UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab is proud to present Multimedia Encounters, our latest exhibition and experiment created to coincide with UCL MAL’s first academic conference: Multimedia Encounters: Experimental Approaches to Ethnographic Research. 

Multimedia Encounters attends to the relationship between anthropological thought and computer intelligence. Algorithms and the anthropological mind both operate recursively, dismembering knowledge as we know it, re-calculating and birthing alternative manifestations of ethnographic data. Our exhibition seeks to probe and push this formal equivalence, exploring its limits and creating new ground for future multimedia encounters.

The exhibition aims to dissect and examine our own systems of value, to re-think how knowledge is produced, and to create spaces for re-imagining what it means to be (more than) human in a 21st Century mediascape. In addition to presenting the work of conference panellists, our exhibition features work from UCL MAL’s global network of anthropologists, artists and researchers.

VIRTUAL EXHIBITION

MULTIMEDIA ENCOUNTERS

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHES TO ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

HOW TO NAVIGATE THE EXHIBITION

Below is an outline of the three possible linear journeys together with indications of where the portal to the next space is located. These are titled route 1, route 2 and route 3.

Each route's journey will start and end in the default ‘crater’ setting (Wade Wallerstein's Room), where you will be invited to recursively explore alternative routes. This information is also available to be downloaded in a PDF format below. However, we also encourage you to take on the challenge of locating these portals yourselves: you may find unexpected encounters...

You can also directly access the individual exhibition rooms in the descriptions below.

ENTER THE BEGINNING OF THE VIRTUAL EXHIBITION THROUGH ROOM 0

ROOM 7: Makda Iyasu


ENTER ROOM HERE Mx Chiquita is an exploration of gender fluidity in the Amazon and was part of The Third Space exhibition that looks at themes of spaces and marginality. The room consists of a futuristic backdrop for showcasing a series of intimate interviews, simulating a grand billboard experience. Behind the seductive imagery is a documentation of the struggles of a queer movement in contemporary Brazil. The viewer is transported into the story of a party of resistance for over 40 years, happening alongside the religious Círio de Nazaré celebrations. The space is balanced with colourful devotional objects and showcases the famous banana from the American companyChiquita. Step into a world of imagination and queer emancipation in an invigorating, simulated space.





To find the path forward, walk through the screen to the terrain beyond. You will find three portals scattered around the outskirts of this default landscape on the outside of the installation. The blue portal marks the start to route one, the purple portal is for route two, while the red portal initialises route three.

ROUTE 1

ROOM 6: Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin


ENTER ROOM HERE Proof of Concept willfully misinterprets objects of design, engendering an epistemic action against the utility of brainstorming, prototyping and assessing. In light of this, Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin have staged a series of guerilla actions which humorously subvert the proprietary methods instrumentalised in the interest of capital. The video documentation mediates a re-orientational ethnographic encounter with the body, making it forget and therefore undermine its own productivity. The surrounding assemblage of pots and mugs are also borderline absurd –– these objects cannot service the visitor in any way. They are walkable and haptically frail, foregrounding the suspension of outcomes or goals in favour of laborious processes.





To find your next portal to the next room, continue on towards the very end of the path.

ROOM 8: Tess Baxter


ENTER ROOM HERE In the work The avatar and the artist; collaborations across space and time, Tess Baxter explores massive multiplayer online spaces (such as Second Life) as a collaborative realm of embodied ‘residence’. By bridging together ‘creative commons’ performance pieces and exhibitions with public domain material - in this case, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony no. 3, Heiligenstadt Testament and Second Life - Baxter seeks to demonstrate how digital space is not separate from ‘reality’, and to explore the ways in which it is both used and outwardly conveyed. Drawing on the aesthetic utilised by Baxter, this work is displayed in front of a group of flames and within an infrared, encompassing space.





To continue the exhibition, type ‘/fly’ into the chat. Point your mouse towards the floor to go through it. You will find the next portal below the ground plane.

