current issue

Vol. 2, Issue 1. (Spring, 2019)

ISSN 2516-5860

 

Editorial
Another review process is possible 1-5
Sevasti-Melissa Nolas and Christos Varvantakis pdf HTML

 

Récits
‘Hot bubbly poo’ navigating children’s scatalogical language in school 6-10
Perpetua Kirby pdf HTML
abstract

This paper examines children’s use of scatological language, encountered during an ethnography in a primary school. The humour and emotion of such language conveys something of the power and hierarchy in schools, including my own research practices. Scatological language offers children a trope for achieving shared moments of humour with the researcher, and a way to navigate the research relationship and the emotions of their participation. The paper illustrates how attending to these practices and affects can support children to renegotiate what they can do and be within school research contexts. 

 

 

A tale of two families: chance and serendipity in researching food poverty 11-15
Vasco Ramos pdf HTML
 

 

What do carrier bags say? 16-21
Runa Das Chaudhuri pdf HTML
abstract

This récit accounts for the many interesting biographies of plastic carrier bags with and without brand logos in the Indian city of Kolkata. It maps where these bags travel as mobile objects and the uses they are put to in the public everyday lives of the Bengali middle classes. For this purpose, it focuses on an ethnographic episode concerning the Bengali pre-wedding custom of tattva-sajano where packing and unpacking of gifts are ceremonial. The conversation analysis of women engaged in this occasion render a distinct sense of ‘bagarchy’ i.e., a stratified world of carrier bags where the disposition of each depends on its label tag, if any and the subsequent uses and reuses which it serves.

 

 

Crop zoom delete: experiments with children as classroom photographers 22-27
Paulina Semenec pdf HTML
abstract

What happens when children become ‘classroom photographers’? This paper traces the often strange encounters that photo-making practices with children invites. Drawing on data from a year-long ethnographic study, I suggest that becoming attuned to encounters and processes of image-making (as opposed to the image itself) can provide researchers with new ways of engaging with children; ones in which the traditional binaries between the ‘child’ and ‘researcher’ are always in the process of being re-imagined.

 

 

Fragements of a life: the wrestler and the wounded boy – revealing the complexities of young migrants as political subjects through art 28-33
Sarah Walker pdf HTML
abstract

This paper discusses the use of art in research with young West African men (aged 14-21) who have made the perilous illegalised journey to Italy. Drawing on findings from PhD fieldwork using a variety of visual methods, the paper examines how art can function as an entry point to different life worlds. It argues this encounter has the potential to create a space in which we might reach a ‘shared imagination’. It explores the use of art in the research process itself, as well as the co-production of a public art exhibition.

 

 

Walking in Tirana: spatio-temporal unfoldings in the cul-de-sacs 34-40
Arba Bekteshi and Fiona Mino pdf HTML
abstract

Employing psychogeographical walking as an ethnographic method to investigate changes brought by the recent aggressive development of the city and a way of critical surveying the affectivities of the city as inspired by architectural learning techniques, together with photos and path registration, we make reference to old maps as per different town-plans to argue that Tirana can be experienced through its sensorial attributes. Our walking exercise, as a mapping of the city’s inhabitants’ gestures of enlarging gardens until cul-de-sacs are formed, unfold a spatio-temporal schizocartography. we might reach a ‘shared imagination’. It explores the use of art in the research process itself, as well as the co-production of a public art exhibition.

 

 

Expériences
Supervision arrangements: methodological experiences and (in)decisions on researching affective entanglements 41-58
Georgios Kesisoglou and Philia Issari pdf HTML
abstract

In our submission, we explore a set of (in)decisions coming from the first author’s expérience in the supervision arrangements of humanitarian professionals employed by N.G.Os in Greece to provide mental health care for refugees and migrants. Drawing on a fieldwork example from a postdoctoral research project on the affective/discursive practices of mental health professionals, we aim to highlight a multimodal way to analyse emergent affective entanglements as situated practices. In our example, we use an emotion episode during the first day of fieldwork, where the supervision discussion revolved around the accounts, affects and proposals of the participants on the organisational mess created the previous day in the N.G.Os healthcare services by a refugee: she did not receive her prescription, as she requested, so she exploded and created a fuss. This incident affected all the participants, so they brought it forth in the supervision discussion. Through this episode, we explore the meaningful multimodal integration of data: the depiction of the material arrangement of the supervision through photographs, the aural data coming from the soundscape created through the digital recording, the textual data coming from the transcription of the recorded supervision interaction, and last but not least, a pitch analysis of the emergent and in situ voicing of an affective/discursive practice of indignation by a participant. In this way, we aim to advance a way to infuse some multi-modal thinking on the critical discursive psychological analysis of affective/discursive practices.

