ONGOING: VIRTUAL EXHIBITIONS
This exhibition 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. It 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.
This exhibition creatively explores the role that non-textual methods—such as film, sound, 360 video, projection mapping, drawing and graphic ethnography—can play in contemporary academic practice. Multimedia Anthropology Now tests the limits of everyday media by bringing together cross-disciplinary works that break down institutional elitism to present themselves to anyone, anywhere in the form of a publicly available webpage.
CONFERENCE AND EXHIBITIONS
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 offered stimulating debates with over 30 speakers. 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.
This exhibition's ambition was to transform the Slade Research Centre into a portal for exchange between cultural, cosmological and disciplinary points of view. This took place through experimental workshops and presentations that focus on sound, VR, live collaboration and spaces of social intimacy. Additionally, The Portal Will Open hosted an open session of the reading group ‘Anthropocene Futures’, and a public event built on MAL’s successful series of seminars.
This exhibition examined technologies of capture and perspective exchange, exploring their role in both art and anthropology. Taking place in the context of Higher Resolution, as part of TATE Exchange, we led a workshop that explored how ways of seeing and believing encode themselves into technological objects.
This immersive exhibition presents contemporary research on ecological crisis and human futures. Over the course of the evening, immersive technologies, visual projections and textured soundscapes presented multiple narratives of the Anthropocene. We will consider the diverse relationships between humans and their environments, and the multiple ways these relationships are understood as they transform.
PAST: THE SEMINAR SERIES
VIRTUAL REALITY MASTERCLASS
Masterclass with Mary Matheson
11th May 2022 | 6PM - 8.30PM | online
This engaging masterclass will focus on the emergent use of immersive technologies in research practice, exploring the potential of Extended Reality as a tool for anthropologists and social science researchers, using specific projects of participants as case studies and invitations for dialogue, inclusive discussion and co-creation. The aim is to innovate anthropological practice and support the development of a more participative, experimental and creative understanding of what ethnography can be, while generating new and different types of epistemic possibilities and onto-political engagements.
/// I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S NOT REALITY ///
Panel Discussion with Rafael Schacter
Friday 6th March 2020 | 6PM - 8PM | Room 106 | Roberts Building | UCL Engineering
UCL MAL invites you to join us for an evening panel discussion presenting an anthropological approach to understanding computer vision, simulation, and digital curation techniques as crucial forces that delineate aesthetic value and truth in the post-digital era. Featuring three different curatorial projects from the 2019-2020 Wrong Biennale—Off Site Project, Digital Arts Residency, and Specter World—moderated by UCL Anthropology of Art professor Rafael Schacter, this conversation will inform on major currents in digital creative spaces and their relationship to wider visual cultural movements.
Seminar with Dana Walrath
Friday 1st February 2019, 6-8pm, Daryll Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Comics, an outsider, public, medium of fragments and simultaneity aligns beautifully with anthropological theory and mission. But only recently have they found a place of respect within the academy. This workshop will combine analysis of existing graphic anthropological texts with hands-on exercises in creating ethnographic comics and using comics as a tool for all phases of anthropological inquiry: from field work, to writer’s block, to graphic ethnography.” - Dana Walrath
Dana Walrath, a writer, artist, and anthropologist, likes to cross borders and disciplines with her work. Her graphic memoir, Aliceheimer’s (Penn State Press 2016) about life with her mother, Alice, before and during dementia, has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Philadelphia Inquirer and on NPR. She has spoken extensively about the role of comics in healing throughout North America and Eurasia including two TEDx talks.
Evening Seminar with Thomas Yeomans
Friday 14th December 2018, 5-7pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
A ritual can be a religious, spiritual, domestic and/or magic act. It can be performed in public or private, by one person, or by many. It can be grounded in a particular tradition or devised by the practitioner. Unmediated by the screen and acted out live in the flesh, the radical queer performances that comprise Future Ritual challenge the capitalization and privatization of both virtual and actual spaces. Future Ritual resists the politics of assimilation, celebrating instead subversion, indecency, aberrance and difference. Future Ritual is a platform to reclaim practices of magical thinking, ritual, fluid identities and leaderless activism, from the online sphere, to take them off-line and to explore, analyse, and imagine future possibilities. This project asks the questions, how can arcane technologies shape our future? What do future rituals look like? Who are they for? And what should they try and do?
HYPER-REALITY & ANTHROPOLOGY
Ethnographic Film Screening & Conversation with Katya Lachowicz
Friday 7th December 2018, 5-7pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Filmmaker and Anthropologist Katya Lachowicz will present her 2013 film ‘The Others,’ in addition to a new work in development filmed in London’s subterranean infrastructure. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Lachowicz and UCL MAL curator Wade Wallerstein.
The Others (2013) is a three-channel experimental documentary that explores the underlying emotions of modern Polish identity politics, caught up in the polarised narratives of nationalism and religion. Dipping in and out of bombastic political commemorations and the elusive remains of multiculturalism, it both observes the construct of a national Polish identity while simultaneously constructing itself.