ROOM 3: Ignacio Gutierrez Crocco


ENTER ROOM HERE Ignacio Gutierrez Crocco’s Perspectivism is an immersive installation that intends to interpret and transmit the stories of the Lafkenche people from Lake Budi in the Araucanía region of Chile about the earthquake of 1960. The installation mixes a habitable infrastructure with 360o video, immersive audio and with interview extracts, to produce a lively simulation of the experience of the earthquake in the Lafkenche-world from the perspective of the Panku rock.





The portal to Funkhouser’s room is on the other side of the floating video.

ROOM 5: Funa Ye


ENTER ROOM HERE In Funa Ye’s work Beauty+, beauty apps and filters –– otherwise known as beautification software –– are central to contemporary notions of the self and the proliferation of facial recognition and data surveillance in China. As the world becomes ‘filtered’ and smoothed over with the click of a button, ‘flaws’ become conditions of a reality left behind. The three-dimensional models have been built on this premise –– all of the faces that you see are merely products of beautification software such as Meitu and Instagram filters.





Teleport yourself into the next room by following the frogs through the foliage.

ROOM 5: Maria Nastase


ENTER ROOM HERE Commonly used as an alternative to data visualisation and as an aid for the visually impaired, sonification has become one of the most effective processes for informing auditory interactions and perceptions of physical surroundings. In Maria Năstase’s Sonic Images: Pixel Sonification in Photographic Image, a new way of exploring photography and sound is realised through pixel sonification. By mapping sound samples and frequencies to pixel colors and photograph brightnesses, pixel sonification allows for both ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’ to be merged into the same perceptual realm via hard-coding sound into photographic images. In this room, you are surrounded by Năstase’s Sonic Images in which sound samples are programmatically altered based on a range of pixel color and brightness values.





Walk through the mouse to make your way to the next portal.

ROOM 6: Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin


ENTER ROOM HERE Proof of Concept willfully misinterprets objects of design, engendering an epistemic action against the utility of brainstorming, prototyping and assessing. In light of this, Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin have staged a series of guerilla actions which humorously subvert the proprietary methods instrumentalised in the interest of capital. The video documentation mediates a re-orientational ethnographic encounter with the body, making it forget and therefore undermine its own productivity. The surrounding assemblage of pots and mugs are also borderline absurd –– these objects cannot service the visitor in any way. They are walkable and haptically frail, foregrounding the suspension of outcomes or goals in favour of laborious processes.





North-east to the spawn point is a white pot with a handle. Step inside of it in order to find your next portal.

ROOM 8: Tess Baxter


ENTER ROOM HERE In the work The avatar and the artist; collaborations across space and time, Tess Baxter explores massive multiplayer online spaces (such as Second Life) as a collaborative realm of embodied ‘residence’. By bridging together ‘creative commons’ performance pieces and exhibitions with public domain material - in this case, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony no. 3, Heiligenstadt Testament and Second Life - Baxter seeks to demonstrate how digital space is not separate from ‘reality’, and to explore the ways in which it is both used and outwardly conveyed. Drawing on the aesthetic utilised by Baxter, this work is displayed in front of a group of flames and within an infrared, encompassing space.





Peek under the pair of trousers for your next portal.

ROOM 8: Tess Baxter


ENTER ROOM HERE In the work The avatar and the artist; collaborations across space and time, Tess Baxter explores massive multiplayer online spaces (such as Second Life) as a collaborative realm of embodied ‘residence’. By bridging together ‘creative commons’ performance pieces and exhibitions with public domain material - in this case, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony no. 3, Heiligenstadt Testament and Second Life - Baxter seeks to demonstrate how digital space is not separate from ‘reality’, and to explore the ways in which it is both used and outwardly conveyed. Drawing on the aesthetic utilised by Baxter, this work is displayed in front of a group of flames and within an infrared, encompassing space.





Your next portal lies behind one of the encircling videos.

