'Two Seasons: Multispecies medicine in Mongolia' screening in Perth, WA

A Visual Anthropology Screening 

Two Seasons: Multispecies Medicine in Mongolia

(2018, 95 mins) filmed by Dr Natasha Fijn

The Anthropological Society of Western Australia in collaboration with the Mongolian Association of Western Australia, Murdoch University and the Mongolia Institute - Australian National University is pleased to present a Visual Anthropology Screening. This is an experience you won't want to miss.

When: 5:30-8:00pm 24 November 2018

Where: The Loft (Building 425.3.001), Murdoch University, 90 South St Murdoch WA

birth approaching.jpg

Herding families in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia live in extreme climatic conditions and are crucially reliant on their herd animals for survival. This multispecies-based filmic analysis engages with more-than-human sociality and perceptions towards other beings. The concept of one’s homeland (nutag) and a strong sense of place are crucially important to herders. The documentary focuses on three different locations, or homelands, filmed in spring and then again in autumn (hence the title ‘Two Seasons’). In spring the focus is on the birth of newborn animals and increasing immunity, sometimes through bloodletting to prevent illness, while in autumn the focus is on preparing hay for winter and collecting medicinal herbs. Layering the two seasons with the three locations means the 95-minute film is structurally divided into six separate parts: Ganbaa visiting his homeland in spring; Nara’s homeland in spring; Bor and Bömbög’s homeland in spring, then returning again to all three communities in autumn. The film conveys how medicinal knowledge is passed on through practical forms of mentorship within these extended families.

About Dr Natasha Fijn

Natasha Fijn is an ethnographic researcher and observational filmmaker. Her ethnographic fieldwork has been based in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia and Arnhem Land in northern Australia, involving human-animal connections and concepts of domestication. She was awarded a Fejos Fellowship in Ethnographic Film, funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation to make 'Two Seasons' during 2017. She was a research fellow within an international team ‘Domestication in the Era of the Anthropocene’ at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Oslo in 2016. Earlier, she held a College of the Arts and Social Sciences Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the ANU (2011-2014). Part of this project 'Encountering Animals' included the making of a film 'Yolngu Homeland' (2015). She has edited a number of themed issues on visual anthropology and observational filmmaking. A monograph, Living with Herds: human-animal coexistence in Mongolia, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2011.

Please download the Event Poster and more about the film Two Seasons: Multispecies Medicine in Mongolia.

Two Seasons: multispecies medicine in Mongolia

The trailer of Natasha's new documentary 'Two Seasons: multispecies medicine in Mongolia' is currently featured on The Wenner-Gren Blog with an accompanying written piece on her experiences while filming in the field. The film project was part of a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship in Ethnographic Film funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation. 

Here is a link to the site: http://blog.wennergren.org/2018/03/fejos_fijn/

 Ganzorig passing on knowledge during haymaking. Photo: Still from film: Natasha Fijn, 2017.

Ganzorig passing on knowledge during haymaking. Photo: Still from film: Natasha Fijn, 2017.

Yolngu Homeland screening on NITV

The Australian National Indigenous Television Network (NITV) will be screening Yolngu Homeland at 7:30pm Wednesday 3rd of August and 1:30pm Thursday 4th of August (EST).

 Still from Yolngu Homeland of two Yolngu boys fishing on Country. 

Still from Yolngu Homeland of two Yolngu boys fishing on Country. 

'Yolngu Homeland' released by Ronin Films

 

Yolngu Homeland explores how a community in Arnhem Land, Australia, is connected with other beings - ancestors, animals and plants.

Aboriginal people have lived in Arnhem Land for over 45,000 years. Over time they have developed a deep, spiritual connection with the land. Totemic beings of significance include the saltwater crocodile, crows, dogs, crabs, sea eagles, turtles, and yams. The film follows 'Yolngu time’ where the pace is measured and not run according to the institutional timeframes of wider Australia.

Garrthalala is a strong homeland community, where all ages venture out onto the coast and into the water to find food and engage with the land. Three members of the community offer individual insights into different ways of being on Country.

Presentation within the Mongolian Studies Open Conference, 3 November 2015

Seterlekh: an Anti-Sacrifice of Other Beings?

Natasha Fijn, The Australian National University

While living in a herding encampment in the Khangai Mountains of Mongolia, Natasha Fijn observed and filmed a seterlekh ceremony conducted by a visiting monk, whereby a yak cow was released to live a full life, rather than being killed for meat. There are accounts of such ceremonies across Inner Asia, including amongst reindeer herders in Tuva, throughout Mongolian herding communities and across the Tibetan plateau. What is the philosophy behind the ceremonial release of beings from their former roles? Is this act a kind of anti-sacrifice, where instead of killing an animal and offering the being to the spirit world, the being is offered to the Gods through being released from a relationship with humans? An analysis of herding perspectives and practices across different nomadic landscapes reveals interesting comparative insights with regard to the significance of this ceremony.  

Visual Anthropology Forum

 

Wednesday 29 July 12-1:30pm,

The Theatrette (rm. 2.02), Sir Roland Wilson Building, ANU

Ancestral Animals (2015, 60 mins)

Natasha Fijn

Synopsis of Film

'Ancestral Animals' is about Garrthalala as a place and how the Yolngu community who live there are connected with other beings, including ancestors, animals and plants. Aboriginal people have lived in Arnhem Land for over 45,000 years, which means that over time they have developed a deep, spiritual connection with the land. Totemic beings of significance include the saltwater crocodile, crows, dogs and dingoes, crabs, sea eagles, turtles, and yams. The film follows 'Yolngu time' where the pace is measured and not run according to the institutional timeframes of wider Australia.

Homeland communities are increasingly under threat from a lack of financial support and investment into infrastructure from the Australian government with a push for Yolngu to move into town centres, despite the fact that the quality of life on outstations is significantly better in terms of both mental and physical health.  Unlike the negative portrayal of Aboriginal communities in the mainstream Australian media, the intention of this film is to show a positive side to a homeland community (in the tradition of Ian Dunlop and the Yirrkala Film Project series) and how living on homelands are a means of maintaining a connection to Country and a unique way of life.

You are welcome to bring your lunch. 

VISC8015: Research with a Video Camera

Do you want to integrate visual material with your Masters or Doctoral research? 

The course introduces postgraduate students to ways of working with digital video as a research tool, particularly in the disciplinary area of Visual Anthropology. It promotes an open-ended, content-led approach to documentary film, where filming forms part of the research process rather than taking place at the end of a research period, as in standard documentary practice.

    Filming the 50th Anniversary of the Bark Petition, Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo credit: Julian Laffan.

 

Filming the 50th Anniversary of the Bark Petition, Yirrkala, Northern Territory, Australia. Photo credit: Julian Laffan.

Students will use digital video to explore a research topic under guidance and supervision. Across the course you will produce edited video compilations to communicate understandings of the topic that has emerged through the filming and editing process. Readings and in-class discussions will help stimulate your thinking as you move through the course.

Course convenor: Dr Natasha Fijn, email: Natasha.Fijn@anu.edu.au

The course will be held in the Theatrette and Lady Wilson Room in the Sir Roland Wilson Building, Thursdays 1-4pm, Second Semester 2015.