Accepted paper:

How to decorate the interior of an ethnographic episteme


Alberto Corsin Jimenez (Spanish National Research Council (CSIC))

Paper short abstract:

The paper describes a collaborative project between anthropologists, artists and architects in developing an open-source urban pedagogy. Open-sourcing the ethnographic method, it is suggested, makes it confront its epistemics as an architectural and interior design challenge.

Paper long abstract:

This paper describes a collaborative research project we are currently developing with two architectural and art collectives, Basurama and Zuloark, in Madrid. Originally conceived as a conceptual workshop for thinking through the challenges of open-source architectural and urban projects, the platform has since expanded into a 'prototype' for experimental urbanism at large. Thus, over the past two years the project has mutated and migrated, in form and space. Our platform has been recruited by, or enlisted to a variety of initiatives: as a training workshop on do-it-yourself architectural techniques for Madrid Occupy assemblies; as a 'citizens panel' to help City Hall consult on matters of participatory urbanism; or as a grassroots urban interventionist project at an art centre. The collaborative project has therefore become a prototype - a boundary object in permanent 'beta' - for intervening in and through the experimental fabric of the urban condition. The paper reflects on the latest form the project has assumed when turned into an itinerant academic seminar on boundary-experiments in the city. Under the name, 'Taking critique out for a walk', the seminar, which took place in the open air at various squares and sites in Madrid throughout the spring of 2013, offers a privilege vantage point from which to explore the contemporary status of anthropological experimentation as itself a project in the interior decoration of epistemes.

panel P52
Art, politics, ethnography