ROUTE 2

ROOM 7: Makda Iyasu


ENTER ROOM HERE Mx Chiquita is an exploration of gender fluidity in the Amazon and was part of The Third Space exhibition that looks at themes of spaces and marginality. The room consists of a futuristic backdrop for showcasing a series of intimate interviews, simulating a grand billboard experience. Behind the seductive imagery is a documentation of the struggles of a queer movement in contemporary Brazil. The viewer is transported into the story of a party of resistance for over 40 years, happening alongside the religious Círio de Nazaré celebrations. The space is balanced with colourful devotional objects and showcases the famous banana from the American companyChiquita. Step into a world of imagination and queer emancipation in an invigorating, simulated space.





Float upwards towards the image with the tree in the middle. Behind it you will see a purple sphere. Enter it to get teleported to the next room.

ROOM 6: Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin


ENTER ROOM HERE Proof of Concept willfully misinterprets objects of design, engendering an epistemic action against the utility of brainstorming, prototyping and assessing. In light of this, Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin have staged a series of guerilla actions which humorously subvert the proprietary methods instrumentalised in the interest of capital. The video documentation mediates a re-orientational ethnographic encounter with the body, making it forget and therefore undermine its own productivity. The surrounding assemblage of pots and mugs are also borderline absurd –– these objects cannot service the visitor in any way. They are walkable and haptically frail, foregrounding the suspension of outcomes or goals in favour of laborious processes.





Turn fly mode on by typing ‘/fly’ into the chat. This will allow you to walk out of the torus. For your next portal, make your way inwards towards the trees.

ROOM 3: Ignacio Gutierrez Crocco


ENTER ROOM HERE Ignacio Gutierrez Crocco’s Perspectivism is an immersive installation that intends to interpret and transmit the stories of the Lafkenche people from Lake Budi in the Araucanía region of Chile about the earthquake of 1960. The installation mixes a habitable infrastructure with 360o video, immersive audio and with interview extracts, to produce a lively simulation of the experience of the earthquake in the Lafkenche-world from the perspective of the Panku rock.





Make your way up towards the tip of the black post right to the spawn point to locate the portal to the next room.

ROOM 5: Funa Ye


ENTER ROOM HERE In Funa Ye’s work Beauty+, beauty apps and filters –– otherwise known as beautification software –– are central to contemporary notions of the self and the proliferation of facial recognition and data surveillance in China. As the world becomes ‘filtered’ and smoothed over with the click of a button, ‘flaws’ become conditions of a reality left behind. The three-dimensional models have been built on this premise –– all of the faces that you see are merely products of beautification software such as Meitu and Instagram filters.





To make your way to the next portal, go inside the mouse.

ROOM 5: Funa Ye


ENTER ROOM HERE In Funa Ye’s work Beauty+, beauty apps and filters –– otherwise known as beautification software –– are central to contemporary notions of the self and the proliferation of facial recognition and data surveillance in China. As the world becomes ‘filtered’ and smoothed over with the click of a button, ‘flaws’ become conditions of a reality left behind. The three-dimensional models have been built on this premise –– all of the faces that you see are merely products of beautification software such as Meitu and Instagram filters.





Find your next portal by going inside the grey pot.

ROOM 5: Maria Nastase


ENTER ROOM HERE Commonly used as an alternative to data visualisation and as an aid for the visually impaired, sonification has become one of the most effective processes for informing auditory interactions and perceptions of physical surroundings. In Maria Năstase’s Sonic Images: Pixel Sonification in Photographic Image, a new way of exploring photography and sound is realised through pixel sonification. By mapping sound samples and frequencies to pixel colors and photograph brightnesses, pixel sonification allows for both ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’ to be merged into the same perceptual realm via hard-coding sound into photographic images. In this room, you are surrounded by Năstase’s Sonic Images in which sound samples are programmatically altered based on a range of pixel color and brightness values.





For the next exhibition room, make your way outside the 360 projection.

ROOM 5: Funa Ye


ENTER ROOM HERE In Funa Ye’s work Beauty+, beauty apps and filters –– otherwise known as beautification software –– are central to contemporary notions of the self and the proliferation of facial recognition and data surveillance in China. As the world becomes ‘filtered’ and smoothed over with the click of a button, ‘flaws’ become conditions of a reality left behind. The three-dimensional models have been built on this premise –– all of the faces that you see are merely products of beautification software such as Meitu and Instagram filters.





