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2015

Promotional video of a mobile application.

2013 Mardin, Turkey

Collective work about a syrian refugee family living in Mardin, right on the syrian-turkish border.

2013, Mardin, Turkey

Colective work made during the project ‘My Life is a Film’ which was a youth exchange project funded by European Commision Lifelong Learning Program, Turkish National Agency. This project, ‘My Life is a Film’ took place in Mardin, Turkey, between the 1st and 10th of April 2013.

‘Mecnun and Dust’ is based on a Kurdish poem ‘Mecnun ve Toz Bulutu’ by Sezai Karakoç.

Bir gün Mecnun
Yalnız ve yorgun
Karşıda bir toz bulutu gördü
Sanki geliyordu O’nu yutmak için
Dedi dur ey toz bulutu
Karanlığın bereketi ölüm otu
Acele etme vakit var
Sayılıdır saatler dakikalar
Azrail bile senden sabırlıdır
Burda sencileyin benim de işim var
Arzum şu ki ödev bitip gün dolsun
Benim de kaderim mutluca
Bir toz zerresi olmak olsun


Once upon a time
Mecnun was alone and tired
He saw a dusty cloud in front of him
As if the cloud came to swallow him
“Don’t come closer, Cloud” – He said
The darkness of bless, seed of death
Don’t hurry, we have time
It counts hours and minutes
The Reaper is more patient than you
Feel your pains here
because there is no more time
My wish is that the duty finished
and the day ends
And my destiny is to be happy
As a grain of dust

 

2012, Lisbon

Cricketers in Lisbon

Methodological Reflections

Work Approach

Cricketers in Lisbon came up from my desire to show a very unexpected situation that takes place in public spaces across Lisbon and is performed by Indian and Pakistani migrants. My work revolves therefore around the visual representation of a social but also cultural phenomenon, which is shown by the practise of cricket by a migrant community.

My idea was from the beginning to make a documentary from this unusual sport which is played in Lisbon. This work’s idea came up from my desire of exploring an issue related to migration. Facing this, I wondered if cricket could be a cultural mark migrants bring with them.

In the beginning the aim of my work was to capture the practice of this unexpected sport in Lisbon, to know about the people who practiced it, the way and reasons why they did it and I ended up filming this and more because in the field I discovered that the players belonged to two countries which have a history of conflict between each other.

The migrants I filmed playing cricket come from a totally different reality and environment. They brought with them something that remains completely unchanged and is difficult to break, the Diaspora shared values of the cricket: a hard cultural form “that changes those who are socialized into it more readily than it is itself changed”(A. Appadurai). The prove of that is that in the diaspora, in cricket’s field, migrants from India and Pakistan no longer hate each other, sharing the same experience of migration.

The ethnographic character of this project consists on the social, religious and political aspects survey that concern to a specific migrant community. With this I wanted to understand how can a practise of a sport be a social act and a way of gathering people having different backgrounds, different religions and even troubled relationships between their own countries.

In this sense, I wanted to understand with this work how the practice of this sport can “consolidate a shared Indian identity” (E. Crick) and unify members from the same country and also within members from nations that don’t get along. This work reflects upon in what extend can this sport be a way of reviving the memory of their own countries and also the importance of this game to the migrants of Diaspora.

This work’s thesis relies in the construction of a same identity through the practice of a sport by migrants originally from religiously and culturally separated countries. In the Diaspora, we see dissolved the hatred condition caused by a practise of a sport. This is, even if Cricket mainly does divide people from the Indian sub-continent it is also “a way of expressing alternative identities” (E. Crick) putting apart all the differences concerning misunderstandings that generate conflict.

I can now explain how things evolved:

When I knew about the practice of cricket in publics places across Lisbon I felt very astonished and deeply perplexed but at the same time I felt very curious and interested about that phenomenon and immediately thought it would be a good subject to film.

When a few weeks later, more precisely in a brainstorm class in October, I referred it to the whole class and professors felt the idea was well accepted, I became totally obsessed by this project and started investigating about this situation right away.

So, the real work started on October 2011 when the investigation began. I already knew there were people from south Asia countries gathering in public spaces to play but I didn’t know exactly where or when. I thought the best way to find out would be to go to Martim Moniz where there are many migrants from that part of the world and it happened that everybody I asked played or knew someone who played. I gathered many phone numbers but it wasn’t easy to actually find them playing.

As I mention in my visual work one day while I was passing by a central park in Lisbon I finally saw somebody playing and immediately started talking to them. Actually they had already heard about me: someone who in Martim Moniz was asking to all migrants who were obviously from south Asia countries if they played cricket in public spaces across Lisbon.

After this I decided to show up every time they played. The very first time, in park Eduardo VII, I realised that the group was composed only by people from Indian Punjab.

The second time I also filmed in this place with more or less the same group and they informed me they usually went to the Sikh temple in Odivelas and asked me if I would like to attend the weekly ceremony which I gladly accepted. I took this opportunity to ask if I could film there, which they approved. I found the experience very interesting because I got very nice footage and was very well received.

After this ceremony I was told that this group was going to play in another place that day, Campo Grande, so I followed them to that place and realised another group was playing there. This new group was much bigger and composed by Pakistani people.

This fact added another interest focus to my work and another layer to explore: Pakistani people playing together with Indian people despite all political and religion conflicts both nations have.

So what started to be cricket in Lisbon became cricket in Lisbon played by Pakistani and Indian together. This fact became fascinating because of the rivalry and animosity I knew existed between these two people. From this point ahead I would only film in this place and began to explore this particularity, i.e. how come is it possible that this two countries that have so many political and religious issues get along so well in this field.