 

 

Bodies of knowledge: towards an anthropology of making 59-75
Michele Avis Feder-Nadoff pdf HTML
abstract

In recent years, making has become popular, (re)seen as a hopeful, even ecological and political enterprise, whose processes enact natural correspondences and flows between peoples, places, materials and things (Ingold, 2013; Marchand, 2010; Gell, 1998). Yet, these assemblages also rupture, generating friction, resistance, transformation or irrevocable schism (Turner, 1969; Conquergood and Hamera, J., 2004). And then, materials also shift; like people and places they are always transforming. People and tools also break down, become injured or age. Making assemblages (and their knowledge- and identity-making processes) may also challenge by provoking scholarly onto-epistemic frameworks for carrying out “scientific” research. A focus on artisan production can open up an interdisciplinary academic space where the empirical precision of the scientist may be brought into dialogue with the speculative imagination of makers. The coppersmiths “learning by doing,” does not conclude, ending in a finished object but rather begins anew in their proceeding creation. This artisanal methodology, inherent to making, offers new ways to think about learning and cognitive processes. This paper begins this discussion.

 

 

Taquerías Conversas: Latinx immigrants remake the flickering urban landscape of Phoenix 76-96
Kristin Koptiuch pdf HTML
abstract

Dynamic digital visualization modeled after the erstwhile social media app Vine provokes unexpected insight into Latinx immigrants’ vibrant impact on Arizona cityscapes. The author’s para-cinematic micro-movie loops track the affective resonances elicited by an evocative form of the architectural uncanny that haunts everyday urbanism in metro Phoenix: taquerias. Intensive immigration brought drive-thru Mexican taquerias, which commonly inhabit structures abandoned by iconic American (now global) fast-food chains (DQ, BK, KFC…), colonizing dead spaces abandoned by sprawl’s centrifugal pull. Taquerias have helped to revive stagnant neighborhood economies, catered to an immigrant-inflected palate, and added Latin cultural flair to Phoenix’s subdued design palette. The movie loops endlessly reenact the “conversion” from fast-food chain to taqueria, performatively disclosing the homely architecture “buried alive” beneath Mexicanized, magical-realist redesign. Like a surrealist’s found object, taquerias conversas trigger affective associations as they conjure prosthetic links to the city’s (Mexican, indigenous) past and inscribe border-crossing transnationalization into vernacular city spaces. As Latinx irrefutably remake the city, many Anglo Phoenicians experience an unsettling psycho-spatial estrangement. By adopting a multimodal approach, the performative effects of the video loops create a dizzying affective experience for the reader, modeling the similarly unsettling experience of driving through the changing Phoenix cityscape. Taquerias conversas upend dominant place-making dynamics, setting in play a migrant-driven, insurgent urbanism that swerves beyond city boosters’ defensive vision of sundrenched uniformity toward embracing a complex, inclusive, transnationalized urban future.

 

 

Going gonzo: toward a performative practice in multimodal ethnography 97-110
Taylor R. Genovese pdf HTML
abstract

In an unconventional anthropological provocation that fuses (visual) narrative with analysis, this article discusses the ways in which living history as a playfully performative—but intellectually and materially rigorous—hobby can entangle with multimodal anthropology in ways that produce mutually beneficial embodied practices. Pulling from performance theory and Flyvbjerg’s (2001) theorization of a phronetic social science, it is argued that anthropologists should adopt an external performative practice in addition to conducting ethnographic research. By doing so, it allows anthropologists to deal with the uncertainty and vicissitudes of ethnographic fieldwork while cultivating a rewarding external performative practice. Likewise, an anthropologist’s chosen external performative practice helps to build confidence and develop extra-ethnographic skillsets for one’s primary research. However, this approach carries with it political and ethical pitfalls; namely, the risk of losing sight of one’s positionality as a researcher. Through an infusion of concepts like ethnographic refusal and anti-hegemonic phronesis, multimodal ethnography, and its partnered external performative practice(s), can become modes for equity, liberation, and justice