Continue the exhibition by going outside the 360 projection.

ROOM 5: Maria Nastase


ENTER ROOM HERE Commonly used as an alternative to data visualisation and as an aid for the visually impaired, sonification has become one of the most effective processes for informing auditory interactions and perceptions of physical surroundings. In Maria Năstase’s Sonic Images: Pixel Sonification in Photographic Image, a new way of exploring photography and sound is realised through pixel sonification. By mapping sound samples and frequencies to pixel colors and photograph brightnesses, pixel sonification allows for both ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’ to be merged into the same perceptual realm via hard-coding sound into photographic images. In this room, you are surrounded by Năstase’s Sonic Images in which sound samples are programmatically altered based on a range of pixel color and brightness values.





To find your next portal, continue on to the outermost tree. You will find a black cube at its root inside of which is the next portal.

ROUTE 3

ROOM 7: Makda Iyasu


ENTER ROOM HERE Mx Chiquita is an exploration of gender fluidity in the Amazon and was part of The Third Space exhibition that looks at themes of spaces and marginality. The room consists of a futuristic backdrop for showcasing a series of intimate interviews, simulating a grand billboard experience. Behind the seductive imagery is a documentation of the struggles of a queer movement in contemporary Brazil. The viewer is transported into the story of a party of resistance for over 40 years, happening alongside the religious Círio de Nazaré celebrations. The space is balanced with colourful devotional objects and showcases the famous banana from the American companyChiquita. Step into a world of imagination and queer emancipation in an invigorating, simulated space.





Discover your next portal by going past the video on one of the ends of the tunnel.

ROOM 8: Tess Baxter


ENTER ROOM HERE In the work The avatar and the artist; collaborations across space and time, Tess Baxter explores massive multiplayer online spaces (such as Second Life) as a collaborative realm of embodied ‘residence’. By bridging together ‘creative commons’ performance pieces and exhibitions with public domain material - in this case, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony no. 3, Heiligenstadt Testament and Second Life - Baxter seeks to demonstrate how digital space is not separate from ‘reality’, and to explore the ways in which it is both used and outwardly conveyed. Drawing on the aesthetic utilised by Baxter, this work is displayed in front of a group of flames and within an infrared, encompassing space.





Continue the exhibition by going inside the black cube behind the roadblocks.

ROOM 7: Makda Iyasu


ENTER ROOM HERE Mx Chiquita is an exploration of gender fluidity in the Amazon and was part of The Third Space exhibition that looks at themes of spaces and marginality. The room consists of a futuristic backdrop for showcasing a series of intimate interviews, simulating a grand billboard experience. Behind the seductive imagery is a documentation of the struggles of a queer movement in contemporary Brazil. The viewer is transported into the story of a party of resistance for over 40 years, happening alongside the religious Círio de Nazaré celebrations. The space is balanced with colourful devotional objects and showcases the famous banana from the American companyChiquita. Step into a world of imagination and queer emancipation in an invigorating, simulated space.





To find your portal to the next room, continue past the central light which is illuminating the floor.

