Ethnography is the work of recording, describing, explaining, and interpreting a culture. A central purpose of ethnography is to understand a culture from its own point of view. Ethnography means learning about the culture from the culture.
Culture is the acquired knowledge that people use to interpret experience and to generate behavior. This cultural knowledge is like a recipe for organizing the necessary ingredients for a viable social life.
Moving beyond the descriptive and illustrative aspects of photography, the ethnographic photograph is used as a visual research tool. It is used to develop a selected (visual) description of the research community.
It provides a significant dimension for gaining cultural knowledge of the research community.
Source: A one-page notice, presumably announcing a class on “Ethnographic photography” at the Faculty of Communication and Media Studies at the Eastern Mediterranean University, Northern Cyprus. Image: Deutsche Kinemathek. dffb-Archiv.
[Suggested citation: Skip Norman, “Ethnography,” Rosa Mercedes 03/A (January 2021), www.harun-farocki-institut.org/en/2021/01/28/ethnography/]
go to top January 2021 — Rosa Mercedes / 03 / A
On Friday, April 6, 2021, at 8 p.m., Akademie Schloss Solitude will host a Zoom event with former HaFI Residency fellowship holder Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible” (2017). Moderated by Doreen Mende. To register, click here.
April 14th, 2021
The magazine MONOPOL currently features an interview (in German) with Shirin Barghnavard about her film “Invisible,” which she conceived and shot during her HaFI residency in 2017.
April 14th, 2021
Hyperallergic on the environmental impact of blockchain referring to recent NFT (non-fungible token) art sales: “This is not the first time the art world has come under scrutiny for being on the wrong side of the climate conversation. Artists and activists have protested everything from the carbon footprint of physical art fairs to the fossil fuel money funding major museums. But some say the energy consumption of cryptocurrencies is particularly egregious, and research shows it’s relatively easily quantifiable. A study by Cambridge University, for instance, estimates that bitcoin uses more electricity per year than the entire nation of Argentina. (Ethereum mining consumes a quarter to half of what Bitcoin mining does, but one transaction uses more power than an average US household in a day, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.)”
Nicholas Mirzoeff on “Artificial vision, white space and racial surveillance capitalism”: “Based as it is on ‘epidermalization’ (the assertion of absolute difference based on relative differences in skin color), AI’s racial surveillance deploys an all-too-familiar racialized way of seeing operating at plan-etary scale. It is the plantation future we are now living in. All such operations take place in and via the new imagined white space of technology known as the cloud. In reality, a very material arrangement of servers and cables, the cloud is both an engine of high-return low-employment capitalism and one of the prime drivers of carbon emissions.”
Sara Ahmed on the performativity of disgust (from The Cultural Politics of Emotion, 2004): “To name something as disgusting is to transfer the stickiness of the word ‘disgust’ to an object, which henceforth becomes generated as the very thing that is spoken. The relationship between the stickiness of the sign and the stickiness of the object is crucial to the performativity of disgust as well as the apparent resistance of disgust reactions to ‘newness’ in terms of the generation of different kinds of objects. The object that is generated as a disgusting (bad) object through the speech act comes to stick. It becomes sticky and acquires a fetish quality, which then engenders its own effects.”
November 7th, 2020