MULTIMEDIA ENCOUNTERS 

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHES TO ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH  

 

 

 

 

The Multimedia Anthropology Lab at University College London (UCL MAL) is proud to

present an online conference and virtual exhibition Multimedia Encounters: Experimental Approaches to Ethnographic Research taking place Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th of January. Follow links below to access recorded panels.

How are ethnographic encounters with alterity mediated and transformed by multimedia technologies? Drawing on both material culture studies and the ontological turn, UCL MAL mobilises a global conversation on the concepts, forms and media through which we produce and share knowledge.

 

The conference draws together anthropologists, artists, sound designers, coders, VR/AR producers among other experimental practitioners to initiate a global conversation on experimental research formats and multimedia knowledge. Conference panels will offer stimulating debates with over 30 speakers - including sound artist Chris Watson. This selection of radical academic thinkers and cutting-edge practitioners invite us to think critically about multimedia forms of research, questioning divisions between art and science and pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

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Opening Panel: Knowledge Otherwise


How can anthropological knowledge be thought otherwise? What might the implications of this be for research practice and communication more broadly? This keynote panel introduces the core themes of the conference by bringing together three contemporary thinkers and the unique ideas that each mobilise in their critical engagements with knowledge. Professor Haidy Geismar (UCL) | Curatorial Dreams for a Future Museum Anthropology Dr Ludovic Coupaye (UCL) | The Anthropology of Techniques and the Techniques of Anthropology Kuña Jaqueline Aranduhá (Kuñangue Aty Guasu / UFGD) | Decolonising anthropology: a perspective from Guarani & Kaiowá indigenous women




Kuñangue Online: Opening Ceremony


The Kuñangue Aty Guasu is the Great Assembly of Guarani and Kaiowá indigenous women, based in Mato Grosso Do Sul, Brazil. It was founded in 2006 when indigenous women decided collectively that they would be their own spokespersons and create their own space for political discussion and decision-making. Just as traditional academic conferences are introduced by their elders and guardians of knowledge in the form of keynote speakers, the Guarani and Kaiowá always begin with their elders, and every conference and meeting of theirs begins with their sacred chant, calling on spirits to ensure productive conversation. These Nhandesys are female shamans, powerful interlocutors between worlds. With their permission we include their chant, inviting us to deconstruct our own methods of knowledge production, discussion, and presentation via comparison.




Panel 1: Knowledge in Times of COVID


The global pandemic has radically changed the ways in which anthropological research is conducted and communicated, transforming how knowledge is produced, taught and learnt in institutions around the world. The transition to digital and remote working practices has required us all to develop new methods, leading us to interrogate established knowledge formats which have remained unexamined for too long. While this brings new challenges, it has also presented new opportunities through which knowledge can be both produced and understood. This panel explores these questions, drawing on research from diverse ethnographic contexts and reflecting on the experimental methods that have arisen in these times of uncertainty. Keynote Presentation: Rafael Schacter (UCL) - A curatorial methodology for anthropology Rae Jereza (Binghamton University) | Co-producing ethnographic place from afar: Digitally mediated ethnography in the time of Covid-19 Fiona P. McDonald & Benjamin Day Smith (University of British Columbia) | Multimodal Approaches to Digital Tools for Immersive Learning Environments in the Anthropocene Steffen Köhn (Freie Universität Berlin) & Nestor Siré (Independent) | Screen- walks: Exploring digital connectivity with the help of desktop cinema Robert Lemelson (UCLA) | “Tajen: Interactive”: Complementing a Canonical Text with Contemporary Interactive Visual Ethnography Fabiana Assis Fernandes (IDAC) | Kuñangue Online & Participative Research




Panel 2: Multimedia Anthropology in the Anthropocene


The global scale of environmental change has caused shifts in human-ecology relationships, problematising the division between nature and culture, and demanding new ways of understanding the worlds in which we live. This challenge to nature-culture thinking also challenges us to develop a new concept of knowledge, one which is not grounded in the subject-object divisions through which western epistemologies have been shaped. The diverse human-ecology relationships of others, and the specific ecological concepts they are grounded in, have led to an increased appreciation of the role of sensory experience in knowledge. This panel explores these ideas in both content and form, drawing on technologies of immersion to examine the ecological and ontological diversity presented by the lifeworlds of others. Hermione Spriggs (UCL) | Traps as Artworks and Artworks as Traps Ignacio Gutiérrez Crocco (CIGIDEN) | Exploring alterity on the face of disasters: an immersion into the 1960’s earthquake from the Panku Bert Gilbert (Independent) | Sensoring Sound: Mapping the Invisible José Sherwood (University of Manchester) | Indigenous Futurisms: On Jaguars and Onto- Epistemologies Iman Datoo (Emergent Knowledge Bureau) | Kinnomic Botany: Freeing the Potato from its Scientific and Colonial Ties Maria Fernandez-Pello (University of Texas at Austin) | Soil science, soil fiction: experiments with dirt magic and film apparatuses




Kuñangue Online Panel 1: Report on Mapping of Violence


In this panel, members of the Guarani & Kaiowá women’s council present their report on a research project they conducted in 2020, Mapping Violence Against Women. Drawing on almost 100 first-hand reports of indigenous women who have been victims of violence. This panel presents the stark reality faced by indigenous women in Brazil. The reports were collected by indigenous women who have been victims of sexual and political violence, as part of a project supported by FIMI. This panel is posed as a public hearing, and these strong women denounce the brutal violation of their human rights to a number of key officials: the state public prosecutor, an influential female judge, and local human rights defenders.