ROOM 0: Wade Wallerstein


ENTER ROOM HERE Virtual Phenomenology is an ongoing investigation into the lived experience of traveling through, inhabiting, or otherwise interacting with virtual and simulated spaces, landscapes, and software environments. Wallerstein has spent time traversing virtual environments and conducting ethnographic field research across various computer-generated realities. Wallerstein’s research is grounded by Tom Boellstorff’s assertion that the virtual is not reducible or opposed to the real; instead, the virtual is opposed to the actual. Both the virtual and the actual are very much real, but rooted in the affordances of their material singularity. Further drawing upon Christopher Tilley’s definition of phenomenology as encompassing the relationship between Being and Being in the World, this project seeks to uncover how the material affordances, aesthetic conventions, and social mechanics of commercial 3D interactive virtual worlds shape social understandings of space as well as cultural relations amongst online communities. In this iteration of Virtual Phenomenology, Wallerstein presents a selection of field note recordings inside Ghost of Tsushima, a single-player game developed by Sucker Punch Productions and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4 system. Noted amongst gaming communities for its sharp computer-generated graphics, engaging gameplay, and hyperrealistic environments, Ghost of Tsushima presents an interesting case study in virtual landscape phenomenology in both its fantastical symbolic representation of late 13th Century Japan, high-caliber world simulation, and built-in tools for environment modulation and recording. The site-specific installation in Mozilla Hubs for Multimedia Encounters presents a kaleidoscopic view into this world, showcasing a number of overlapping videos from inside the game world recorded using virtual camera software. The overwhelming barrage of overlapping visual information displayed in this installation in turn simulate the over-stimulating and massively multiple qualities of these kinds of 3D virtual worlds, which uniquely offer opportunities for players/users/visitors/travelers to experience rapid nonlinear movement through an unimaginable number of high-fidelity environments at once. The experience engendered by these immersive imaging technologies, software environments, and gaming interfaces is ultimately one of fragmentation or context collapse.





Step through the film to discover the black cube with the portal to the next room.

ROOM 5: Funa Ye


ENTER ROOM HERE In Funa Ye’s work Beauty+, beauty apps and filters –– otherwise known as beautification software –– are central to contemporary notions of the self and the proliferation of facial recognition and data surveillance in China. As the world becomes ‘filtered’ and smoothed over with the click of a button, ‘flaws’ become conditions of a reality left behind. The three-dimensional models have been built on this premise –– all of the faces that you see are merely products of beautification software such as Meitu and Instagram filters.





To enter the next exhibition room, make your way to the chin of the upwards-facing model and step inside it.

ROOM 6: Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin


ENTER ROOM HERE Proof of Concept willfully misinterprets objects of design, engendering an epistemic action against the utility of brainstorming, prototyping and assessing. In light of this, Stratton Coffman and Isadora Dannin have staged a series of guerilla actions which humorously subvert the proprietary methods instrumentalised in the interest of capital. The video documentation mediates a re-orientational ethnographic encounter with the body, making it forget and therefore undermine its own productivity. The surrounding assemblage of pots and mugs are also borderline absurd –– these objects cannot service the visitor in any way. They are walkable and haptically frail, foregrounding the suspension of outcomes or goals in favour of laborious processes.





Teleport yourself into the next room by entering the floating black cube north-west to the spawn point, behind one of the floating collages.

ROOM 7: Makda Iyasu


ENTER ROOM HERE Mx Chiquita is an exploration of gender fluidity in the Amazon and was part of The Third Space exhibition that looks at themes of spaces and marginality. The room consists of a futuristic backdrop for showcasing a series of intimate interviews, simulating a grand billboard experience. Behind the seductive imagery is a documentation of the struggles of a queer movement in contemporary Brazil. The viewer is transported into the story of a party of resistance for over 40 years, happening alongside the religious Círio de Nazaré celebrations. The space is balanced with colourful devotional objects and showcases the famous banana from the American companyChiquita. Step into a world of imagination and queer emancipation in an invigorating, simulated space.





Look for a green rectangle next to the image of a beauty mask for the next portal.

ROOM 8: Tess Baxter


ENTER ROOM HERE In the work The avatar and the artist; collaborations across space and time, Tess Baxter explores massive multiplayer online spaces (such as Second Life) as a collaborative realm of embodied ‘residence’. By bridging together ‘creative commons’ performance pieces and exhibitions with public domain material - in this case, Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony no. 3, Heiligenstadt Testament and Second Life - Baxter seeks to demonstrate how digital space is not separate from ‘reality’, and to explore the ways in which it is both used and outwardly conveyed. Drawing on the aesthetic utilised by Baxter, this work is displayed in front of a group of flames and within an infrared, encompassing space.





Go into the middle of the fire for the next portal.

©2019 by UCL Multimedia Anthropology Lab

University College London, 14 Taviton St, London WC1H 0BW United Kingdom

@UCL_MAL

info@uclmal.com