10:46:30 pmCategories: Anthropological notes

Presentation presence - and Catania!

It’s not always easy to say why some presentations feel like they go well while others feel just bland and indifferent.

In Maynooth, I wasn’t stressed by restless movements among the audience or anything, but neither did I feel that I nor the audience was present in what I was telling them. I don’t know why. This time, I’d even had others to read the paper in advance, and they all said that it was ok and well-written and all that. But then, it was something that failed. Or, I felt that it was something that failed in my attempt to put something across.

Sweden some weeks earlier, it was the other way around. I was less sure about my paper, but during the presentation I felt there was something there, some kind of spark, between my words and the audience. I felt present in what I was doing and I felt… perhaps listened to? (Even thought I noticed very well each movement people made in their chairs.) Strange. Maybe that’s what is meant by the “stage presence” in English and French? To believe in one’s words and impersonate what one wants to convey probably have a lot to say. The two texts I recited in Linköping are two of my favourite slam texts (by “7:28” by Ucoc Lai and “L’Hiver Peul” by Souleymane Diamanka), and they bore their message, despite my lousy translation.

But I’ll get the chance to test my theories of presence again soon. First on a Scandinavian library conference here in Oslo (with the paper: ”The library and suburban place-making: An escape or a source for belonging and community?”…) and then – oh my, how much I’m looking forward to seeing the Ionian sea again, this time from the foot of Mount Etna – on a conference on borders, in Sicily in January (my paper: “The borders of Frenchness: Lines of inclusion and exclusion in Paris and her suburbs”).

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