Anthropology and Art Practice

Since the Torres Straits expedition in the late nineteenth century, the treatment of film and photography in anthropology has followed the idea of the image as evidence. During the ‘writing culture critique’, mainstream anthropology continuously focused on the indexical aspects of photographic images. The expanding interest in sensory qualities of human experience, particularly the interrelation between various senses, has provided means for anthropology to leave the visualist paradigm behind and approach audio-visual media from a broader perspective. Non-documentary aspects of images, such as their capacity to interrogate and to lie, have recently been acknowledged and investigated within visual anthropology. Ethnographic studies of various photographic practices and collaborations with artists have further expanded the field. Simultaneously, certain contemporary artists engage in ethnographic methods and documentary filmmaking. These developments have resulted in an overlap between anthropology and art practice, where boundaries between reality and imagination are critically explored.

This seminar series invite speakers concerned with the above themes, who use practice-based (audio)-visual methods and presentations in their research. The aim is to investigate how direct engagements in visuality and materiality during fieldwork can inform theoretical perspectives and become means to convey anthropological knowledge. It opens up for formal and ethical discussions of the relation between image-maker, subject and viewer during the production process as well as the final presentation. We welcome various examples of overlaps between anthropological and artistic practice, and of how visual media can embody and make tangible that which is concealed. In addition to issues on art and anthropology the Monday seminar will also cover a wide range of other topics reflecting the on-going research at the department.

For more information, please contact Anna Laine or Shahram Khosravi.


September 2, 13.00-15.00, B600
Professor Karsten Paerregaard, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg
Anthropology and climate change: Global warming, water scarcity and the state in the Peruvian Andes
Peru is the tropical country in the world with most glaciers. These make up a critical water source for its rural and urban population but due to global warming, they are melting in an alarming speed causing water scarcity and social conflicts in throughout country. Climate change is also leading to a reconfiguration of the powers that Andean population believes control their lives. In many parts of Andes, people believe that the mountains which supply them with melt water to irrigate the fields are inhabited by deities. To appease these and ask them for more water, people make annual offerings. This paper discusses how these offerings and the cosmological order they are part of change meaning as the glaciers and ice caps of the Andes are melting. It also examines how the power vacuum created by the cosmological transformation of Andean society is replaced by the State, which has strengthened its presence in the Andes in the past two decades. The paper argues that even though climate change generates water scarcity in many parts of Peru and thus represents a huge challenge for Peruvian society, it also paves the way for a new social and ideological order forged and controlled by the State which gives rise to forms of citizenship in Peru. Moreover, it suggests that while the natural sciences so far have dominated the study of climate change, anthropologists have much to offer particularly by making field research of how people locally perceive environmental change and response to global warming.
September 9, 13.00-15.00, B600
Anna Laine, PhD, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Locating art practice in the Tamil diaspora – paper: rebellion and responsibility; video: making home
This presentation is structured around the argument that audio-visual media can communicate anthropological knowledge which is complementary to academic texts. If treated as self-reflexive art forms rather than mere illustrations or evidence, audio-visual media can evoke direct experience as well as suggest analytical frameworks. They provide possibilities to reintegrate concealed aspects of social phenomena into visible and audible form. A paper and a video in progress that offers two separate but closely related aspects of the same research project will exemplify the issue. The former concerns the aesthetic regimes that marginalise the position of contemporary art practice in Tamil diaspora communities, in relation morality and nationalism developed in Sri Lanka and transferred to the UK. The latter, constructed through collaborative forms of filming and editing, will convey how the artists explore ways to accommodate themselves in exile through their practices of making visual art.
September 11, 17.00, Hörsal 10
Film screening - Surya
Screening of Laurent van Lancker's film Surya.
Find out more about the film.
Watch a trailer of the film.
September 16, 13.00-15.00, B600

Laurent van Lancker, Freie Universität Berlin, SoundImageCulture, Independent filmmaker
Experiencing Cultures:  Sensorial strategies in some recent audiovisual works

To articulate materiality, senses and imagination in documentary cinema might be an alternative means to create and convey knowledge, as are thoughts, paradigms and concepts. A dialogue, combination or/and juxtaposition of meaning and being, of senses and points of views, could originate in documentary practices that are not 'about' or even 'near by', but are 'with' and 'within' cultural experiences. Thus, practices that play within the grey area between art, anthropology and cinema. This means, according to me, encompassing cinematic strategies (sensory, narrative, collaborative) and practices (asynchronicity, materiality, decontextualisation) within an anthropological approach, instead of following existing paradigms, such as the expository, observational or representational strategies.


