“TO ANTHROPOLOGISE FANTASY”. INTERPLAYS OF RESEARCH AND FICTIONAL FOLKLORE

Emilia Karjula

University of Jyväskylä

The title of my presentation (mis)reads and (re)writes a sentence in a volume of ethnographic research: “The anthropologisation of fantasy (…) is an unknown field in the history of our discipline”[note 1], writes the ethnologist Bo Lönnqvist (2006, 7). As a creative writer and researcher,this sentence has been haunting me. What if Lönnqvist´s words could be interpreted as a call for writers to do our fantasy work like anthropologists? This idea has had a major role in the creation of the artistic output of my creative writing PhD. A work of surrealist fantasy, the Museion Tarot consists of 78 cards by visual artist Eero Merimaa and 78 accompanying texts written by me. The work will be realised as a gallery exhibition, a physical object (a deck of cards) as well as multi-disciplinary arts workshops.

The frame story of Museion Tarot rewrites classical mythology: the main characters are the nine muses, daughters of Mnemosyne, the goddess of Memory, and Zeus himself. The central location is Museion, a living building built to protect the muses as they feel terribly guilty about killing their sister, the Moon, who nonetheless lives in their well.

In writing the texts, I have drawn from my initial training as a folklorist. The traces of re-written or fictional folklore are clear in both the content and form of most of the texts, which can be fragments of,for example, fictional conversations, fairy tales and cautionary tales. Some also borrow from works of anthropological or folklorist research. My presentation will focus on what the “anthropologisation of fantasy” could mean for a writer, and how it plays out in the narrative strategies of three Museion Tarotcards: The Moon-Doll, The Blue-and-Black Cows of Lady Moon, and The Visitor.

Note:

”Fantasian antropologisointi on – eräitä kulttuuri-ilmiöitä lukuun ottamatta – tuntematon kenttä oppialamme historiassa”. ”To anthropologise fantasy is – apart from some cultural phenomena – an unknown field in the history of our discipline.” (translation EK). – Lönnqvist, Bo. 2006. ”Villiyden maisema – etnologian ydin”. In Autenttinen ihminen. Tulkintoja irtautumisen etnografiasta, edited by Bo Lönnqvist and Laura Aro, 7–17. Jyväskylä: Atena.