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Accepted Paper:

In a silent way: Ethnographic representations and aural environment in the biographical video interviews  

Author:

Francesco Bachis (Università di Cagliari)

Paper short abstract:

Through an experimental form of analysis and ethnographic representation based on the screening of moments of silence produced during biographical interviews, the paper aims to rethink the video interviews as a multi-sensorial moment.

Paper long abstract:

The setting of life histories is conceived like a "place of silence", in which technical tools and ethnographer's skills contribute to reducing the background noises. However, in ethnography, "silence" can be read not only as an absence of communication - although that could also be assumed as significant (Basso 1970; Williams 1993) -, but as an aural field to explore, with its soundscapes and corporeal signals.

Arising from a sort of "reaction" to the "textual turn" (Ferrarini 2017), the sensory ethnography does not seem to pay enough attention to the interview, its context, and its methodology. If the use of video makes it possible to bring out the topic of narrative performance in the interview and the camera as a non-human agent of knowledge co-production (Pink 2004), less attention is paid to the aural environment in which it takes place.

Through an experimental form of analysis and ethnographic representation based on the screening of moments of silence produced during biographical interviews collected with former miners in Sardinia (Italy), the paper aims to rethink the video interview as a multi-sensorial moment. This «silence full of noise» (Cage 1977) brings out the "sounds" of the places and the bodies involved in the interview, prodding to rethink in a new way the provocative idea of John Cage's composition '4'33'.

Panel P089
Ethnography and new 'habitus' of visual productions