“When we look […] we are putting ourselves in a sensory state that is at once one of vacancy and of heightened awareness.”

David MacDougall
(c) Ilinca Vânău
(c) Ilinca Vânău

I was born and raised in Romania. I left home just before turning 19 and spent 6 years learning about anthropology, film & documentary, and a tiny bit about linguistics, in Scotland and Denmark. In between, I had some necessary frugal backpacking breaks around North and South America (fortunately, before I learned how to make an On The Road-inspired travel vlog!).

My interests throughout this period were scattered, but connected in a way that would, with hindsight, make more sense:

  • an early fascination for the “virtual world”, having grown up with the internet as a huge presence in my life;
  • a similarly early fascination for anything supernatural and fairy-tale-like;
  • unintentional but cherished encounters with alternative lifestyles
  • and a deeply ingrained love for all things animalia 

It was during my graduate studies at Aarhus University where I finally began to make sense of my interests under the theoretical umbrella of post-humanism. What this means is that I strive to include non-human actors (animals, technology, plants, places etc) in my practice as much as human actors. I do so using audiovisual and digital tools, primarily.

Why Visual Anthropology?

“Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess.”

Margaret Mead

I call myself a visual anthropologist because I think in (moving) images, and because I spend all my time questioning how people interact with themselves, each other, their surroundings. My curiosity for life finds its best playground in audio-visual and interactive formats.

As cliché as it may sound, the world is oversaturated with images. We don’t always instinctively know how to relate to these images. People use visual and digital media in ways that can create empathy or, on the contrary, dissent. If the purpose of anthropology is to make the world safe for human differences, then we must embrace the potential of these audio-visual tools to tell human stories that open up the world.

My practice, then, seeks to understand and illuminate these cultural realities. I do so primarily by listening and by looking. By observing and participating. By critiquing the forms of representation.

How can I help you?

As an aspiring Jill of All Trades, I’m pretty handy with:

  • organising cultural events (film festivals, interactive exhibitions, talks etc)
  • researching, analysing & disseminating cultural experiences
  • translations & captions/subtitles
  • dog-walking 🐶
  • motivating people & maintaining collective focus
  • Trello boards & spreadsheets
  • communicating via emojis, GIFs & pop culture references

What is this website?

G L O W SOLE is a portfolio of my different trades.

Feel free to explore around & let me know if you encounter any issues or you’d simply like to say ‘Hi!’ 👋

(c) Ilinca Vânău