Archives of Movement started in 2012, while I was moving across rural and urban Bangladesh with circular migrants to collect their everyday life experiences. Since 2013, as the focus extended to the Indian state of West Bengal, my curiosity to know more about the livelihoods of individuals that, often pushed by the sheer necessity to find work, are contributing to a reconfiguration of practices and meanings of production, consumption as well as of home and habitation, brought me up to 3,000kms away. People on the move – this is how they define themselves and how I like to think of them – are amazing individuals with eyes wide open on their countries’ transformations, prompted by locally and globally steered variations in economic, social and agricultural structures. Rather than the fruit of theoretical manipulation, their explanations of such transformations are shaped by quotidian struggle.
Archives of Movement deals, on the basis of these explanations and experiences, with issues that range from the effects of movement on urbanisation to the changing meaning and importance of dwelling in an era of extreme mobilisation. Yet like learning is always an exercise of filtration, translating is one of displacement: while rendering everyday life stories from one language, Bengali, to another, I realised I was shifting those stories from their own to other places – and this implied the loss of bits and pieces of everyday life wisdom that were just too precious to be made away with. At the same time, as in the wish to study movement empirically I had been experimenting with tools such as GPS tracking, video-making or mapping, I found myself confronted with qualitative/quantitative data partly complementing, partly contradicting itself. Hence this homepage. It opens up both everyday stories and the empirical materials for further elaboration, multidisciplinary expansion and of course, for imagination.