September 23, 13.00-15.00, B600 NB CANCELLED! The seminar will take place at a later date.
Dolly Kikon, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Carbon Cult: Resource Fantasies and Conflict in the Foothills of Northeast India

Throughout the history of the armed conflict in Northeast India, competing political groups have defined the foothill as either belonging to the hills or the plains. Those fighting for a sovereign Naga homeland in the hills, or sovereign Assam in the plains, have written their version of history, where the foothills and its residents appear as residual categories. In this presentation, I will discuss how extractive resource regimes, especially coal and oil, frame shape the aspirations of residents in the foothills either as fantasies of abundance or nightmares of scarcity. I will illustrate how oil fantasies permeate the social and political boundaries of the multiple states (Assam, Nagaland, and the central state of India), Naga insurgents, politicians, wealthy landowners, and poor cultivators alike aspire to participate in the future of oil. In that context, I argue that extractive resource regimes such as those of oil exploratory operations and counterinsurgency operations frame each other, thereby giving rise to a citizenship test determined by natural resources, ethnicity, political dispositions, and militarization in Northeast India.


September 30, 13.00-15.00, B600
Rebecca Empson, PhD, Department of Anthropology, University College London, guest researcher Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
On Owning, Loaning, and Temporary Possession: Tracing the effects of the Mongolian Wolf Economy

This paper will explore forms of economic prediction in Mongolia that encourage people to take part in the temporary, rather than long-term, possession of commodities. This is not to be viewed as a kind of ‘failure’ of capitalism, but as a vernacular form that draws on other forms of ownership. In doing so I examine the wider theoretical point that economic prediction creates particular realities rather than simply describing them. While drawing on these ideas, I am also critical of them. I suggest that people make choices about how to act and that these choices inform the economy at large.  Theoretically, this maybe taken as a broader critique of the idea of the ‘performativity of economics’ and the need to acknowledge the complex motivations that drive people toward different kinds of economic activity, including emotive feelings of trust, secrecy and uncertainty, as well as local ideas of what it means to be modern in a rapidly-changing landscape of economic potential.



October 7, 13.00-15.00, B600
Ulrik Jennische, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Onions, Chiefs, Unions and the Election of a President: Marketplace Politics in Northern Ghana

In this seminar, I want to present and summarize the anthropological fieldwork I conducted in Tamale, the capital of Ghana's Northern Region, between September 2012 and June 2013. The study concerns urban small-scale traders in the rapidly changing and expanding Tamale Central Business District, and aims to understand the role of urban small-scale trade in Ghana's further political development.
In addition to being a place of economic exchange, the marketplace is a public space where ideas and values are discussed and mediated. The importance of the field to the city and the broader development is also evident in the interventions of the many external stakeholders such as the Metropolitan Assembly, various state institutions, political parties, traditional leaders, along banks and microfinance institutions. The leaders of the many unions and associations are also given influence and legitimacy. Thus, the Central Business District is a space with many competing authorities.
The traders work in a political context which is to some extent paradoxical. The state establishes a social safety net for them, encouraging them to take loans and brings them under state control while continuing to categorize their activities as informal. One day a trader can be taxed by the city, while the next day be sent off and banned from the same place. It is hence necessary to adopt a wider approach than an informal/formal dichotomy in order to understand and describe this process.
A conflict has for decades taken place between the two branches of the royal family who both aspire to the traditional power in Dagbon, in which Tamale is located. This has affected the terms and conditions of doing business in the city. The conflict between the two branches has been politicized by Ghana's major parties, making the situation even more complex. It culminated in 2002 with the murder of the Paramount Chief of Dagbon, Ya Na, and many others in his court in Yendi.
Since 2002, Tamale and Dagbon has seen several smaller armed outbreaks. Along with an increased police and military presence, strict curfews have at times been set up. This period, however, is described by the traders as a continued expansive time for the market, with many newly arrived traders, and growth, while the influence and importance of the trade unions and associations declined. The new comers, arriving from other parts of Ghana and West Africa and moving to Tamale for the sake of trade, are at the same time distancing themselves to the conflict.
The politicization has also meant that the city has been divided into areas, neighborhoods, streets and mosques associated with the different parties/branches. This becomes particularly evident during the campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections held in December 2012.


