Dam Visions

Kathrin Eitel
EASST Review Volume 41(2) 2022

Honourable Mention – Flash Fiction – Kathrin Eitel

What Kasio saw was impressive. Ngo had become really adept at visualizing stories and songs she had recorded that were full of hopes and fears for the future. He put in his VR contact lenses and clicked through different characters. In each scenario, he saw the dam he had built to keep the floods away from the city.

There was a little boy with green eyes that reminded him of a lagoon. He showed him his family, and the hand-woven fishing baskets that were empty and remained so. As the boy grew older, he moved across the dam to the city. Uprooted from his traditions and the footsteps he once should have followed, he stumbled through the noisy life of the big city, which crushed him with a hiss. When he returned to his village one day, he found nothing left but the bamboo poles of his parents’ house and the old altar, on the sides of which the remains of the once engraved fishes were still visible. Their gods and mediators.

Kasio shivered as he took off his lenses. 

It was known to them that the fish population would be drastically reduced by the construction of the dam since the natural waterways would be blocked by it. They had also already developed solutions. But they had not considered that whole customs and identities could be disconnected. At least, it had not been so apparent to him.

“Alright”, he said to Ngo. “I want to know what you propose.”

Author information

Kathrin Eitel is a cultural anthropologist and feminist STS scholar currently working at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies at the University of Zurich. Her work focuses on urban resilience, technological megaprojects, and resource scarcity, mainly in Southeast Asia and Europe. Kathrin is currently very interested in the different forms anthropological knowledge can take and the impact collaborative and transdisciplinary projects can have on social inequalities, (post)colonial structures, and the effects of climate change. Twitter: @kathrin.eitel


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