 

 

The (im)possibilities of social justice through Alternative Justice in the San Francisco Bay Area 111-125
Amanda J. Reinke pdf HTML
abstract

For decades, the San Francisco Bay Area has been a focal point for social justice initiatives and social change in the United States. Activists for racial justice, peace, sexual liberation, and access to healthcare have pervaded the region, using the media as well as their bodies and voices to reshape politics and the landscape. This visible and widespread social critique and activism in the region has transformed conceptualizations of justice. Alternative justice models – informal frameworks for conflict resolution ideally envisioned as outside purview of formal law and the legal system – have become increasingly common mechanisms to combat the deleterious effects of state justice systems in the region. In this article, I use 14 months of ethnographic research and applied anthropological work in the Bay Area to analyze the role of the presence and absence of images and direct action efforts in social justice work. This piece uses insights and findings from this fieldwork to ask: what is the role of images in social justice endeavors? What role does the absence of images in social justice endeavors play for alternative justice organizations and practitioners?

 

 

The cabinet of curiosities: between curatorial and ethnographic practice 126-142
Axelle Van Wynsberghe pdf HTML
abstract

As researcher and co-curator of Creative Coding Utrecht’s HELLO WORLD! exhibition, I produced the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, a multimodal space in the exhibition through which audience members explored the tools and practices of creative coding. Creative coding is an interdisciplinary practice whose works treat digital technologies as material for creative practice. The community that has established itself in the Netherlands is composed of a range of creatives: they are artists, designers, programmers, performers, musicians, scientists, and craftsmen. From the Cabinet of Curiosities emerges an intricate collection of stories that challenge conceptions of technology as ‘rational’, ‘objective’, or ‘neutral’. It revisits the 19th century wunderkammer as a way to classify and recompose knowledge and address the technic and aesthetic as intimately intertwined. This paper suggests that creative coders’ correspondence with digital technologies illustrates their processual and relational nature, and offers further insight into novel forms of ethnographic approaches to the digital in line with New Materialist understandings of matter. Positioning technology as a form of inquiry, this paper addresses creative coding as part of an ontological search for how we relate to the world around us. Composed of physical tools, software screenshots and demos, prototypes, exhibition videos and interactive puzzles, the cabinet immerses the audience into the experiments and works of creative coding culture. It showcases the process of making as a ‘weaving together’ of artifacts that ‘momentarily hang together and coheres’ and invites the audience to think together with them (Ingold, 2013).

 

 

Multimodal spaces, atmospheres, modulations. Experiencing the independent electronic music scene of Sao Paulo 143-160
Mihai Andrei Leaha pdf HTML
abstract

The article explores the Sao Paulo independent music scene in the form of a collaborative evocation and multimedia experimentation of the relationship between spaces of music listening their scenography and architextural elements, and the movement of their inhabitants in relationship with the aural elements that stay at the core of an electronic music “festa”. The article assumes the agency of the researcher as an integral element of the collaborative endeavor and uses tools such as video, photography and sound as a research language. Therefore, the experience I propose is a multilayered experimental way of talking about local music participation in the Sao Paulo electronic music scene by introducing multimodal accounts that vary from fieldnotes poetry, photography, collaborative videos, collaborative stories of participation at parties, sound recordings etc. The technological mediation of the embodied experiences in electronic music participation must be addressed multimodally. Together with producers and participants, the experience I propose will share part of our participation and technological entanglements in the field.