October 9, 10.00-12.00, B600 NB Wednesday
Mark Nuttall, Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta and Greenland Climate Research Centre/University of Greenland
“This is not an empty, wild place”:
Human-environment relations and extractive industries in southwest Greenland

Since the introduction of self-government in 2009, which has given Greenlanders greater autonomy within the Kingdom of Denmark, the exploration for and exploitation of non-renewable resources has been a cornerstone of government policy. A number of mineral exploration and mining development licenses have been granted to foreign companies and exploratory work for oil has continued off west Greenland and will take place in future years in northwest Greenland. This presentation reports on an anthropological project that is mapping historical and contemporary use of the Nuuk Fjord complex in southwest Greenland and is exploring human-environment relations and local knowledge to outline local and regional impacts and experiences of climate change, the dynamics, socio-economics, and political ecology of resource use, non-renewable resource development and the adaptive capacities of local communities. From its outer skerries to its mountain valleys, the Nuuk Fjord area is an important social, cultural and economic environment which many people from Nuuk and the village of Kapisillit in the inner part of the fjord depend on to sustain their hunting and fishing livelihoods. Like other areas around Greenland’s coasts, the Nuuk Fjord region is full of named locations that materialize social relations and experience. Place names and local narrative accounts of seal hunting, whaling, tracking reindeer, or fishing, or travelling by boat, walking across the land, and camping attest to the historical and contemporary use of the area, and inform multispatial thinking and anticipation about its future use. The area is an assemblage of past and present cultural landscapes and environments. When one travels through and around it, one becomes aware of the confluences of interior landscapes, inlets, glaciers, rivers, wider stretches of open water, local knowledge, place names, stories and narratives, history and biography, and geology and society. Yet, the Nuuk Fjord is imagined, described and represented in a different way by industry consultants and politicians ambitious for the development of mines. Mining activities and energy and industrial development plans have provoked political and social debates within Greenland about the nature of such development, the absence of appropriate public consultation and regulatory processes, concerns about the impacts of extractive industries on hunting and fishing activities, rights of participation in development decision-making, and the shortcomings of social and environmental impact assessments. I discuss how local perceptions of the Nuuk Fjord are ignored and how local experience and knowledge are erased by the production of technical knowledge and in political and industry discourses about Greenlandic environments and sub-surface resources.


October 14, 13.00-15.00, B600
Ruben Andersson, Postdoctoral researcher, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Time and the migrant other: temporalities of border controls at Europe’s frontiers

The borders of Europe increasingly seem like a battleground where a new kind of ‘threat’ is fought back and apprehended – the so-called ‘illegal immigrant’. Sea patrols, satellites and surveillance aircraft scour the Mediterranean in search for migrant boats; high-tech anti-migration fences have been built in Greece and Spain; and advanced information-sharing systems for the ‘management’ of Europe’s external borders are being rolled out. Through such initiatives, Europe’s external borders increasingly seem to be everywhere yet nowhere (Vaughan-Williams 2008) – a dense web of controls that displaces the borders both inward and outwards, throughout European space and into the borderlands beyond it. While the emerging interdisciplinary literature on Europe’s border regime has concentrated on precisely these spatial arrangements, recent analyses have shifted focus towards the temporalities of controls (e.g. Andrijasevic 2010). Building on such perspectives, and in particular on the literature on encampment, this paper seeks to suture spatial and temporal concerns in inquiring into the time-space regimes of Europe’s borders. It will do so by attending to the overlapping time-spaces of migration in the emerging Euro-African borderlands, focusing on retention in Spain’s North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla and strandedness among deported migrants in Mali, while considering these settings in relation to larger time-spaces of surveillance and control. It is hoped that such a temporal account may contribute with new ethnographic frames on irregular migration by combining perspectives from the ‘top’ of policing and politics with a view from ‘below’. With prolonged limbo-like situations affecting migrants across Europe and beyond, linking systems of control with migrants’ experiences of these controls is increasingly urgent. Crucially, this is a field where anthropology has much to contribute to the interdisciplinary debates on the business of bordering Europe.


