“Materializing Absence – Migrants Living Spaces in Albania” (projet en cours)
réalisateur: Miguel Filgueras; recherche/assistance: Gerda Dalipaj/Eckehard Pistrick
The film will employ a scientific (anthropological-philosophical) as well as an artistic approach on the topic of absence and abandonment. What concerns the scientific approach of the film, the filmmakers will build on the recently established anthropology of absence (Bille, Hastrup and Sorensen 2010) and use the approach of Australian philosopher Patrick Fuery (1995) concerned with the mediation of presences through representations of absence.
What concerns the artistic approach, the film – both in its visual imagery and in the editing process – will be inspired by the work of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoj (1864-1916). Overall the project will be concerned with the imagination of space in the eyes of those who will watch the film. The tension between boundedness/enclosure and openness as well as the tension between materiality and immateriality, the intimate and the public anonymous space will stand at the core of the project. The final work will thus eventually provide different perspectives on spatial construction, playing with the imagination of those who watch the film. These different spatialities – set into relation to oral narratives – will convey different modes of remembering individual migrant destinies and evoking different emotional states.
These two approaches will be applied on a concrete ethnographic object, unravelled through meticious fieldwork. These objects are the newly constructed houses/rooms in the peripheric district of the Central Albanian town of Elbasan and the “migrant rooms” in family houses in the mountainous district of Shpati, located 20 km from Elbasan. Both settings are tightly (inter-)connected both to internal migration from Mountain Shpati to the urban center of Elbasan and through external migration to Greece and Italy.
The film understands itself as a case study of a Mediterranean phenomenon experienced especially in the rural areas of Portugal, Spain, Greece and Turkey since the 1960s (Gastarbeitermigration) and in relation to the flux of Asian and African immigrants to Europe through the Mediterranean. Abandoned villages, displaced families and an emotional vaccum are an imminent feature of many rural areas in these countries. The film may provide essential insights into the psychological marks migration experience leaves. It will provide a much closer and more intimate perspective than demographic and statistical studies on the subject.
The film will be a concrete and imaginative contribution to the interdisciplinary discipline of Migration Studies. It will effectively show how methods of visual anthropology (photography and film) may be used to artistically render visible the emotionality of migration experience, the individual destinies and life histories which stand at the core of human mobility. But it will as well provide answers to more existential problems such as absence and human separation omnipresent in a globalized world.
The management of the film is currently searching for institutional and financial support to realize the film project. For further information please contact: Mrs Margarida Gonçalves firstname.lastname@example.org