 

 

Researching children’s music making: a look from the in betweens 161-172
Paula Bessa Braz pdf HTML
abstract

This piece reflects upon a research at a musical education project located at a neighborhood distinguished by its inequality and social vulnerability, in Brazil. Organized by a family in their own house, the school is dedicated to the teaching of classical music to the peripheral youth, but is also the stage of many other activities that do not concern directly music teaching – the interactions between children and teens, their playing games, commenting between rehearsals, dancing, organizing parties and cooking. These moments become a significant part of their music making in daily life. By observing, pointing and using the engaging of the senses in four situations lived and shared with some of the children during the fieldwork, this piece intends to produce a multimodal account about the subject, also reflecting upon the status of the adult researcher on such an attempt.

 

 

Performing the indigenous city: collaborative ethnography, site specific performance and political imagination in Santiago, Chile 173-187
Olivia Casagrande and Roberto Cayuqueo Martínez pdf HTML
abstract

‘Santiago Waria, pueblo grande de Winkas’ is a site-specific performance elaborated during 2018 in Santiago de Chile, following the invisible memories and paths of the indigenous Mapuche diaspora through the urban landscape. Engaging with fiction, political imagination and collective memory, this article elaborates on the articulation of meanings within the shared spaces of this collectively constructed performance. Driving on the emergent interest on the imaginative, sensorial and performative dimensions of lived experience and experimental ethnographic practices (e.g. Crapanzano 2004; Pink 2009; Irving 2011 and 2013), this piece undertakes the challenge of a possible redefinition of the ethical-epistemological, political and poetical horizons of ethnographic knowledge and its contexts of production and reproduction. Moreover, working at the intersection of the materiality of urban spaces and lived experiences, and according equal weight to place and the built environment in establishing an understanding of people lives, we argue that the re-telling of an event in location generates certain forms of knowledge or experiences that would be less likely to emerge in another kind of methodological approach. As such, disrupting the linear unfolding of stories, we allow place to defy chronological order, enabling both different representations and modes of knowledge production, playing with connections, multiplicities, routings and imaginations.

 

 

Experiencing writing: lessons for multimodal ethnographers from audio describers of dance 188-201
Harshadha Balasubramanian pdf HTML
abstract

How to write about multi-modal experiences? That question is especially familiar to ethnography writers gathering non-textual data through visual, auditory, and haptic media, and it has long been asked by audio describers who put dance into words for blind and partially-sighted audiences. Here, descriptions of visual choreography must be written and orally delivered to complement sight-impaired audiences’ perceptions, such as sounds heard, vibrations felt, and affective atmosphere.

Through establishing a parallel between multi-modal ethnography and Audio Description (AD), this article recognises the challenges and possible strategies for capturing multi-modal experiences in writing, which remains academia’s most dominant medium. I draw on fieldwork amongst audio describers in London and Edinburgh, whose approach involves practising a deliberate sensitivity to the experience of writing, which they suggest is crucial to fully understanding the experiences produced by the dance performance being described. Transmitting these multi-modal experiences to sight-impaired audiences is best enabled, describers insist, if the act of writing is experienced and hence opened up to phenomenological possibilities, including describers embodying some of the dance moves in front of their computer screens whilst “trying to find the right words”. Writing, considered here as an act to be experienced by those doing it rather than as a mediating or representational tool, is a somatic, sensory, emplaced practice through which ethnography writers could be equipped to capture both the experiential nature of fieldwork and the multi-modality of those experiences.

 

 

Re-views
[Review] Nature Urbana The Brachen of Berlin 202-206
Matt Barlow pdf HTML
abstract

Since 1945 the urban spaces of Berlin have grown alongside a diverse range of botanical species, what might be thought of as remnants of a world war. Through this innovative and poetic documentary, geographer Matthew Gandy encourages us to think about nature in a different light, as integral to the development and enjoyment of public space. He does by investigating the botanical history of Berlin’s often neglected yet vital public spaces.

 

 

[Review] Vital bodies living with illness 207-210
Katalin Halász pdf HTML
abstract

This book review discusses Vital Bodies by Charlotte Bates, a notable visual sociology study on the self-caring practices of twelve participants living with a chronic illness. The author masterfully engages with the sensorial capacities of a wide range of methods, including video diaries, stills, polaroids, drawings and contributes to the expansion of sensuous scholarship.

 

 

[Review] Critical fabulations: reworking the methods and margins of design 211-214
Chris Scheidler pdf HTML