Ciclo de seminarios xcol > La invención etnográfica: el arte de hacer preguntas relevantes

Vivimos en una época de grandes crisis que evidencian la imposibilidad de sostener nuestros modos de existencia. Esta situación nos exige repensar y reformular nuestra práctica antropológica para contribuir de manera relevante a las problemáticas de nuestro mundo. A nuestro juicio, una de las posibles respuestas pasa por explorar y animar nuevos modos de indagación antropológica, porque son muchos los que reconocen las limitaciones crecientes de los métodos de investigación de las ciencias sociales: quizá insuficientes, demasiado rígidos y poco adecuados para abordar la complejidad de nuestra contemporaneidad. Las llamadas a una investigación etnográfica más atenta a la pluralidad de los sentidos, la incorporación de múltiples tecnologías digitales, la exploración de formas de colaboración o diferentes aproximaciones experimentales son algunas de las respuestas ante esta situación.

Esta serie de seminarios interviene en ese amplio debate sobre los modos de indagación de la antropología, y lo hace proponiendo una revisión de nuestra manera de conceptualizar la etnografía. Esta ha sido comúnmente concebida como un género de escritura, un método de investigación o una actividad de aprendizaje. Ciertamente todas esas visiones son valiosas, pero ignoran un aspecto central de la actividad etnográfica: la creatividad e improvisación que le es integral. Más allá de los métodos que nos guían en la ardua tarea del trabajo de campo, la etnografía requiere siempre creatividad e inventiva, tanto durante el trabajo de campo, como también más allá de este. Planteamos, por ello, la posibilidad de concebir la etnografía como un ejercicio de invención relacional.

Toda una serie de proyectos contemporáneos, que se alejan de los modos de hacer canonizados en manuales y guías metodológicas, ejemplifican una visión como la que proponemos. Estas investigaciones nos muestran que el trabajo de campo, y de manera amplia la etnografía, es más amplia, compleja y sofisticada de lo que solemos pensar. No pretendemos hacer una lectura revisionista con esta afirmación, todo lo contrario, un vistazo a la historia de la antropología nos enseña que, en realidad, esta siempre ha estado atravesada por gestos de creatividad relacional.

La serie de seminarios ‘La invención etnográfica’ presenta un conjunto de investigaciones que dan cuenta de los esfuerzos de antropólogos y antropólogas de orientaciones muy diversas por ampliar el repertorio de nuestros modos de indagación etnográfica. Cada uno de los proyectos que discutiremos presenta un dispositivo de campo o, expresado alternativamente, cada proyecto describe cómo disponer las condiciones del encuentro etnográfico para pensar y construir problematizaciones con nuestras contrapartes a través de una plataforma digital, una exposición, o la actividad colectiva de bordado. Tras cada una de esas investigaciones, y esto es lo que nos gustaría destacar, encontramos el esfuerzo denodado de antropólogos y antropólogas por formular preguntas relevantes para los tiempos que vivimos.

Cartel e imagen gráfica: Ignacio Serrano

Organizado por: xcol. An Ethnographic Inventory, en colaboración con GINADYC (UCM) & CareNet-IN3 (UOC)


Esta serie de seminarios sirve, también, de ocasión para presentar públicamente el libro ‘An Ethnographic Inventory. Field Devices for Anthropological Inquiry’. Los proyectos presentados en las distintas sesiones forman parte de él.

Cada seminario presenta uno de los proyectos etnográficos incluidos en el libro. Cada presentación, de unos 40 minutos, contará con acompañantes que responderán a ella. Posteriormente habrá un debate abierto con los asistentes de 30 minutos.

Detalles prácticos de los seminarios
Dónde: Seminarios online, en el siguiente enlace: https://meet.google.com/tjo-ymyz-sgr (comprobad más adelante el enlace por si hubiera cambios).
Cuándo: Jueves de 16.00-17.30 (CET).
Cuándo comienzan: Entre el 2 de marzo y 27 de abril de 2023.

Cómo participar: Seminarios abiertos, aunque es posible inscribirse. Las personas inscritas recibirán por anticipado un dossier del seminario.
Formulario de inscripción: https://forms.gle/XsUDvu5nDLwfociv5

Programa ‘La invención etnográfica’ (PDF).

