Author:Andrew Irving (University of Manchester)
Paper short abstract:
The paper suggests that if different sensory experiences embody different kinds of knowledge, then we need to develop new practices, methods and forms of representation that are not simply based in image, text, writing or correspondence theories of truth but creatively combine their properties.
Paper long abstract:
This paper addresses a series of questions, currently being explored in the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology at the University of Manchester, concerning the relationship between current anthropological understandings of the world, visual and sensory perception, art and aesthetics. It suggests that if different sensory experiences embody different kinds of knowledge, then we need to develop new practices, methods and forms of representation that are not simply based in image, text, writing or correspondence theories of truth but creatively combine their properties. Visual Anthropology has always been a misnomer insofar as sound and other properties have long been recognized as fundamental to the films that have defined the Granada Centre since its inception in 1987. With the formation of a new research centre EIDOS, dedicated to research based around ethnography, images, documentary, objects and the senses, the Granada Centre seeks to usher in a critical development in our ways of knowing , that we argue must take place not merely at the level of theory and representation but also through innovative fieldwork methods and media practices. By employing such an approach, contemporary theoretical, critical and philosophical questions might usefully be transformed into anthropological questions and developed ethnographically. How might, for example, we combine image and sound, object and text, body and voice, during fieldwork and representation to better understand the corporeal dimensions of social life or explore the relationship between the interiority of a person's experience and its exteriority that is present to the eye, the ear and other sense organs that make it 'open' to anthropological documentation, theorisation and representation?
Twenty years of teaching visual anthropology: where are we and how did we get there?