Towards the Problematization of an Audio Document: An Experiment in Cooperative Recordings
The anthropological critique of modernity regards the notion of documentation as a practice through which objectification is constructed. According to this critique, a recording is not a representation of a social or natural environment, but the process of the (re)construction of social relations through technological means. To illustrate this theoretical consideration, I discuss the recordings of vimbuza ceremonies in northern Malawi. The recordings were produced in cooperation with local communities and individuals. Subsequently, some of them were later published. Over the course of the project, it was crucial to strive for a continuous, yet remote, involvement of the people recorded.