As spring approaches, my brain naturally begins planning for the summer. I’ve been applying, interviewing, and assessing what exactly I want to do to stay mentally engaged for 4 months. One opportunity that’s come up is curating the narratives of people living in an environmentally collapsing city in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. In short, I would be responsible for compiling written statements, audio clips of interviews, and thousands of pictures onto website in attempts to aggregate a digital history for this underrepresented group. Much like the last two readings about visualization, I would be tasked with having to find effective and meaningful ways to display this information. To me, the job description alone sounds scary. However, after meeting with the coordinator for this project, she explained that there are even more challenges than putting that history on a platform. She explained the extents we would have to go to digitalize these narratives in their complete authenticity, no easy task when translating from Spanish to English. Even moreso, there were indigenous Afro-Ecuadorian groups that have a very particular dialect that contains words with slurred meanings
During our meeting, a lot of the terms from this weeks reading came up. I recalled the coordinator—a geography professor—using terms like indigenous knowledge and variations of classification of knowledge. I felt those words were very ambiguous, but the coordinator used them with the same meticulous connation as the authors of Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies. This brought up a lot of questions for me. What are the commonalities of preserving history? In what way is visualization or visual arts a tool to curating narratives or underrepresented histories? In what ways is it a hindrance?