Summer Research in Berlin

Summer Research in Berlin

Ian Gavigan ’14 spent six weeks of his summer research fellowship working in archives and libraries in Berlin, Germany. He didn’t spend all his time there buried in old newspapers. Here, Ian enjoys a late afternoon in Berlin’s neighbor to the southwest, Potsdam. Notice his pockets full of basil. Last Wednesday, I got back from six weeks in Berlin. Before that, I spent days sitting in an archive I happily stumbled upon, juggling dozens of WorldCat entries, boxes of micro-film, piles of history books, and folders of newspaper clippings. Out of this mess I’m supposed to write a thesis. We’ll see about that. For now I’m enjoying picking through the haphazard collection that’s building around my ever-evolving topic: turn-of-the-century (19-20th) mass media (newspapers), the “academy’s” scientific production of knowledge about humans and culture, and popularly-circulating ways of understanding and “thinking” racial difference. Although this project started before I arrived at Haverford, it began taking recognizable shape last fall in Professor Travis Zadeh’s  Religion major area seminar called “Religion and Translation.” Early in the course we read the book “Languages of Paradise” by Maurice Olender. It is a history of the connections between 18th and 19th century philologists–people who studied and compared the history of languages and grammar, especially “Oriental” languages like Sanskrit and Persian–and Indo-European or Aryan racism. Through “Indo-European” linguistics, these academics elaborated detailed and complex “histories” of the Aryan race. Comparing languages like German, Latin, Sanskrit, Persian, and Greek and identifying shared structures and vocabularies among them, philologists theorized a shared “Ursprache” or original language and imagined a pre-modern Golden Age of racial purity. Modern German, and...

And Pig Iron Came Tumbling After

Hey world, I’ve been waiting for this to be unclassified: my much-anticipated PAY UP 2013 tumblr has finally gone public: payup2013.tumblr.com I mentioned last time that I’ve been doing publicity and social media for this fall’s production of PAY UP, an interactive market place of a show that touches on value, commerce, capuchin monkeys etc.  Well, this tumblr is a repository for all media PAY UP related, be it academic, pop-culture, or theatrical.  I’ve amassed a huge quantity of content so far and am working on assembling it into themed units, or collections of posts.  This week, it’s all about capuchin monkeys and Justin Bieber.  Next week, we’re gonna make it rain ($$).  So far, this has been a very nerdy and rewarding experience, a chance to explore the corners of a fascinating show and a gigantic internet.  There’s a link for submissions under the tumblr’s heading–if you have any ideas for future content, please let me know!  At two posts a day, there are going to be hundreds of posts by the time the show is over.  Feedback is always welcome. This week, I’ve also spent a lot of time coordinating Pig Iron’s various social media accounts (@pigirontheatre and Facebook), focusing on promoting the tumblr and the ramping up of the PAY UP production process.  I am really not a social media maven (I don’t use Facebook and can’t really figure out LinkedIn), so this has been a new, and probably very marketable, skill for me.  Surprisingly, I like it a lot–it’s really interesting to see which posts attract the most attention and how I can alter our...

Finishing My Documentary: “Chipinga”

Over the past few weeks since returning from England, I have been working around the clock to finish my documentary. I went through many stages of rough cuts—the first was 14-minutes and I was finally able to cut it down to 10-minutes with the help of suggestions from my classmates, Professor Vicky Funari, Corey Chao, friends and family. I finally finished my film this past Monday and then on Thursday—May 2—I screened my film, along with the other films made in the Advanced Documentary Video Production course. The running time for the film is 10-minutes and 23-seconds. Below is a link to the final version (for now) of Chipinga.  Watch the film here: Here is a brief description of the film: “Chipinga” is a documentary film, which details a filmmaker’s journey to wade through the multiple layers of her mother’s childhood memories and recollect memories she never had. This film illustrates what stories and images from a past life mean to three generations—a granddaughter, a mother and a grandmother—and how the past is constantly re-imagined in the present. Director’s Statement: My mother was born the 1960s in Chipinga—a small town in southern Rhodesia, which later became Zimbabwe. She grew up on a dairy farm during wartime and knew how to shoot, take apart, clean and reassemble an automatic weapon by the age of nine. As a child I idealized her memories and chose to only see the beauty and excitement in these stories. As I grew older, I heard the stories in new ways and learned about the complexity, tragedy and inequality that underlay each moment of life in...

“The Marriage of True Minds” Now Streaming @ Pitchfork.com

The new Matmos record “The Marriage of True Minds” is now streaming on Pitchfork.com; psychic material for the album was recorded as part of a Mellon Tri-College Creative Residencies project with Haverford Professor of English Gustavus Stadler… Haverford folks may notice a few familiar faces/places if they scroll through the images on Pitchfork… Watch footage from Matmos’s psychic sessions and collaborative performance with Haverford students, staff, and faculty here: Read more about the residency here. And, the rest of Matmos’s performance at...