Accepted Paper:

Experimental settings on the non-visual  


Inga Reimers (HafenCity University)

Paper short abstract:

The presentation will be about the dominance of the visual in art, ethnography and every day culture and the search for forms of ethnographic/artistic research that are able to study and analyse non-visual knowledge.

Paper long abstract:

Sight and visual matters compared to such as tactile matters have been researched well. Especially in western cultures, cognition is mainly connected with the visual sense. Nevertheless or just for that reason questions concerning sensuality have been discussed increasingly. So the non-visible and embodied has become an important object of research not only in ethnology and cultural anthropology.

But research on sensual aspects involves problems in grasping the subject. So how can ethnographic research generate knowledge about hybrid and ambivalent subjects without reproducing established dichotomies? How can ambivalence and ambiguity be used as important means of cognition in ethnographic research? And could forms of artistic research answer some of these questions?

Taking these issues seriously one has to question the methods and (re-)presentations of ethnographic research dealing with sensory knowledge. Especially non-visual subjects often elude from established methods like participant observation or interviews. So a change of research settings could be an opportunity to handle this Intangibility.

My approach to these problems is a practice based, experimental research setting which includes lay researchers and their embodied knowledge for example blind people as experts of the non-visual. This form of collective research is not about blindness but a research with blind people about questions of non-visuality. It also rethinks research as a form of assembly and participation.

The presentation wants to discuss laboratories for the basic question on new forms of ethnographic research in artistic research and also look for methods of analysis of non-visual knowledge.

Panel P36
Sensory knowledge and its circulation [EN]