weaving ethnography/art

In response to the issue of artists doing ethnography , I summarise here three issues of relevance that result from my reading of Cinzia and Lili stimulating posts:

-data collection
As stated by Cinzia, “artists’ methods do not often include ‘collecting data’ as such. My practice in particular is not focused onto observing a subject, but on acting as one and interacting with other subjects.”
A relevant point, however practice based art research, is frequently developed from evidence – the art work as a collection of evidence (of a research question, an exploration, etc), and often the academic discourse surrounding it builds up on such empirical mode, thus the need to understand ethnographic methodologies;

As Lili writes, “Concerning my practice, theory and knowledge actually emerge from my own investigation. First I move rather intuitively, I follow an ‘image’ that leads me to another stage, and so forth, until I find myself in a place where I can see more clearly.”
It is fine to mix and match the methodologies that are relevant to your practice, as grounded theory and actor-network-theory assert, thus the interest of these two approaches to art-based research practice. For me the interest in stating your methodology in reference to these approaches is that you assert your position, a major tenet in critical reflection as it situates you in the academic discourse;

In the wide spectrum of participant-observation –from no immersion to total immersion if the subject of study, autoethnography s a very interesting option if you intend to account for your presence in the field of research. It is now widely used in qualitative studies pertaining to new media studies, particularly involving the area of sociable media.

As an introduction to this week’s session I would like to recommend we focus on the readings pertaining to our practice.

For Cinzia, I would suggest the works you mention in your comment:

José Esteban Muñoz: Disidentifications

chpt 3: Porn Punk and Ethnography (autoethnography, pornography, Asian)

C Hansen, C Needham and B Nichols Pornography, Ethnography and the Discourses of Power, in B Nichols Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary, 1992, Indiana University Press

For Lili, I would concentrate on the area we outlined in our last meeting, on  the virtual:  image,  culture :

Boellstorff, T. 2008  Coming of Age in Second Life: An Anthropologist Explores the Virtually Human
Princeton University Press

The Subject and Scope of This Inquiry: Arrivals and departures—Everyday Second Life—Terms of discussion—The emergence of virtual worlds—The posthuman and the human—What this, a book, does.

Prehistories of the virtual–Histories of virtual technology–A personal virtual history–Histories of virtual worlds–Histories of cybersociality research–Techne.

Please, outline the main concepts that ressonate with your project and present them in class for debate. Thank you! paula


About paula roush

I am a Lisbon-born artist based in London, UK. I am the founder of msdm, a platform for art practices that are mobile-strategies-[of]-display-[and]- mediation. It is a platform for both individual and collaborative work, shown in the context of exhibitions, publications, conferences and teaching/seminars. I work with photography, archives, found material and performance through editing strategies that investigate notions of authorship, authenticity, history and memory. I am interested in publishing as artists’ practice and as platform to explore the intersections between the roles of artist, editor and curator. My current projects look at ideas of (re) production in the work of art, resulting in publications in several formats that encompass the hand-made, the print on demand and the ebook.
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