Dailies: April 22, 2013

We have had a lot of wonderful experiences on this trip, and most of the time we tend to comment on our outward interactions: places we went, people we spent time with, events that happened. I think sometimes the actual core of the project gets away from us–like any routine, we forget to even consider the importance of the processes that enable our essential activities. Things like working with cameras, meeting participants, and particularly processing take up lots of our time!

The processing in particular is pretty cool. We have finally begun to figure out the best way to teach the system, and with that stress removed, it has become a much greater opportunity to get to know people. The first stage (which is done in complete darkness) is particularly good for this because there really is not much else to do for twenty minutes while you run the film in the first developer. And since we are back to the in-bus darkroom, Alexandra can join the conversation from the outside!

A lot of what we hear from people is about others. I remember reading years ago that something like 85% of conversation is on the subject of other people, which kind of stands to reason. In fact, if memory serves, the majority of that 85% is about other people known to at least one of the speakers and not, as we might think, about famous people or celebrities. Most of what we know about the places we’ve been has come from conversations that mention other people. It seems that a community is more or less defined by a sphere of people who talk about each other. Beyond that sphere is another community. Communities get big and small but they are not measured by arbitrary city limits. I should stop using the terms “small communities” and “large communities” when what I mean is “village” or “city”. A village can have a large community, and in fact they more frequently do because it is easy to run into people and reinforce that sphere of conversation. Likewise, a city can have many small communities–sometimes, it is just a community of one. We go to villages and towns because the sphere of community is more pronounced in those places, yet the same phenomenon exists all over.

It was good processing today with Ian and with Marissa, two of our participants here. They told us of their summer plans, what they want to get out of their schooling, and talked about the changing times. They are both first year students at the university here, and that makes their perspective on the subcommunity all the more interesting. Marissa feels that we are at a large transition point in society, marked by our changing awareness of global phenomena. And as technologies change, we shouldn’t forget the past. We couldn’t agree more!

Yours,

Ryder

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