Photo by Catalina Cortes Severino.

Editors' Note

Siena’ga offers the home video as an ethnographic genre. A retrieval of family memories somewhere between Siena, Italy, and Ciénaga, Colombia, Siena'ga is a hybrid of sorts. The intensity of intimacy, of memory and its confusion refract and challenge ethnographic norms, but this is not why it is interesting. Cortés's movements with the camera—along with sparks of questions, occasional textual explanations, illustrations of another’s thought—feel spontaneous rather than didactic. Its diaristic quality proliferates: I feel compelled to take up my phone, to shoot a movie in spurts, to text its pieces to my friends, to post to social media not as a document of my life, but its double—a way of “making” something of it, cartographically. If Con-text-ure offers itself as a platform for edges, echoes, ways and sensuous makings, I think of Siena'ga as a permissive tool for further inquiry—like a cyanoscope that might measure the blue in the sky. Siena'ga's images are "completely saturated with impulses, intensities, sensations, encounters, compulsions, and dreams" (Cortés Severino 2019, 104). This is about ethnography as a way of moving about the edge of the world. The speed and volume at which this movement occurs may be the metrics for its “genre,” in which case, a method—how to prove what is bluer than blue—demonstrates the verisimilitude inherent in both scientific and poetic inquiry.


Cortés Severino, Catalina. 2019. Hacia el Giro Corporal en la Antropología Visual: Imágenes, Sentidos y Corporalidades en la Colombia Contemporánea. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

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Siena’ga es el resultado de un proceso que comenzó con un acercamiento a un evento familiar, a manera de diario/home movie, solo para que el resto de mi familia... More