This panel, in the form of a non-linear exhibition and discussion, focusses on smartphones as a mode of creative yet serious engagement with crisis. It opens a discussion about the creative and intellectual potential for implementing the smartphone in anthropological research and teaching.
In this panel, we invite anthropologists experimenting with smartphone-based media practices of filmmaking, film sharing, and audience interaction, particularly in contexts of imminent crisis, in order to open a discussion about the creative and intellectual potential for implementing the smartphone in anthropological research and teaching. While not limited to the public health crisis ushered in by the spread of coronavirus, we note that the pandemic has pushed experiments in response to conditions of online teaching, social distancing, and mobility restrictions. We are particularly interested in forms of audiovisual production that employ the specific characteristics of the smartphone (both embodied and innocuous), while also exploring its ubiquitous and networked affordances for reaching different audiences. What happens to an anthropological film, for example, if we literally hold it in our hands while viewing it? How might Bluetooth and wi-fi technologies enable proximate users to form live ‘mesh networks’? How might the apparent limitations of bandwidth and screen size actually rejuvenate our engagement with film, while also creating new opportunities to respond to crises in our field sites? Can anthropologists start developing modes of research and knowledge exchange that push further the boundaries of creative production in Visual and Multimodal Anthropology? The form of the panel will reflect the topic with a non-linear exhibition and discussion format, in which smartphones will be implemented as a tool of viewing and discussing the pre-recorded video presentations of the panellists.