african roads

Motor roads, together with their rules and conventions for using them, are quite literally cultural constructions. In this sense, the road regime in large parts of the African continent is still under construction. Road-making and road use draw from North Atlantic models but observation of the African road makes clear that beyond the surface of adaptation to the North Atlantic model lie large spaces of creative reinterpretations and modifications …     For an anthropological research project on roads, transport and traffic in Africa, we offer a position for one doctoral student (E13/2), funded initially for two years by the … Continue reading

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Favorite nemo’s gear

steampunk informed appropriation of mythical worlds and hardware ↑Captain Nemo‘s submarine “Nautilus” on the surface, getting entered by “cannibals”. The picture is for those, maybe a bit more traditionally oriented anthropologists, who dare to doubt that this vessel has anything to do with anthropology. It was clear as a scuttle—sometime around Christmas they would re-air “↑20,000 leagues under the sea,” the 1954 Disney rendition for the silver screen of ↑Jules Verne‘s ↑1870 novel. They always do, and so they did this time. Just having read ↑H. G. Wells‘ brilliant scientific romance “The first men in the moon” (1901), rewatching “Leagues” … Continue reading

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dart plane

Remember Gaff (Edward James Olmos) continuously leaving behind tiny origami artefacts, thereby more or less cryptically commenting situations in “↑Blade Runner“? The ↑famous unicorn in particular? Well, during the Christmas days I unearthed a book I 15 years ago ordered from Dover Publications: Gery Hsu’s 1992 “How to make origami airplanes that fly.” The inside of my copy is littered with quarter- and half-finished specimen. Obviously I tried out a lot of models, but always had to give up and abandon the projects—with the exception of the very first model in the book, the “Space Shuttle” (pp. 12-15)—glides greatly! With … Continue reading

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spooknik

On 4 October 1957 ↑Stephen King was at the cinema. Together with the other ten-year-olds clustered around him he watched the morning performance of ↑Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Just as the flying saucers started their attack on Washington D.C. the movie was interrupted and the houselights went on. Pale and nervous the manager entered the auditorium. “‘I want to tell you’, he said in that trembly voice, ‘that the Russians have put a space satellite into orbit around the earth. They call it … Spootnik.’” (↵King 1993[1981]:21) For the assembled post-war kids a world crashed. The world of US-American … Continue reading

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real virtual car

Taking a Virtual Car out into the Real world and having fun with it, or is it the other way around? “Just came back home, checked the blog and saw something strange—comments…↑[…]“—Somenight at 3AM the veteran geeks over at ↑The Real Virtual Car Project decided to make a car simulator and to build it inside a real car. So they haunted several junk yards and finally fell for a Renault Megane. They took the wrecked car—which was involved in an accident—apart, and started to rebuild and stuffing it with electronics (the good part of which live in a bucket). A … Continue reading

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batconcept

Sing to the tune of Dylan’s ‘Rising Sun’: “There is a house down in Agatha | They call the ragin’ bull!” Seemingly it is cars week for me: Lamborghini has done it again, as they already did when I was kid. Back in 1971 the first prototype of the ↑ Countach was introduced—the futuristic aztec architecture flabbergasted the audience, and several years later, when it went into production and on sale, us kids, too. We were standing at our preferred kiosk and wondered at glossy magazine pictures of that supercar of a never-seen-before kind. The car-magazines featuring the Countach even … Continue reading

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