Panel 3: Multimedia Bodies


How do multimedia representations of the body alter our relationship to ourselves? This panel explores how multimedia encounters with death, beauty, trauma, and divinity shape our experiences, and how they are understood. What kinds of identities are constructed through our encounters with sound, VR, and AI? How might this shape he ways in which these aspects of human experience are researched, and how that research is shared? Yiannis Christidis (Cyprus University of Technology) | A Final Preparation Ye Funa (UCL) | Beauty +: You are living in the desert of the real, but I’m in the beautiful Samuel Tettner (University of Manchester) | Ethnographic Experiments on Sufi Sama through Collaborative Sound Art Installations Juliet Brown (UCL) | Immersive Encounters with Developmental Trauma




Panel 4: Rethinking Sonic Ecologies


What does climate change sound like? What kind of knowledge does this present? This panel explores the relationships between sound, knowledge, and ecology, drawing together researchers from diverse disciplines to examine the particular ways in which sonic engagements with our surroundings can shed light on human-ecology relationships. When traditional divisions between nature and culture are questioned, how can immersion in sonic ecologies offer new forms of multispecies understanding? Keynote Presentation: Chris Watson - Murder Cleugh to Lindisfarne - A journey through some Northumbrian acoustic landscapes Giuliana Funkhouser (San Francisco Art Institute) | Data Sonification + Perceptual Geographies OS Collective (UT Austin & Duke University) | Ordinary Schizophonia Maria Nastase (UNATC) | Sonic Images: Pixel Sonification in Photographic Image Mark Peter Wright (UAL) | Microphone Check




Panel 5: Algorithmic Thinking


How can concepts challenge their own mechanisms of production? Can we develop methodologies of practice and thought which unsettle the very processes through which they emerge? This panel explores how recursive mechanisms can be coded into methods of practice and thought, asking whether algorithms can challenge their own instructions, or if designs can undermine their own foundations. How can these case studies propose a model of knowledge that is capable of redefining itself, where alterity is the method, rather than the object, of research? Keynote Lecture: Lior Zalmanson - Accessibility or Excess Ability? Anna Mladentseva (UCL) | Recursive Alterity: Experiments in Virtual Reality and Machine Learning Mohsen Hazrati (Akademie Schloss Solitude) | Fāl Project AR Isadora Dannin and Stratton Coffman (MIT) | Proof of Concept Zach Mason (Lancaster University) | Machine Learnt Landscapes




Kuñangue Online Panel 2: Guarani and Kaiowá fighting against COVID


The Guarani and Kaiowá elders are guardians of knowledge that is both sacred and vital to the identity and survival of their communities. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Indigenous communicators across Brazil voiced concern for these knowledge systems, and the threat posed by a deadly virus that targets the elderly. As part of The Kuñangue Aty Guasu, indigenous women, activists, academics and legal professionals from this region gathered to discuss the political situation within their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their discussions expose the chronic problems that indigenous people face, such as lack of water and infrastructure, and call for unity among activists. The Guarani and Kaiowá peoples have worked tirelessly to create and maintain COVID-19 barriers, and to ensure territories have access to supplies. As a result of their efforts, death rates have thus far been kept extremely low, and their autonomous acts of community protection have been acknowledged by activists across Brazil.




Concluding Round-Table: A Conference Otherwise


How can a conference be thought otherwise? This concluding round-table examines the processes through which this conference was produced, and the partnership between UCL MAL and the Kuñangue Aty Guasu which took place in parallel. When an academic conference is posed as a variant of an indigenous online assembly, and vice versa, what can we learn about the ways in which knowledge can be produced, shared and understood? · Rozi Sukosd-Kosa (UCL) · Raffaella Fryer-Moreira (UCL) · Fabiana Assis Fernandes (IDAC) · Kuña Jaqueline Aranduhá (Kuñangue Aty Guasu / UFGD)




Closing Ceremony from the Kuñangue Aty Guasu


The Closing Ceremony of the Kuñangue Aty Guasu is marked by laughter and celebration, fuelled by the joy of a successful exchange. The conference plays an important role in fostering a united community, but also in inspiring revolutionary fervour, where community strength translates as political strength. The success of the Kuñangue Aty Guasu online was widely recognised, and was the object of anger and fear from male authority figures. Women, children, and elders, for whom this annual meeting was a great social and political success, dance in defiance of those who have sought to constrain them.




Keynote Speakers


Professor Haidy Geismar (UCL) | Curatorial Dreams for a Future Museum Anthropology Dr Ludovic Coupaye (UCL) | The Anthropology of Techniques and the Techniques of Anthropology Kuña Jaqueline Aranduhá (Kuñangue Aty Guasu / UFGD) | Decolonising anthropology: a perspective from Guarani & Kaiowá indigenous women Rafael Schacter (UCL) - A curatorial methodology for anthropology Chris Watson - Murder Cleugh to Lindisfarne - A journey through some Northumbrian acoustic landscapes Lior Zalmanson - Accessibility or Excess Ability?





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