§ PROGRAMA § 

2 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

La invención etnográfica: antropología para un tiempo de crisis

Adolfo Estalella (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) y Tomás Sánchez Criado (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).
Acompañante: Andrea Ballestero (University of Southern California).

La etnografía es un ejercicio de inventiva relacional, así nos lo muestran los proyectos de este ciclo de seminarios. Estos no siguen técnicas estándar ni se ajustan a convenciones metodológicas, por el contrario, antropólogos y antropólogas llevan a cabo sus investigaciones disponiendo de manera creativa las condiciones para sus encuentros etnográficos, ya sea creando infraestructuras digitales para la colaboración o comisariando exposiciones mientras investigan con artistas. A estos arreglos situados que disponen la situación etnográfica los llamamos dispositivos de campo que emergen de la inventiva relacional que es integral a todo encuentro etnográfico. Esta invocación creativa no debe entenderse como un llamamiento a técnicas novedosas o innovaciones metodológicas, todo lo contrario, se trata de reconocer que el encuentro etnográfico es siempre una situación que demanda de la creatividad relacional del antropólogo. Ante la constatación generalizada de que nuestros métodos son incapaces de responder a los desafíos de la contemporaneidad, creemos que animar la inventiva de la indagación etnográfica es una manera de abrirse a eso que nuestro colega Martin Savransky ha descrito como la imperiosa necesidad de especular con la posibilidad de inventar diferentes modos de hacer preguntas.

9 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo curar/cuidar de nuestras preguntas etnográficas

Francisco Martínez (Estonian Academy of Arts).
Acompañante: Roger Sansi Roca (Universitat de Barcelona).

Las exposiciones suelen entenderse en antropología como técnicas de representación, sin embargo, también pueden usarse como un modo de indagación. Desde esta perspectiva, comisariar o curar) una exposición no es solo una manera de comunicar resultados de investigación sino un dispositivo para desafiar, inventar o cuestionar críticamente la realidad, siendo parte de una reconfiguración en curso de lo que podría ser el conocimiento y la política. Al hacer uso de las exposiciones como dispositivos experimentales, podemos mostrar nuestras preocupaciones y hacer que el campo etnográfico se despliegue de manera colaborativa e inventiva. Este modo de indagación ayuda a los etnógrafos a construir escenarios más distribuidos de producción de conocimiento, operando tanto como un objeto de indagación como un dispositivo disponible para diferentes actores para actuar-saber. De ahí que las exposiciones se puedan usar para abrir un espacio entre el conocimiento y la invención, así como nuevas formas de estar en el campo.

16 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo producir una etnografía responsiva

Jorge Núñez y Maka Suárez.
Acompañante: Elisenda Ardévol (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).

Las plataformas digitales colaborativas e interdisciplinarias abren nuevos modos de investigación para participar en la producción de datos sobre problemas sociales apremiantes, como la violencia y la encarcelación, por ejemplo. La etnografía está particularmente bien posicionada para explorar los entendimientos de diferentes comunidades de conocimiento, así como para documentar las relaciones de poder entre varios actores. Medios como visualizaciones de datos, podcasts, estadísticas oficiales (y no oficiales), archivos legales o encuestas económicas, todos ellos son recursos que ofrecen la posibilidad de incluir diversas voces y puntos de vista. La posibilidad de combinar la etnografía con la investigación impulsada por plataformas digitales tiene la capacidad de generar colaboraciones inesperadas y permitir conexiones novedosas entre temas aparentemente no relacionados. El resultado es un espacio digital experimental para la producción de estudios receptivos.

23 de marzo, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo jugar a la etnografía

Ignacio Farías (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) y Tomás Sánchez Criado (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya).
Acompañante: Marjorie Murray (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile).

Los juegos se han convertido recientemente en espacios relevantes para la experimentación antropológica, permitiendo enfoques alternativos al análisis crítico, el trabajo conceptual y la discusión ética. Pero, ¿cómo pueden los juegos volverse relevantes como dispositivos de campo para la investigación etnográfica? El uso de juegos en el campo implica más que hacer etnografía por medios lúdicos o jugar con sus contrapartes. De hecho, las prácticas de “diseño de juegos” y “testeo de juegos” ofrecen modos peculiarmente recursivos de investigación etnográfica. Por un lado, (i) la práctica de diseñar un juego posibilita modos de inventar y proyectar etnográficamente relaciones de campo; en lugar de inscribir o prescribir dinámicas sociales intrincadas, el proceso de diseño del juego implica una forma de exploración etnográfica del campo. Por otro lado, (ii) la práctica del testeo de juegos, más que simplemente permitir reflexionar críticamente sobre un juego dado, nutre relaciones para-etnográficas con los interlocutores. De hecho, en estos testeos también se pone a prueba la indexicalidad etnográfica del juego: desencadenar discusiones o reflexiones y comparaciones de las experiencias representadas en el juego con las que los participantes podrían haber tenido anteriormente, lo que permite la creación recursiva de prototipos.

13 de abril, 17.30-19.00 CET

Cómo mapear a la contra en la investigación etnográfica

3Cs, Sebastián Cobarrubias (Universidad de Zaragoza) y Maribel Casas Cortés (Universidad de Zaragoza).
Acompañantes: Gunther Dietz (Universidad Veracruzana) y Aurora Álvarez Veinguer (Universidad de Granada).

Desde su concepción y diseño hasta su producción y distribución, la práctica de elaboración de mapas puede convertirse en parte de un proceso de investigación y fuente de conocimiento. La cartografía puede ser de esta manera un dispositivo de campo para la investigación etnográfica y una forma gráfica de descripción densa que representa información y análisis que emergen de conocimientos situados. El proceso de mapeo puede facilitar el intercambio y catalizar la formación de identidades compartidas y formas colectivas a través de diferentes posiciones y experiencias vividas. Mapeando de esta manera, los esfuerzos etnográficos se convierten en “prácticas de tejido” dentro de campos abarrotados de creadores de conocimiento. Bajo esta agenda intervencionista de “tejer” entre poblaciones afectadas pero fragmentadas, el contramapa pretende transformar los territorios representados.

20 de abril, 16.00-17.30 CET

Cómo bordar la etnografía

Tania Pérez Bustos (Universidad Nacional de Colombia).
Acompañantes: Ana Mazzino y Sebastián Carenzo (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes).

La etnografía bordada se engendra, primero a partir de la necesidad empírica de comprender la continuidad entre las materialidades textiles y los cuerpos que bordan, y segundo, como un dispositivo metodológico a través del cual estudiar colectivamente y en proceso cómo sienten y se conectan nuestros cuerpos. Como primer descubrimiento, aprender a bordar muestra a la etnógrafa cómo su cuerpo sabe y escucha diferente cuando está inmerso en el hacer textil. Este proceso de aprendizaje crea un ambiente íntimo en el que la etnógrafa se relaciona con aquellos a quienes estudia (bordadoras y bordados) y es invitada, entonces, a explorar cómo bordar con otres o cómo invitar a otres a coser puede desvelar nuevas preguntas con las que bordamos lo que queremos entender etnográficamente. En este proceso, el aprendizaje del bordado como dispositivo de campo se transforma de un objeto para estudiar etnográficamente en un artefacto con el que formular nuevas preguntas etnográficas.

27 de abril, 16.00-17.30 CET

Políticas de la invención

Isaac Marrero Guillamón (Universitat de Barcelona) y Martín Savransky (Goldsmiths, University of London).
Acompañante: Olatz González Abrisketa (Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea).

La invención se encuentra en lo mundano y lo ordinario: en el juego lingüístico, en la improvisación social, y en todos esos momentos ubicuos que pueden animar los potenciales y posibilidades de la práctica etnográfica, ya sea para involucrarse en lo político, apuntar hacia nuevos horizontes de posibilidad, o revelar la dinámica cambiante, incierta y emergente en la que se constituyen las relaciones durante el trabajo de campo. La política, en este sentido, consistiría en el arte de imaginar, invocar, o cultivar nuevas posibilidades y arreglos de vida. Cuando todo esté dicho y hecho, cuando todas las garantías epistémicas y las prescripciones metodológicas hayan desaparecido, cuando el buen sentido y los mandatos moralistas hayan encallado, cuando todas las garantías de una base estable se hayan deshecho, todo lo que queda es el principio de invención: Nada se da, todo se inventa.

Espectros de Latour

Jornada de homenaje a Bruno Latour (1947-2022)

9 de febrero de 2023, 10:00-18:30 h

URL: https://www.ucm.es/noticias/58301

Sala de Juntas de la Facultad de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

El reciente fallecimiento de Bruno Latour (1947-2022) resulta una ocasión inexcusable para hacer un homenaje a uno de los sociólogos y antropólogos más importantes e innovadores de las últimas décadas. Desde sus comienzos en sociología de la ciencia, pasando por sus trabajos sobre la antropología de la modernidad, la construcción social de la tecnología o la propia noción de sociedad, y hasta sus últimas obras alrededor de la actual emergencia climática, Latour redefinió el objeto y el método de las ciencias sociales, convirtiéndose en uno de los pensadores más influyentes del siglo XXI.

La jornada pretende generar un espacio académico de encuentro y debate para revisar críticamente las múltiples aportaciones de la obra de Latour. Los “espectros” que titulan la jornada pueden leerse así doblemente: como las “presencias” que persistirán de Latour en las ciencias sociales actuales o futuras (de sus conceptos, de su forma de investigar, de sus planteamientos teóricos y políticos…) y, simultáneamente, como las diferentes “facetas” de una obra relevante para muy distintas áreas del pensamiento contemporáneo.

PROGRAMA

MAÑANA

Presentación de la jornada (10:00-10:15 h.) – Fernando García Selgas, Carmen Romero, Pablo Santoro y Elena Urieta (organizadores)

Sesión 1. Ciencia y tecnología (10:15-11:45 h)

Ponentes:

  • Miquel Doménech (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona-UAB)
  • Juan Manuel Zaragoza (Universidad de Murcia-UM)
  • Carmen Romero (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)

Sesión 2. Arte y diseño (12:00-13:30 h.)

Ponentes:

  • Adolfo Estalella (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
  • Blanca Callén (Elisava-Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)
  • Elena Urieta (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)

TARDE

Sesión 3. Teoría social (15:00-16:30 h.)

Ponentes:

  • Amparo Lasén (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)
  • Iñaki Martínez de Albéniz (Universidad del País Vasco-UPV/EHU)
  • Fernando García Selgas (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)

Sesión 4. Ecología (17:00-18:30 h.)

Ponentes:

  • Carmen Madorrán (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid-UAM)
  • Tomás Sánchez Criado (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya-UOC)
  • Pablo Santoro (Universidad Complutense de Madrid-UCM)

Latour, a joyous multimodal thinker

Text for a short video intervention in the Homage: In conversation with Bruno Latour event, jointly organised last January 16, 2023 by the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology & the Laboratory: Anthropology of Environment | Human Relations at the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (my former institution).

It’s a great pleasure for me to be able to join you all in celebrating one of the figures who has been accompanying me for the last 20 years of my life. I can even say that Bruno Latour is probably one of the main reasons why I became a researcher.

I suppose many of you know Bruno Latour as an anthropologist of science and technology, from his earlier laboratory studies to the works on different kinds of techniques. Some of you might read him as a philosopher of mediation and translation.

But it is as a multimodal thinker that I would like to refer to him. And not only because of his interest in the many modes of existence (multi-modal), but because of his collective explorations of different media forms (multi-media) to articulate them (in a plurality of epistemic ways).

He has notably been exploring different registers of writing, of which two main works stand out:

  1. Paris Ville Invisible: For those studying or interested in studying urban phenomena this is a masterpiece. An essay of photographic social theory, where Latour and Emilie Hermant explore how Paris, the “City of Lights”, cannot exist were it not for a million mediation devices and gadgets circulating to render it graspable, knowable, visible.
  2. But also, