An Embodied Methodology of Peripheral Experiments in Design Ethnography
(Open University )
Elisenda Ardèvol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the relations between design and ethnography drawing on an experience of learning design through ethnography by exploring the notion of "peripheral experiments" focusing on the epistemological dimensions and their implications for enriching design-practices based interventions.
Paper long abstract:
Exploring the infrastructures, spaces, forms of relationship and methods of ethnography, we'll try to de-coding an open and experimental sensibility in fieldwork, shifting its focus from the process of writing to the embodied practice of the fieldwork in the public space. We depart from an earlier emphasis on city as context from thinking-doing (Ingold 2013) to explore through senses, patterns and the body the correspondence in unknown encounters. Infrastructuring relations, conversations and sentient attention through ethnography in a design process, we aim to understand the correspondences from design to ethnography and vice-versa. While "experimental collaborations" (Estalella and Sanchez-Criado, 2015) goes beyond observational and individualistic ways of fieldwork, the notion of "pheriperial experiments" helps foster new forms of design ethnography theorization, bringing the creative process from an individual sense-making to a collective creativity open-ended design intervention. "Peripheral" experiments situate the body as a strategy of resistance and openness -the unknown territory of the no-verbal, de-centering the field work experience from the need of verbal accounts and rational knowledge production. Collaboration is then a method and a matter of survival to start conversations and exploring with "the others" embracing the strange and the unknown. The fieldwork become the place and the medium of the new collaborative scenarios where the design practices are leaded by ethnographic principles that, reshaping the open design interventions, are operating as a learning system of embodied knowledge.
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