The work revolves around trying to understand how the practice of Cricket can unify members of a community and reproduce the relation migrants have with their own home country. The work intends to know in what extent can cricket be a way of reviving the memory of their origin countries and in certain way to make it possible for migrants to return home.

In order to obtain this results I firstly proposed I mainly filmed the game because this was the starting point of the work, i.e., all of this began with the fact that watching playing cricket in Lisbon is a quite unexpected scene to watch and my own curiosity about the reasons that led people to practice this sport in an informal way in public spaces across Lisbon.

Despite all the lacking of conditions, materials and logistics, the group I first filmed mentioned and informed me, about how cricket actually played, i.e, they mentioned not having proper equipment, enough elements, proper spaces, etc, nevertheless they wouldn’t miss practicing it every Sunday which made me realize the pleasure they would get from it.

From here I started interviewing people, at first the questions I made were mainly about the game and the reasons why they practiced it in such conditions. Afterwards and when I realized they were Indians and Pakistani playing together the questions started to focus a more around themes such as religion, the relationship between the two communities, things they had in common or things they didn’t share or their opinion towards religion and political issues.

Methodology

The methodology of this work consisted in doing firstly some research about cricket and about the importance of this sport to migrants of Diaspora, for this I read some articles such as Cricket and Indian National Consciousness from Emily Crick, International Review for the Sociology of Sport from Thomas Fletcher and also Playing with Modernity from Arjun Appadurai.

When I started filming I used as method the interview and the participant observation. Interviewing was the best way to interact and to know more about the people I filmed.

I did attend and participated for weeks their Sunday social gathering, their training matches and also I attended, concerning the Indian group, their Sikh weekly religious ceremony at their Sikh temple in Odivelas.

Observant participation was the most used method and approach to do this work. As a matter of fact, for doing this ethnographic research I had to cultivate my personal relationship and participate in the players’ social life so I could in a very slowly but at the same time very persuasive way get to know more about the players.

The idea of a narrative and which kind of approach I should use to reveal the issue I was dealing with, Indian and Pakistani people playing together, was not very concrete concerning the many hours of footage I had.

The use of the voice off was not my initial option for directing this project but soon I realized that it would make my work gain a lot in the sense of directing the attention of the spectator and also I could more easily take control of my work’s structure.

Overall the voice off was a way of revealing my encounter with the protagonists from the beginning and a way of being faithful to the facts. In this way my voice off was the best way to document my experience as a participant observer.

In effect, the voice off was therefore a way of adding the information to the images, introducing relevant data that would not be given if the images were by themselves. For instance when the voice off inform us about the group being composed by Pakistani and Indian, we would have reach this information by watching the images without this voice off information.

The use of YouTube videos meant to give a contextualization of the political conflicts that exists between the two nations I represent. This approach plus the voice off definitely influenced my theoretical work. These two elements have contributed to construct a clear narrative in what aesthetic options are concerned.

In this work I am mainly presenting an idea of a subject to explore and I think it has potential to be explored in the many aspects such as religious, social, political, and others.

Isabel Teixeira

2011, Lisboa

Video of the practice of Cricket at Parque Eduardo VII.

This is a first alignment of footage and a ethnographic study for the documentary in development in the Post Graduate course within Visual Anthropology research.

The work revolves around trying to understand how the practice of Cricket can unify members of a community and reproduce the relation migrants have with their own home country. The work intends to know in what extent can cricket be a way of reviving the memory of their origin countries and in certain way to make it possible for migrants to return home.

The work will give much importance to the symbolic elements of Cricket and will try to know in what extent can cricket be a migrant’s cultural heritage. From all a migrant brings in his bag, such as his tradition, religion, habits and uses, his beliefs and so one, can cricket as a sport be as well one of this cultural marks?

Can cricket be, in this sense, an important element on the cultural identity of a people? Is Cricket a migrant’s cultural heritage? After all how important is this sport on migrant’s diaspora? This questions and many others will be subjects to which this work will be focusing.

2011, São Domingo’s Church, Lisbon

Visual Essay within Digital Visual Cultures Post Graduate course.

This visual essay intents to show the etnographic character of a religious worship, the evidence of the symbolic elements that conduce to the mythical environment, the relationship among the social actors and the others outside the church (the beggars), the way social actors behave in front of the camera, the sociological analysis of the people who attended the catholic mass, allowing me to have an understanding about the  diversity of people that is possible to verify in this space whilst catholic ritual.

2011, Brussels, Peeping Tom Dance Company

Video from the rehearsal of the play À Louer within its promotion.

For the Belgian Ministry of Culture.

I’ve came up with an idea to make a documentary about the Turkish community that lives in the city of Ghent, Belgium. The story revolves around a young Turkish woman’s perception on immigration and her adaptation to life in Belgium. More specifically, the difference between her life in Turkey compared to her life in Belgium and the level of adaptation to the host country . The documentary compares the cultural differences she has experienced whilst in Belgium and the changes she has to face the moment she’s confronted with the idea to stay or to return to the country of origin.

Porque estou na Bélgica, a minha ideia é fazer um documentário no âmbito da comunidade turca que habita na cidade de Gent. Isto é, contar a história de uma jovem turca e, mais concretamente, evidenciar a percepção que ela tem, quer do seu país de origem, quer do país de acolhimento, assim como o seu nível de adaptação a este país anfitrião, as suas opiniões em termos comparativos entre país de origem e país estrangeiro, as diferenças culturais existentes, bem como as opções com que se confronta no caso de ter que decidir por permanecer ou regressar.