Monday, December 27, 2021

From a strange planet - 44

Today we once again follow highway E39. Supposedly it is 1100 km long and runs through six counties and fifty municipalities. Total travel time is around 21 hours, including seven different ferry  connections. But we travel just a fragment of it's length, because we take several side roads. During our trip we see some beautiful landscapes, far away from the cities. And we explore the local dead ends of streetview.

 E39 Osestad - Google Streetview

In this webcam view we see a hilly landscape and we see the main road going off to the left. But on the right we see an unpaved rural road going up the slope. We cannot follow this road on Streetview and we don't know where it's going. This gives some mystery to this picture, especially because this side road is obscured by trees and we can't see it clearly.

The side road is partially hidden and the feeling of mystery is intensified in winter, when the snow has fallen. The road looks more inaccessible and unused. It must go to a very lonely place. 
On Google Street View we can follow this side road for a short while, before it branches off to the right and we lose sight of it. But still, we don't see where it goes.
While exploring the surroundings we see beautiful fjords and birch trees with autumn colours. The landscape looks calm. Somewhere here the endpoint of the side road is hidden from view.
Could it look like this?
The local museum has a nice mysterious picture form this area.
Lindesnes Bygdemuseum - Den gamle alma i Osestadbakken
The photographer is unknown.

E39 Vatland - Google streetview

We see a tunnel where nothing ever happens. In this picture the seasons change but the view stays practically the same. In winter there are some rays of sunlight that illuminate the snow and the box, but otherwise nothing much happens.

We are far away from everywhere. There are some houses in the woods and they are far from the road. They hide in the woods and watch us with weary eyes. They are inaccessible from Google Streetview. They sleep in winter.

We see a wide asphalt road going off toward the horizon and a wide road going off to the left. We are not interested in these. We are interested in the side roads. Two side roads are going up the hill, one to the left and one to the right. There is a house with parked cars.

In winter, when snow falls, left road looks darker and more mysterious as it vanishes into the wooded hills. We cannot follow that road on Streetview.
But we can go right and we can go a uphill until we finish at a dead end in the woods. I love those silent landscapes. Maybe I'm the only one who sees this stored data, who sees the information in this frozen landscape of Streetview. Here I share it with you,

The local dead ends of Streetview

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Secret knowledge

Secrets as power boosters - a random find

The most powerful and sacred knowledge is considered secret, which is used to bolster the status of certain elders and chiefs. Just as the chiefs are protected from the profane world by the mediation of their akyeame or spokesmen (Yankah 1995), so too are powerful objects and events kept hidden and protected by indirection and secrecy. Most cultural and historical knowledge is considered to be secret and held by the elders; thus, it is called mpanyinsεm or elders’ matters.

Note that these poems contradict the message of the elders as cited in the article.
In the poem the elders say that the past is important. In reality they don't want to talk about it.

The secret nature of this knowledge is noted by authors in books that make that knowledge public. In the preface to a popular book documenting the various festivals of Ghana, A. A. Opoku (1970) wrote that it is difficult to give acknowledgments “in a book dealing with what is sacred and to some extent, secret in our cultural heritage.”

In a review of two books documenting different Akan festivals, I. E. Boama (1954) wrote:
Two Twi festivals which every Akan should try to watch are Adεε [Adae] and Odwira. But there are many people who even if they have seen these festivals, they have seen only a part. Because only insiders have permission to see the true [or pure] activities. . . . If you are a citizen [child of the nation], buy [these books] to read, and if you know your nation’s secrets, you won’t avoid them. (Translation from Twi by Afari Amoako and myself)
Cultural knowledge, at its deepest or most pure, was thus considered hidden, not accessible to outsiders; books documenting them violated that secrecy by describing rituals to nonroyals and youth.

Note that these poems contradict the message of the elders as cited in the article.
In the poem the elders say that the past is important. In reality they don't want to talk about it.

Some history was also considered secret. As we walked down the main street of Larteh one day, one of my key informants, Teacher Asiedu, told me about doing his senior thesis for Presbyterian Training College in 1957 on the history of Larteh, and he came to talk to one elder in his hometown.
The elder told him he would not tell him anything unless he brought drinks, and by the time he returned, the elder had died. Another elder would not tell him anything, and Teacher Asiedu, then a young man, rebuked him, saying,

“If you don’t tell, then how will the children learn?”
“Why wouldn’t they say anything?” I asked Teacher Asiedu in Twi.
“Wosuro” (they are afraid), he said.
“What were they afraid of?” I asked. He said that they were afraid that they would reveal something secret and the bosom (spirit) would punish them.
(Field notes, 19 February 1999)
The secrecy of certain historical and cultural knowledge allows powerful elders to manipulate important decisions regarding property rights and political positions, which are entwined with family genealogy and local history. As William Murphy (1980) points out, the content of the hidden knowledge does not matter as much as the privileged society the secrecy creates.


Learning How to Find Out: Theories of Knowledge and Learning in Field Research
CATI COE, Institute for Community Research
in FIELD METHODS, edited by H. Russell Bernard, Anthropology, University of Florida
Web link - PDF document

Dilemmas of Culture in African Schools: Youth, Nationalism, and the Transformation of Knowledge
Cati Coe, University of Chicago Press, 2005 - 241 pagina's

Sunday, December 12, 2021

From a strange planet- 43

Today we start from Ålesund. We go South along the E39. Then we go East along the Fv. 60 and East/North along the Fv. 63. We visit many out-of-the-way places and go into the mountains. We see these places with and without snow. A fitting trip for this time of Advent.

 E39 Flåskjer - Google streetview

Rv. 15 Markane - Google streetview

Fv. 60 Kjellstadlia - Google streetview

It's a two-way camera. You get different views, randomly.
A mirror pictured by the streetview car.
I could go all meta on this. But I won't.
There was already snow here in October.
There is more snow now.
The winding road, going down to the fjord, has some wonderful views.

Fv. 650 Liabygda - Google streetview

Snow was here in October.
There is more snow now.
A long road between featureless mountains.
Interesting sites are far away from here.
Beautiful green landscapes. And again an end-of-the road.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

From a strange planet - 45

More church cams from Ireland

Last time I told you how I discovered the Irish church webcams. I told you about the mysterious atmosphere of these churches by night. I told you about the altar lamps, burning above the tabernacle , and the silence and peace that these images exude.

Today I will show you more of these church interiors, both by night and by day. But I will also show you the exterior of these churches. Thankfully, Google streetview has covered Ireland, so I can show you the outsides belonging to these insides.

You already know my pictures of the Norwegian traffic cams. When I explore the surroundings of these cameras on Google streetview, I find original, unexpected and mysterious places.

But exploring the surroundings of these churches, I don't many similar places. I find relatively normal suburbs, and it takes more work to find a place with a special atmosphere.But I found them!

 Parish of Ballyclog & Donaghenry - Google streetview

This is a brutalist church with beautiful trees and lawns.
I like it.
And from the surroundings: a Hockney lane.

St Mary and St Joseph’s Church - Google streetview

This is a classic church, with a beautiful churchyard.
It has no spire. It feels a bit plump, but it has character.
And from the surroundings: artificial trees.

St. Theresa's - Google streetview

This is another brutalist church.
It is even more rectangular than the other brutalist church.
I like it also. If I had to choose, I would go to church here.
The spire in he background belongs to another church.
The spire does not belong to the Baptist church, just around the corner.
The spire belongs to the Presbyterian church, also around the corner.
And this must be "Sion Mills".