General Anthropology Division
Group Flash Presentation Session
What is it to be moved by, and to live at the behest of, those not simply available to shared regimes of visibility and tangibility? Through a series of images from rural central China, this presentation will consider themes of duty and care in spirit mediumship through the lending of one’s body to beings that lack their own, the guarding of space through attentiveness to otherworldly signals, and modes of tending-toward that mark a transfer of desire and demand from one realm to another. The scopic and the hermeneutic meet through the materiality of ritual things and human bodies, presencing a spectral realm that mirrors the human one, including the Communist state. At the same time, reluctance and refusal saturate origin laments of becoming-medium. In contradistinction from religious engagements centered on sincerity, the torment accompanying non-desire and loss of self-mastery are not contrary to, but at the heart of such otherworldly ethics.