October 21, 13.00-15.00, B600 NB CANCELLED! The seminar will instead take place on January 13, 2014, 13.00-15.00, B600
Monica Sand, artist and researcher at the Swedish Centre of Architecture and Design
Playing the Space - Resonance, Improvisation and Variations as research methods in urban situations

Monica Sand, artist and researcher at the Swedish Centre of Architecture and Design will guide us through different artistic interventions in the city.
The ambience of a city – movement, sound, rhythm - is defined by collective, cultural and social means, and both citizens and visitors are immersed in complex situations as actors, producers and observers.
In this research project several artists, dancers, musicians, students, researchers and planners explore different urban situations by composing and recomposing its rhythms and resonances in playful events. New situations evolve within the existing ones, so that qualities, limits, conflicts and new meanings evolve that can serve both as descriptions of daily social life and practical tools for research.
With its spatial, temporal, corporeal knowledge gained through daily life and developed and experimented with through art practice, artistic research has recently become part of the academia. How and with what tools can this kind of research con¬tribute to practical/academic knowledge production?


October 28, 13.00-15.00, B600
Jannete Hentati, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Ett didaktiskt drama: Att gestalta rollen som lärare i Malmö och Marseille.

NB The seminar will be held in Swedish.

Inom ramen för detta seminarium syftar jag till att å ena sidan ge en introduktion till mitt fält och forskningsintresse i stort, å andra sidan att, med hjälp av ett antal etnografiska exempel, visa prov på hur rum och roller inom det didaktiska dramat gestaltas i lärares sociala vardag och praktik. 
Skolan i både Sverige och Frankrike är en social institution med en numera lång tradition av att utbilda och fostra unga nationsmedlemmar och framtida medborgare. I detta sammanhang spelar läraren en central roll. I lärarens uppdrag ingår att söka förankra och förverkliga de visioner, värderingar och normer som de nationalstatligt formulerade läro- och kursplanerna går i god för. Därmed är lärarens didaktiska arbete i viss mån att betrakta som en iscensättning av det föreställt nationella. Läraren ska, i enlighet med nationella styrdokument, söka forma unga människors verklighetsförståelse och omvärldsuppfattning men också deras handlingsmönster och beteende. Att gestalta rollen som lärare handlar därför till stora delar om att både förhålla sig till och förhandla om de normativa visioner och riktlinjer som skolans obligatoriska utbildning omfattas av. Det handlar också om att uttrycka, pröva och reglera desamma i ständigt samspel med skolans ordinarie publik, d.v.s. eleverna.
Det etnografiska material som ligger till grund för mitt avhandlingsprojekt är insamlat på högstadieskolor i Malmö och Marseille, där jag under en termin vardera kontinuerligt har följt arbetet bland svenska och franska lärare inom den samhällsorienterande undervisningen. Uttöver deltagande på arbetslagsmöten, på lektioner och på fortbildningstillfällen rörde jag mig under fältarbetets gång också i andra sammanhang där det didaktiska arbetet tog sin utformning: I lärarrum och lunchrum, på studiebesök och klassresor liksom på skolavslutningar och mer informella personalsammankomster. 



November 4, 13.00-15.00, B600
Dr Chris Wright, Department of Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London 
Photography, Magic and Materiality: Towards an Anthropology of the Photographic Image

Considering photographs as material objects (can we call a digital image an object?) and relics reveals the essentially magical and animist nature of photography. The relationships we have with these objects argue for a fundamentally anthropological understanding of photography that has been missing in the disciplinary insistence on photographs as ‘documents’. Using examples and ideas of photography from the Solomon Islands (south Pacific) and Ladakh (western Himalaya) I will argue for a new approach to the medium within anthropology and outline an anthropology of the photographic image. This has implications for how anthropology thinks about its relationship to images in general.

It would be useful if you bring a personal photograph that is important to you – and one that you are prepared to talk about – to the seminar.


November 11, 13.00-15.00, B600

Dr Mark R. Westmoreland, The American University in Cairo and Post-Doctoral Researcher, Department of Media Studies, Stockholm University
Productive Irritants: Art Praxis in Lebanon as Alternative Visual Ethnography

Based on long-term research with contemporary artists in Lebanon, who utilize documentary practices to advance experimental forms of evidence, Westmoreland explores the generative possibilities enabled by crossing disciplinary borders between anthropological and artistic modes of social inquiry. In the wake of an unresolved civil war (1975-1990), a vibrant art movement emerged with a set of critical aesthetics aimed to identify and work through a postwar crisis of representation. Although typically consigned to artistic engagements with the archive (cf. Merewether 2006), the work of Jayce Salloum, Walid Raad, and Akram Zaatari elucidates a motif of research curiously under-examined. Because they each have systematically grappled with the epistemological and methodological aspects of researching the war, their oeuvres provide a germane triptych for assessing alternative forms of evidence. By closely examining the way their work rethinks the taken-for-granted modes of knowledge production, I argue that their experimental visual practices poignantly critique the politics of representation, redefine the codes of documentary evidence, and 'make sense' of the war on an affective level. Although these artists express antagonism toward traditional anthropology, I contend that their minority perspectives, research methodologies, and practice-based accounts work as alternative ethnographies of Lebanon. As such, Westmoreland demonstrates how disciplinary differences serve as “productive irritants” (Schneider and Wright 2006) and provides glimpses of different forms of knowledge.


