Participation in Electronic Modernity - Reflections Based on Ethnographic Research in Kinshasa

On May 9 2018, Katrien Pype delivered a key note at the Participatory Videofilm Festival #1 (organized by researchers at the University of Ghent, Belgium).

She introduced three different ways of alternative forms of "participation", beyond the act of filming and performing. First, her ethnographic research on the production of evangelizing television serials has drawn her attention to the fact that, if people act and watch filmed drama, this can have spiritual consequences. Participation in electronic modernity here also includes participation of one's soul, of spirits, and of invisible powers. Second, her research on political subjectivities in the Congolese blogosphere has pushed her to reconsider acts such as clicking and remediating digital content. Digital citationality, so she argues, connects to the emergence of the political subject in similar fashion as citing other people's voices construes the social person in local pedogagical understandings. Finally, participation by proxy, as informed by her research on elder people's usage of mobile phones (they often ask others to send text messages or make phone calls on their behalf) can often be the only way in which people can participate in electronic modernity while respecting local parameters of seniority and bigmanity.