Accepted Paper:

‘Don’t go there with an open body!’ Thoughts on the surplus of the ethnographic self.  
Mattijs van de Port (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

How do I end up in the places I study, seeing the things I see, asking the questions I ask? If anthropology is the study of encounters with others, transparency on one's self is being called for. Yet how does the call for transparency sit with the performance of the ethical anthropologist?

Paper long abstract:

In a close reading of one scene of my film, The Body Won’t Close, I will address the issue of transparency, focussing on the homo-eroticism that several commentators have found to be present in the scene (and throughout the film).

The nightly scene shows some young men in small town Bahia, hanging out at a shooting gallery. They aim their shotguns at lolly-pops, chewing gum and candies. Painted decorative panels show busty ladies in tiny bikinis. The loud music is full of sexual innuendos. The camera registers my interactions with my research assistant, a guy called Rigne. You hear me instructing him how to go about shooting, so I can make a better shot. In voice over, I wonder what it is that makes me end up in such all-male venues – and more broadly, in rough places like small town Bahia.

Much of what goes into the scene – the footage, my editorial choices, the voice-over text -- has been produced intuitively. Both fieldwork and filmmaking, I feel, gain by giving up control, allowing my soul to wander. Back in academic mode, I will seize the opportunity of this panel to scrutinize the dynamic interplay between myself and the others; between what is being said, what is being heard and what is being silenced; between the world of ‘the field’ and the world of the editing room; between the drives that move the ethnographer and the drives that move the larger assemblage that is me.

Panel P26d
Empirical art: Filmmaking for fieldwork in practice
  Session 1