Pablo Fernandez Velasco - ‘Evenki wandering and situationist wandering’

This episode of Season 5 of the BSP Podcast features Pablo Fernandez Velasco, Institut Jean Nicod. The presentation is taken from our 2020 annual conference: ‘Engaged Phenomenology’ Online.


ABSTRACT: This paper provides a comparative phenomenological analysis of the navigational practices of Evenki reindeer herders in arctic Siberia and of the artistic dérives (drifting excercises) of the Situationist movement. This paper will build on an existing analysis of the phenomenology of disorientation (Fernandez 2020, which focused on the negative aspects of the phenomenon) and on ethnographic research among the Evenki natives of central Siberia. Evenki reindeer herders and hunters have unique navigation methods that result in a very special relationship to their environment. A central aspect of this relationship is the feeling of being ‘manakan’ (‘making your own way’ in Evenki language), a feeling of autonomy and independence. A study of Evenki navigational style and its relationship to manakan will serve to elucidate the workings behind the emergence of the positive aspects of spatial disorientation. Section 1 introduces the topic. Section 2 provides an overview of the phenomenology of spatial disorientation. In section 3, we will introduce the case of Evenki reindeer herders and hunters and discuss their navigational methods, using both our own ethnographic work and previously existing research. Section 4 will analyse the central features of the experience of manakan in Evenki culture and how it relates to the positive aspects of spatial disorientation. Section 5 will provide a conclusion and potential avenues for future research.


BIO: I am a doctoral researcher working at Institut Jean Nicod, an interdisciplinary research centre at the interface of philosophy and cognitive science. The focus of my work is on how space structures our experience of the world and of ourselves. The topic of my doctoral thesis is the phenomenology of spatial disorientation. Studying disorientation is studying how, through our bodies, culture and technology, we humans are connected to our environment, and what happens when this connection is weakened or severed.


This recording is taken from the BSP Annual Conference 2020 Online: 'Engaged Phenomenology'. Organised with the University of Exeter and sponsored by Egenis and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health. BSP2020AC was held online this year due to global concerns about the Coronavirus pandemic. For the conference our speakers recorded videos, our keynotes presented live over Zoom, and we also recorded some interviews online as well. Podcast episodes from BSP2020AC are soundtracks of those videos where we and the presenters feel the audio works as a standalone:


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