Silvia Martins
PhD Candidate
University of Manitoba, Canada
Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil


Embodied Realities

When I walked beside the São Francisco River (northeast Brazil) where I conduct field research, I saw a huge hand holding up the sky, and I was told that the whole scene was a sign. My intention to register images led me to select digital filmic recorded images. The scene to the right shows a landscape and it reflects my own and other people's embodiment. Therefore, I consider it to be a cultural scene.

This scene can also be an example of mystical experiences. It registered while I was talking to a woman who is one of my case studies. She considered it to be seen as a warning sign. I felt that she was frightened, although she could not interpret the sign.

I understand that mystical embodiment experience reflects concrete ecological changes caused by seven hydroelectric projects through the São Francisco's course. These changes have affected agricultural exploitation of the river's edge with the lack of fishing and along the river small sand islands have emerged, causing a continued metamorphosis of the river.

Although I consider this view a beautiful landscape, it entails embodied mystical experience of fear. This feeling has been experienced not only when the sky evokes it, but also as a reality alive in native people's concrete daily life.

I have recorded digital images to register Kariri-Shocó cultural settings and cure-healing practices for analysis. I respect confidentiality and anonymity, according to ethics research concerns.