Reading fold on Spirit | with Pam Virada
No Transcendence, Only Immanence, 2022, Pam Virada, photo by Tom Janssen
7:00 – 8:00 pm CEST
online and on-site
This reading group event is part
of SEA Foundations’ longer-term
research of art and sustainability
fold #07 on Spirit
The event is free of charge,
organised by artists and volunteers
of the SEA Foundation.
Moderated by Michaela Davidova
Thursday the 28th of September, we welcome Amsterdam-based artist Pam Virada. For the reading within our fold #08 on Spirit, she chose an essay Laughing at the Spirits in North Siberia: Is Animism Being Taken too Seriously? written by Danish educator and anthropologist Rane Willerslev and published in the online magazine e-flux.
Laughing at the Spirits in North Siberia: Is Animism Being Taken too Seriously?
Laughing at the Spirits in North Siberia: Is Animism Being Taken too Seriously? is an essay about the Siberian tribe of Yukaghirs and how they explain the spiritual world. Anthropologist Rane Willerslev travelled to North Siberia to conclude the research on animism and studied the ritual of killing a bear. The text tries to avoid the old approach which would compare animism to a primitive way of understanding the worlds, and would be narrated as humans’ projection onto nature. As well as Willerslev describes how, by practising laughing at the spirits, Yukaghirs do not reduce the value of the spiritual rituals but contain their agency without falling for the totalitarian vision.
Rane Willerslev (1971) holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge (2003) and a Master’s degree in Visual Anthropology from the University of Manchester (1996). Since 2007, he has been the editor of Acta Borealia: Nordic Journal of Circumpolar Societies. He is also co-editor of two book series: Ethnography, Theory, Experiment published by the Berghahn Books, and Studies in Death, Materiality and Time published by Ashgate Publishing. His main field of research has been hunting, sacrifice and spiritual knowledge among Siberia’s indigenous peoples, but he also publishes widely within comparative anthropology, religion, material culture, and visual anthropology.
Bio Pam Virada
Pam Virada (1993, Bangkok, Thailand) is an artist living and working in Amsterdam, exploring intersections between the cinematic and temporal as means to navigate the ghostly forces and intimate stories within domestic spheres. Through mixed-media installations and moving images, Virada reconfigures existing contexts and narratives, investigating the themes of impermanence and intimate turmoil in spatial arrangements, objects, text, and expanded cinema. Virada conducts continuous socio-political and micro-narrative research, investigating various individual and collective traumas. She looks towards feminist memory within family constellations, studying the junctures of Hauntology, patriarchy, and non-western philosophy in the Sino-Thai diaspora and beyond. Her work dives into intangible presences of the ghostly and ancestral, proving their uncanny yet comforting influence on modes of conscious and subconscious living, conjuring them to generate alternative realities.
Some of her past works have been exhibited/screened at Liste Art Fair Basel; Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam; Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Image, London; Smithsonian National Museum of Asian Art, Washington DC; Tokyo Photographic Art Museum; Singapore International Film Festival; Dharamshala International Film Festival, among other institutions. Virada completed her MA in Interior Architecture from the Studio for Immediate Spaces at the Sandberg Institute (Masters of Gerrit Rietveld Academie) in 2022.
Pam Virada website
The programme of reading sessions:
More any suggestions for reading? Check out the Spirit recommended booklist