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.
Ciotti Manuela 2023. Make no mystique! Collectables’(dis)appearances in a transoceanic perspective. Third Text 181
A private museum originally from Sweden just opened a branch in Berlin. It is housed in a landmark former art squat, a memory of an era whose destruction sent ripples across the Berlin community (read more here) , and stands in contrast to the myriad community-ran alternative art spaces across the city. Here in the …
Pierre is currently on fieldwork in Dakar, in the midst of the rainy season. The ambient air is hot and humid, and sporadic flooding can make daily life challenging. Fresher air is giving some rest only early in the morning. This soothing moment offers beautiful sunrises playing with clouds and birds’ songs coming from secret …
Revolution in Myanmar: History, Power, Politics was a hybrid symposium organised by Sedimented Visions team member Geoffrey Rathgeb Aung and Georg Bauer, from the University of Vienna’s Department of History. The symposium took place on 17 April in the Alte Kapelle at the University of Vienna.
(In)finite Affinities: Caste and Race Cosmopolitics was a hybrid conference organised by the Sedimented Visions research team at the University of Vienna. It took place on October 7-8, 2022.
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.
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 email@example.com.
Geoffrey Rathgeb Aung
Geoffrey Rathgeb Aung is a postdoctoral research and teaching associate (Universitätsassistent) in the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna. Between political and economic anthropology, his 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 U.S. National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and a Fulbright Scholarship. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Evgenija Filova is a PraeDoc at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology currently working on their doctoral project on antigypsyism and anti-Roma racism in art and cultural production. They hold 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 main research interest spans across Anthropology and Cultural Studies with a particular focus on art and activism engaging with issues of social justice and human rights. Their 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 experience in Digital Anthropology and human-computer interaction and design. Additionally, they are interested in studies at the intersection of the anthropology of food and agriculture with legal anthropology and policy analysis, researching food production, practices and cultures. Their research, teaching, and writing practice is recently taking them to processes of unsettling, occupation, extraction, and presence in the digital era. They can be reached at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.