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Accepted Paper:

On the mode of existence of new visual technologies  

Author:

Julie Peruch (EHESS, Paris. Institut Interdisciplinaire d'Anthropologie de Contemporain)

Paper short abstract:

Visual technologies should not erase the fact that it is up to the anthropologist to define his or her intellectual positioning regarding its practices. A reasoned justification of his shooting tools choices allow to reposition visual ethnography within a scientific perspective.

Paper long abstract:

The production of exotism, in visual knowledges' circulations, is crossed by many factors. The marketing of ethnographic films in festivals and broadcast networks contributes to producing sensationalist aesthetics themselves source of exotism. This dynamic comes with a concern of industrial competitively in mind, from shooting tools manufacturers. Their main selling point is their ability to come up with a machine capable of reproducing visual perception. However, we can note that the mechanics of the first cameras allowed, in equal measure, to manipulate light and perspective compared to knowledges on visual perception (Crary, 1990). The issue of exotism does not lie in the novelty of shooting objects but rather in the users of those technologies. In my PhD research, my principal interest is the use of shooting tools in French cinema. My fieldwork highlights the fact that objects are invested with representations which condition its uses. Visual technologies constitute work tools which should not erase the fact that it is up to the anthropologist to define his or her intellectual positioning regarding its practices. With the same rigor required when using scientific terms, a demanding training and a reasoned justification of his or her shooting tools choices allow to reposition visual ethnography within a scientific perspective. This approach must be defended within knowledge broadcast networks.

Panel P089
Ethnography and new 'habitus' of visual productions