November 18, 13.00-15.00, B600
Lucia King, Artist-Filmmaker, PhD, ‘Research-with-practice’ at the Centre for Media & Film Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Questioning the terms of 'research' in relation to anthropological and artistic inquiry

This talk will examine the "teleology of representation" of those who 'go out' to conduct fieldwork or research about social groups from whom they are geopolitically 'distant'.
Teleology may have three meanings: 1) the study of design or purpose in natural and environmental phenomena. 2) the use of- 'ultimate purpose' or 'design' as a means of explaining phenomena, or 3) the belief in/perception of- a purposeful development toward an objective. Connecting this concept to the process of 'representation', the objects of representation discussed in this paper are anthropologists’ films, as well as artworks produced collaboratively by creative partners from different cultures. How is ‘research’ being understood and used as a concept by anthropologists and artists? How are artistic and anthropological approaches evident in the modes of representation? Lucia King is a UK-based artist and researcher who has produced films with stage artists and filmmakers from India for around 13 years. Her PhD focus was on the creative methodologies of documentary filmmakers in India who are making films about their traditional cultural practices. The films she reviewed are ones that represent artists who belong to India’s 'marginal counter-cultural movements' who practice storytelling and musical drama as part of everyday life. The urban filmmakers filming these groups did not belong to the communities they were filming. They too were 'going out' to strike up relationships that crossed cultural divides within India. Whether as an "artist" collaborating with other artists, or as a “researcher”, King’s talk will make accessible the type of questioning she considers crucial to her position as an author. This is in order to encourage the audience to review their own subject positions and relationships with the people of their study. Using clips from her film "The Warkari Cycle" King will demonstrate some of her representational choices in this project; a film exploring a pilgrimage event in west India, shot in 2011.


November 25, 13.00-15.00, B600
Degla Salim, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
”Ska jag gränsa dig?”
Det organiserade stödets betydelse i svenska gruppverksamheter för barn i hushåll med missbruksproblem

NB The seminar will be held in Swedish.

Mitt fältarbete ägde rum på två verksamheter som organiserar stöd riktat till barn i hushåll med missbruk och/eller psykisk sjukdom. Den ena som jag kallar Snäckan, drevs i kommunal regi med finansieringshjälp från svenska kyrkan. Den andra, som är en ideell frivilligorganisation ordnar sommarläger för ungdomar, finansieras huvudsakligen via donationer från både näringsliv och stipendiefonder av olika slag. Dessa verksamheter binds ihop av en delad syn på de problem som uppstår i hem där vuxna anhöriga missbrukar droger och/eller lider av psykisk sjukdom. Synsättet härrör i stora delar från ACA:s (adult children of alcoholics) problemformulering och tolvstegsprogram som sedan sjuttiotalet växt i antal och spridning. I den svenska kontexten förenas och relaterar verksamheterna till varandra genom ett antal omarbetade manualer och praktiker som idag präglar arbetet med barnen. 
Jag vill i detta seminarium ta upp likheter och skillnader i verksamheternas organisering, framför allt vad gäller 1) användningsgraden av och inställningen till mätverktyg av olika slag, 2) uppfattningar om gränser kring sociala relationer, kroppen och intimitet, och 3) uppfattningar om det organiserade stödet i relation till samhället i stort. Förutom att försöka lära barnen vad deras hemförhållanden innebär/kan innebära för dem i framtiden finns uttalat terapeutiska ambitioner med stödet. Dessa ambitioner iscensätter de både verksamheterna på olika sätt. Man kan säga att själva arbetet består av de olika positioner, viljor och konflikter som uppstår i och med att de stödjande vuxna som arbetar med barnen, försöker både praktisera och föra över sin speciella kunskap till barnen under regelbundet återkommande sammankomster. Jag kommer att presentera en del etnografiska exempel från dessa sammankomster och lyfta fram både motsättningar och samstämmighet som uppstår i det arbetet. Frågor som jag kommer att behandla rör framförallt organiseringen av tid och plats i relation till de människor som berörs.



