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Considering the availability of new visual technologies, the panel seeks to explore the meaning of doing visual ethnography in the time of contemporary visual production's 'habitus' and its relation with ethnographic and documentary film festivals.
The availability of new technologies, such as 360º, 4K, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality seem to facilitate the data collection, offering the opportunity to explore wider and/or non-linear ways of ethnographic representations (Grasseni, Walter 2014; Favero 2014).
Meanwhile, documentary and ethnographic film festivals seem to welcome a new wave of non-fictional cinema imbued with a sensorial and aesthetic enchantment. This new wave, aiming at looking with an intimate gaze at the everyday life, seems to produce a sort of 'exotic gaze' towards the people it works with. Furthermore, in this film-production seems possible to detect the traces of an aesthetic canon influenced by the contemporary 'habitus' of the new digital media practices and of TV-shows.
These processes urge us to re-think under a new perspective the debate on the relationship between documentary cinema and visual ethnography that drained its development at the beginning of the 1990s (Ruby 2000).
Thus, the panel welcome contributions from visual anthropologists that seek to critically reflect on the following questions:
- Which are the challenges and/or solutions offered by new technologies in doing visual ethnography today?
- In which ways visual ethnographic practices relate to the viewer's expectations?
- In which ways new technologies and/or non-linear representations could contribute to redefining the gaze in visual ethnography?
- How can visual ethnography detach from the exotic gaze widespread in the new non-fictional cinema?
- Which are the cultural and academic policies that encourage the above-outlined tendencies in film festivals?