Multimedia Anthropology Now draws together anthropologists and artists from around the world in an exhibition of experimental multimedia research. Featuring sixteen different works, Multimedia Anthropology Now 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.
Multimedia Anthropology Now furthers UCL MAL’s goal of exploring innovative and non-textual approaches to understand human diversity by showcasing interdisciplinary examinations facilitated by contemporary media. This exhibition takes anthropology beyond what can be expressed by words, making concrete our ideology that multisensory and multimedia engagements with anthropological research provide more holistic experiences of alterity.
This exhibition seeks to put various media, field sites, communities, creative practitioners and researchers on an equal plane. UCL MAL does not privilege any medium, viewing modality or subject matter, and seeks to develop a research practice that is thoroughly inclusive—inviting a broader range of participants as collaborators in the research process, and presenting multisensory experiences in a format that is accessible to a more diverse audience of all abilities.
In efforts to keep each creator’s individual voice intact, the textual descriptions of many of the projects were written by the creators themselves, presenting their material in their own unique voices. We hope that this helps each retain their autonomy, and moreover forge a more direct connection to the viewer.
Multimedia Anthropology Now presents works that are experimental, in that they are testing the limits of research and practice, and many exhibits are still works in process. Almost all of the pages have some degree of interactivity, inviting viewers to become participants in the exhibition itself. We have presented these materials in a non-linear way, which viewers can explore at their own pace. We worked with the content management system Wix, which can be used for free, to show that hypermedia digital displays can be created by nearly anyone. Neither art nor anthropology should be a black box, and MAL is committed to democratising anthropological research, both in method and in outcome.
Multimedia Anthropology Now is our first exhibition. We hope that it can serve as a model for future endeavors, and help encourage the proliferation of new platforms to showcase the practitioners and projects at the cutting edge of experimental multimedia research.
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