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Multimodal ethnography: Experiments on multiple spheres
Elisa T. Bertuzzo
(weißensee kunsthochschule berlin)
Paper short abstract:
Based on insights gained through fieldwork, in its writing, as well as in teaching, the paper seeks answers to following issues: How is video- and audio-based ethnographic material generated, edited, presented? How this knowledge might be made available for transformative appropriations?
Paper long abstract:
My practice of multimodal ethnography has evolved in three spheres: 1) In fieldwork: as part of my research on translocalisation, in 2012–2015 I followed circular migrants in India and Bangladesh. My interlocutors shared everyday life stories and “knowledge-as-wisdom”, but they also used drawings, mental maps, and my camera, to render the landscapes they had become familiar with, the territories they straddled, the places they alternately inhabited. I on my part photographed, GIS-mapped, and audio-/video-recorded the journeys, producing soundscapes and two “landscape videos”. All are accessible under Archives of Movement, http://archives-of-movement.net . 2) In its writing: towards retaining nuances of oral language, the reciprocity and the performative transformativity of the everyday–life–stories collected during the fieldwork, I produced nine jatra plays, with “jatra” being a vernacular theatre form popular in the Bengali-speaking regions of South Asia. Here, thee heteroglossic speech form allows for different, contrasting voices to coexist. 3) In teaching: teaching in a master programme for art practitioners, in the last years I guided seminars and projects merging ethnography and a number of media (from video to performance, from installation to artist book) as well as approaches (participatory or digital, mapping or podcasting). In each of these spheres, and in their frequent entanglements, insights have emerged that enable me to tackle some issues raised by the panel, surrounding in particular the generation, edition and presentation of video- and audio-based ethnographic material; the power relationships in knowledge production; and how this knowledge might be made available for transformative appropriations.
Languages of entanglement: mapping the ethnographic modes and media