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Sedimented Visions is a research team based at the University of Vienna’s Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. We bring together the study of visual cultures, political life, and material worlds.

Conference: “(In)finite Affinities: Caste and Race Cosmopolitics”

(In)finite Affinities: Caste and Race Cosmopolitics is a hybrid conference organised by the Sedimented Visions research team at the University of Vienna. It will take place on October 7-8, 2022. Registration is required, whether you would like to attend in person or by Zoom. Please register using the QR code on the poster or use this link.

About

Sedimented Visions is a research team based at the University of Vienna’s Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology. Our research ranges across the study of the production and circulation of art objects from India; biennales as proliferating cultural forms that re-territorialize art world histories “in progress”; logistics and infrastructure projects as sites of both powerful aesthetic claims and urgent political struggles on Asia’s capitalist frontiers; Romani art as a practice of unsettling and reclaiming understandings of Romani social worlds, from questions of historical memory to contemporary movements; and the place of concrete in making and unmaking urban futures in Dakar, at the interstices of government bureaucracy, major construction companies, and a dynamic built environment.  

Distributed across these multiple settings—from metropolitan art worlds to emergent extractive frontiers, from changing imperial cores to the retro-modern postcolony—the team shares a dual research commitment. On one hand, we understand our research objects as sedimented. Whether the Venice Biennale or the trade corridors cutting across Myanmar, their present contours reflect historical processes of layering and depositing; they inherit racialized and colonial temporalities, compressed into a complex ancestral present. Yet the people and processes to which we attend are also demonstrably forward-looking. Struggles against infrastructure projects take the form of collective self-fashioning; Romani artists strive to imagine and bring into being decolonial futures; Dakar’s urban residents envision social worlds that are more than a mirror of their concrete environs. These are visions of alternative futures at the crossroads of historical, material, and aesthetic social forms.

People

Manuela Ciotti

Manuela Ciotti is Professor of the Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Global South at the University of Vienna. She has extensive research experience spanning over two decades and has carried out fieldwork in India, the US and Italy among others on the topics of modernity, subaltern communities, gender and politics, art and anthropology, biennales and art collecting. This research has resulted in a rich body of essays in leading journals and she is the author of Retro-modern India. Forging the Low-caste Self (Routledge, 2010) and Unsettling the Archetypes: Femininities and Masculinities in Indian Politics (Women Unlimited, 2017). Manuela Ciotti is part of the 2022–2023 Fellows cohort at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (NIAS) where she will be completing a monograph on the global spread of modern and contemporary art from India through exhibitions held at several world locations (under contract with Indiana University Press). She can be reached at manuela.ciotti@univie.ac.at.

Geoffrey Aung

Geoffrey Aung is a postdoctoral research and teaching associate (Universitätsassistent) in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. He is a political anthropologist whose research examines the aesthetics, politics, and historicity of large-scale infrastructure and logistics projects on Asia’s capitalist frontiers. Anchored by long-term fieldwork in Myanmar’s southern borderlands, his current book project is an ethnographic study of popular politics and political struggle around a major deep-sea port and special economic zone project. Having recently completed his Ph.D. at Columbia University, Geoffrey is also embarking on a new project at the University of Vienna tentatively titled Total Images/Image Work. It asks how still and moving images mediate political conflict under Myanmar’s new military regime, especially along vital logistical trade corridors. Geoffrey’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a Fulbright Scholarship. He can be reached at geoffrey.aung@univie.ac.at.

Evgenija Filova

Evgenija Filova is a PraeDoc in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. She is currently working on her doctoral project at the intersection of contemporary Roma art and Romani activism, researching Romani resistance and empowerment. She holds a research MA in Critical Gender Studies from Central European University and a BA in Art and Art History from New York University Abu Dhabi. Evgenija’s research interests are informed by the ways in which visual culture circulates—produced by, and producing, different(ly) embodied subjects. Her previous research was in the fields of Feminist New Materialisms, Queer Theory, and Critical Disability Studies, analyzing different theoretical approaches to embodiment and identity. Evgenija has also working experience in Digital Anthropology and human-computer interaction and design. Her fieldwork and theory have recently taken her to processes of unsettling, occupation, and presence in the digital era. She can be reached at evgenija.filova@univie.ac.at.

Pierre Wenzel

Pierre Wenzel is a PhD candidate in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. His research in urban anthropology investigates the entanglements between cementification and urbanization in Dakar (Senegal). He focuses on the interrelations between materials, humans and the city. His historical approach aims to unveil the sedimented layers of the palimpsest city in order to understand the shape of the present city. He graduated in urban governance at Sciences Po Bordeaux, focusing on African Cities in partnership with the international master degree at Sciences Paris “Governing the Large Metropolis”. He worked two years and a half as a consultant and project manager for the UNESCO at the regional office for West Africa-Sahel in Dakar. Pierre brings his positive and resilient enthusiasm with him as well as his broader interests in the culture sector, international relations, architecture and postcolonial theories. He can be reached at pierre.wenzel@univie.ac.at.

Alexandra Ferra-Ringhofer

Alexandra Ferra-Ringhofer is the administrative assistant for Professor Ciotti’s team. She graduated from the University of Vienna with a degree in Theater, Film, and Media Studies and a combination in journalism, German Studies, and philosophy. She can be reached at alexandra.ferra-ringhofer@univie.ac.at.

Blog

Sedimented Visions at the 18th RAI Film Festival (3-31 March, 2023)

The Sedimented Visions team is excited that our panel proposal has been accepted for the 18th Royal Anthropological Institute (RAI) Film Festival, which will take place 3-31 March, 2023. Our panel is titled “Sedimented visions: transmedia futures across visuality, politics, and material worlds.” We’ll be soliciting contributions soon – stay tuned.