This panel will discuss ethnographic possibilities for approaching the relevant fields of "vernacular" audiovisual practices and archives. Focusing on field-based research we will explore how these videos are produced from an economic, political and aesthetic perspective.
The aim of this panel is to discuss the ethnographic possibilities for approaching the relevant fields of "vernacular" audiovisual practices and archives. Beginning with family cinema, the panel will explore different fields such as videos commissioned by ethnic organizations, institutions or political networks and other amateur videos. Production companies today specialize in recording specific moments of social life. The example of the so-called family cinema phenomenon is probably one of the most relevant, in which videos turn family events into memories. These films often use highly sophisticated cinema languages and continuous aesthetic experimentation coupled with ingenious distribution strategies, often through social networks. These videos result from interesting processes of negotiation and interaction between clients and video makers. If, in many cases, these audiovisuals incorporated ethnographic approaches, contemporary ethnography reveals how those sources can be gateways to fields that had been difficult to enter. We will address the influence of field-based research on how "on-demand videos" are produced from an economic, political and aesthetic perspective. In addition to the professional recording of social life, amateur videos have proliferated in social networks, revealing intimate spaces, which has allowed visual access that in the past required long negotiations between ethnographers and informants. The analyses of these videos and their topos can be a key strategy for understanding how imaginaries are "locally produced" and how they relate to both local realities and global narratives. This analysis can also indicate how ethnography can utilize these new data sources.
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