Seminar at Harvard – Monday, October 22, 2012, 4-6 PM


Networking Frenzy + Fieldwork videos

I’ve gone into a networking frenzy today, and finally signed up for Twitter (see sidebar).

I also set up a Maria Sonevytsky youtube channel, where I’ve posted three short videos from some of my fieldwork in Ukraine in 2008-2009.

What prompted this manic surge of virtual activity? One word: Prezi.

I saw a presentation at the Society for Ethnomusicology conference last November that blew my mind, not necessarily for the ethnomusicology of it (though I recall that it was actually cool), but for the swooping, soaring visual design of the presentation. Definitely not Power Point. I asked the young woman what the program was called – Prezi – and then forgot about it until yesterday.

Yesterday, I sat down to make my dissertation defense presentation – because that is happening on FRIDAY, hip hip! – and attempted to make my power point program swoop into my map of Ukraine. No dice. My brain fog lifted for just long enough that I remembered of a swooping visually-driven presentation program, and I tracked it down on the internet. Prezi. Free for educators! Yes!

And then, excited to make something visually alluring, I started combing through field materials, discovering gems that I haven’t listened to recently. And I made an insane (but visually engaging) Prezi presentation, 10% of which I will actually be able to show on Friday. But never mind!  I also edited together a few short videos, now on my youtube channel, and then decided that the most appropriate course of action was to tweet to nobody about that.

The first film I edited together features Mykhailo Nechay, the last Hutsul mol’far (shaman), who was brutally murdered in his home July. (There’s a detailed Ukrainian-language article about the murder here.) I visited him numerous times over the last three years, sometimes bringing my American friends to have their future’s prophesied – he is also one of the main subjects of the first chapter of my dissertation. I was really shocked and disturbed to learn of this tragedy. He was an individual with wide and inclusive beliefs, a practitioner of native and spiritual healing who considered himself both Christian and pagan. I use the language of Ukrainian Christianity to say, Вічная пам’ять.