Artist Talk with Sarah Derat and Rachel McRae
Friday 30th November 2018, 5-7pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Digital&Dead (2017), produced by artists Sarah Derat and Rachel McRae, is an immersive Augmented Reality (AR) sculpture only visible through the screen of a smart-device held up like a window onto the other side. The viewer can interact and examine a monument haunting the exhibition space: the sculpture appearing on-screen through a Target-as-Portal, as if it were within the room. The viewer can walk around the monument as it morphs between different shapes, mimicking the minimal geometry of gravestones, tombs, monuments and monolithic server/data farms. They simultaneously experiences a multi-layer sound composition using field recordings from London cemeteries, a text-piece culled from social media memorials and conversations with chatbots.
NEW MATERIALITY AND THE DIGITAL ARTIFACT
Artist Talk with Juan Covelli
Friday 23rd November 2018, 6-8pm, Archaeology Lecture Theatre, UCL Anthropology
In his recent work, Covelli has been experimenting with artifacts from the Dogon tribe of West Africa that he discovered in the Guttormsgaard Archive in Norway. Through his research about Dogon cosmology as well as various digitization efforts, Covelli has created digital objects that intervene in and re-figure the original artifacts, thus creating entirely new entities. Covelli’s concerns are connected to the archive’s potential of being a tool for activism and art making against digital colonialism. He is fascinated by the digital archive as a way of democratizing the object and liberating it from physical and geographical constraints. Today we experience a paradigm shift from perspective to the realm of volume. The rise of scanning and 3D technologies has made this change ever more relevant. For Covelli, the significance lies in the reproduction and production of objects where repetition becomes difference. If we are able to reproduce endless exact copies, what happens with the original?
Evening Seminar with Cemil Hamazouglu
Friday 16th November 2018, 5-7pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
This lecture will introduce the concept of sonic ethnography as a viable methodology for understanding a field site. this talk In the talk, Hamzaoglu will cover the issues surrounding the politics of sound and engagements with diverse hearing cultures, culminating in an exploration into contemporary sound art through an anthropological lens.
Cemil Hemzaoglu is a digital anthropologist and musician exploring the materiality of sound, performance, identity and the transformative effect of digital technologies on creative landscapes in sound production. Recently, Hamzaoglu embarked on research in cooperation with buskers and independent sound artists in London.
CURATING THE DIGITAL | WATCH ONLINE
Evening Seminar with Wade Wallerstein
Friday 9th November 2018, 6-8pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Every day, an average of 1.8 billion images is uploaded to the Internet. In our digital age, one defined by an Internet inundated by visual content, curation is a vital and necessary creative task to match the quantity and velocity of modern visual outputs. Not only must individuals curate themselves to participate in this digital culture of sharing, but fine art curators must adapt digital techniques to contend with new art forms within their native material contexts. As algorithmic processes of selection increasingly define our experiences in virtual environments, human-led curation emerges as an important counterpoint to machine vision.
1-Day Workshop with Blanca Regina
Saturday 20th October 2018, 11am-5pm, Archaeology Lecture Theatre, UCL Anthropology
This intensive all-day workshop will introduce projection mapping and video applications beyond the screen in installations and immersive spaces. We will look at diverse techniques for the production of audiovisual installations in architectural spaces and on objects, and consider its application in diverse forms of creative practice.
Evening Seminar with Blanca Regina
Friday 19th October 2018, 5-7pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Join us this Friday 19th October for a seminar with Dr Blanca Regina, who will present a lecture and a short performance looking at the concept, history and development of immersive technologies and projection art. She will introduce elements from the different aesthetics connected to the content creation and the reception of these works, and consider the role of these audiovisual technologies in creative anthropological practice.
Blanca is an artist, curator and tutor based in London. Her work is heterogeneous and looks at expanded cinema, free improvisation, audiovisual design and performance art. She has been leading audiovisual performance art and projection mapping workshops and has curated events internationally. She is interested in the themes of language, identity and archive; she is exploring the interplay of image and sound, digital and analogue media.
Evening Seminar with Grace Boyle
Thursday 1st March 2018, 6-8pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Grace will talk about her work and the concept of multi-sensory storytelling, followed by a discussion about the role of new immersive technologies in documenting and presenting work in diverse ethnographic contexts.
Her multi-sensory VR film Munduruku: The Fight to Defend the Heart of the Amazon is made in collaboration with Greenpeace and Alchemy VR, draws on other senses such as smell together with immersive VR: "the experience translates real multisensory data into a coherent story for audiences, testing the boundaries of storytelling by taking them on narrative journeys that speak to all of their senses."
Evening Seminar with Alex Pearson
Thursday 22nd February 6-8pm, Darryl Forde Seminar Room, UCL Anthropology
Alex Pearson, director of VR experience Future Aleppo, created in collaboration with Syrian refugees, will be presenting the VR film, and discussing the role of technology in collaborative ethnographic projects.