly accessible by ethnography in contrast to psychology (though I would appreciate contributions from our colleagues ethnopsychologists at the conference very much).
See you in St. Petersburg in October 2016!

Yours,

Stephan Dudeck

X SSC 2016 Eng-2 X SSC 2016 Eng-4

PRACTICING SHAMANISM: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SHAMAN?

Learn more about shamanism!

Reindeer Skin Shaman Drum: Online sale. https://www.etsy.com/listing/117653042/reindeer-skin-shaman-drum-travelling
Reindeer Skin Shaman Drum: Online sale.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/117653042/reindeer-skin-shaman-drum-travelling

Shaman traditions, in their hundreds of different forms are still alive today. Arctic Centre hosts two Sami shamanic practitioners from Kola Peninsula. You have a unique possibility to learn more about spiritual practices and sacred places, to understand the controversy around the shamanism and enjoy a drum ritual.

Everybody is warmly invited to the workshop:

October 6, 2015, Tuesday, 10:00 – 14:00 Borealis room, Arctic Centre

More information: Anna Stammler-Gossmann, Arctic Centre