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From: Morten Nielsen Subject: The Comedy of Things…continues…!
Date: 2 Sep 2014 08:46:12 GMT+2
To: Katrine Duus Terkelsen
Cc: Debbora Battaglia, Rane Willerslev, Trine Mygind Korsby, Kasper Jelsbech Knudsen, Alberto Corsín Jimenez, Martin Holbraad, Lise Røjskjær Pedersen, George Marcus, Nicolas Langlitz, Nina Holm Vohnsen, Morten Axel Pedersen, “Rubel, Sasha”, Nigel Rapport, Eduardo Kohn, Grégory Delaplace, Ben Alberti, Brit Winthereik, Candea Matei, Anne Line Dalsgård, Karen Waltorp, Christian Vium

Dear all,

Four days have passed since we left Helenekilde and  we are both slowly beginning to regain our capacity for functioning in a world outside (or parallel to) the Comedy of Things. It has truly been an amazing and intense experience, which transcended all expectations (by far!) that we might have had and we are extremely grateful that we shared it with you.

As is probably the case with many of you, both of us have still only begun to reflect on the significance of the CoT even. We know, and indeed feel that the five days that we spent together at Helenekilde were very significant, but precisely wherein their significance (and indeed ‘meaning’) resided is likely to take several months to process (not unlike the situation one finds oneself in after an intense fieldwork, perhaps).

What is totally clear to us, however, is that CoT achieved what we originally set out to do, namely to conduct a genuinely anthropological experiment, which within the particular parameters, constraints and hypotheses that framed it generated an extremely rich and highly diverse set of experimental data, materials and outputs, ranging from analytical insights pertaining to anthropological theorizing to a wealth of more didactic and collaborative methods as well as, not to forget, all sorts of observations, sensations and reflections pertaining what it entails, in social and existential terms, to concretely participate in such an event.

It is precisely for this reason – that what we produced together essentially was full-blown, unique if not sui generis body of ethnographic data – that we would like to invite you all to a follow-up “After-CoT” workshop next year in AARHUS FROM 16-17 APRIL 2015. As already mentioned at Helenekilde, we imagine that this workshop might take on a more conventional format with prepared papers etc, precisely to give of all us an opportunity to reflect upon, analyze and theorize in a language and format more familiar to us precisely what actually took place during our five days together and what its wider theoretical, didactical, existential etc import and significance might be. Personally, we cannot wait to do that and we really hope that all or at least most of you will be able to come!

Now, as for the current status of CoT online: the situation is that we do not have an operational website for the time being and that it may take several weeks before we will have one. We do apologize for this, but, as also mentioned during our plenary session Friday morning, we also consider this as a golden opportunity to properly design a website including blog-function that actually corresponds to what our joint experiment was and what it produced, as opposed (as the original website design did) to what the two us originally imagined prior to the event! Ideally, we now have a great opportunity to create an online infrastructure that is perfectly suited for presenting and disseminating the different kinds of contents and outputs (textual, material, pictorial, audiovisual etc)  that the different groups produced (we emphasize that there will for obvious reasons not be any possibility for adding new content; the question only pertains to how already existing content may best be put online, also in relation to potential museum-guests who will have access to our website via laptops next to the displayed artifacts, etc).

Despite the currently absent blog, we would be very grateful if you would write down reflections and thoughts on the CoT experiment. Thinking ahead of the “After-CoT” workshop in Aarhus in 2015, it would be fantastic having a project logbook charting our ongoing thoughts and reflections – preferably beginning with the immediate after-event impressions.  When the website is up and running, we will find a collective project forum for sharing these.

Finally, for some of you who might be interested in accessing some of the amazing photographic material taking by Karen and Christian during the event, we have arranged with Christian that he is going to set up a closed., shared folder somewhere in the Great Unknown World of Online…Stuff from where each of us will be able to download materials through password access. More on this to follow soon.

Please do write to (or call) us if you any questions pertaining to the above or indeed any other question, idea or concern – we want our ideas and input!  Indeed, we are extremely with the way this whole thing turned out and we very very excited and we see a lot of different and very interesting potentials for future reflections, analyses and collaborations.

With the very best of wishes

Morten & Morten

Morten Nielsen
Associate professor
Department of Culture and Society
Aarhus University
Moesgaard Allé 20
DK – 8270 Højbjerg
Phone: +45 87162165
Skype: morten.nielsen3