December 2, 13.00-15.00, B600
Mia Forrest, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University
Obesity Expertise: Altering the Body in the Age of Lifestyle Disease

In this paper clinical obesity is presented as an example of a form of ill health falling under a new category of medical intervention—lifestyle disease. Based on material collected during fieldwork amongst the obesity expert community in Sweden, the paper examines the shifting paradigm of health care after the emergence of lifestyle diseases, in which previous conceptions of care and treatment are altered, as are the expectations on what it means to be a good patient or caregiver.
The most prominent shift in this type of healthcare and the one, which I am keenest to address in this paper, is the reconfiguration of what constitutes health and as well as pathology. Obesity, I argue, offers an example of how normal bodily functions such as storing fat, abolishing hunger, and increasing metabolism become sites of medical intervention and areas of care. The ethnography presented deals with medically managed weight loss and the struggles that grow from the attempts to make sense of and control vital bodily functions in a time when these functions are understood to be at odds with our way of life. It asks what happens when medicine shifts its focus from the abnormal or pathological to the normal and vital. Further, which problems arise when medicine begins to revisit as well as pose new questions about the functions of the body, which, prior to the obesity epidemic, were taken for granted and left unexamined.


December 9, 13.00-15.00, B600
Martin Saxer, Marie Curie Fellow at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Anthropology's peripheries – cosmopolitans, pathways, and the second life of development at the edge of disciplines and nation-states.

Remote peripheries play a crucial, yet ambivalent role in the history of anthropological thought. Once primary loci of intellectual reflection, the villages and islands at the end of the world increasingly find themselves at the margins of the discipline. Urban, development, migration, science & technology, or area studies have taken their place. In this talk, I would like to put the periphery – at least temporarily – back into the centre of anthropological reflection and show how the seemingly remote is not only entwined with but right at the heart of important processes at a global scale.
Based on ongoing research in the Himalayas and Pamirs, I suggest three notions to help understand the dynamics of remoteness and connectivity at the edge of nation-states and disciplines: cosmopolitans, pathways, and the second life of development.
Martin Saxer is a Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Munich. He was a Clarendon scholar at Oxford and received his doctorate in 2010. His publications include Manufacturing Tibetan Medicine. The Creation of an Industry and the Moral Economy of Tibetanness (Berghahn 2013) and “A Goat’s Head on a Sheep’s Body? Good Practices for Tibetan Medicine” (Medical Anthropology 2012). Martin conducted extensive fieldwork in Siberia, Tibet and Nepal since 2003 and worked as a junior lecturer for visual anthropology at the University of Zurich in 2005/2006. He directed two feature length documentary films (see and recently started the visual ethnography blog the other image (


December 16, 13.00-15.00, B600
Robert Willim, Associate Professor, Artist, Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University
Working with Art Probes – The Ends and Beginnings of Ethnography

Where are the ends and beginnings of ethnography? And where does art practice start? In order to approach these questions I will take the point of departure in some of my own artworks. I see these works as art probes. They do not gather data or measure with any precision, instead they are meant to evoke and provoke. The probes are used to convey inspiration, to provoke questions and to simultaneously and paradoxically instill framings and evoke new associations. They provoke me to continuously search for patterns as well as gaps and aporias. Sometimes, what I find out from the probes can pollinate my research practices. At other times the art probes are academically useless. The point is to create works that do not have any clear-cut intention to be used in a foreseeable way in a specific research project, but to simultaneously be open to how they can be used in ethnographic research.


January 2014

January 13, 2014, 13.00-15.00, B600

Monica Sand, artist and researcher at the Swedish Centre of Architecture and Design
Playing the Space - Resonance, Improvisation and Variations as research methods in urban situations

Monica Sand, artist and researcher at the Swedish Centre of Architecture and Design will guide us through different artistic interventions in the city.
The ambience of a city – movement, sound, rhythm - is defined by collective, cultural and social means, and both citizens and visitors are immersed in complex situations as actors, producers and observers.
In this research project several artists, dancers, musicians, students, researchers and planners explore different urban situations by composing and recomposing its rhythms and resonances in playful events. New situations evolve within the existing ones, so that qualities, limits, conflicts and new meanings evolve that can serve both as descriptions of daily social life and practical tools for research.
With its spatial, temporal, corporeal knowledge gained through daily life and developed and experimented with through art practice, artistic research has recently become part of the academia. How and with what tools can this kind of research con¬tribute to practical/academic knowledge production?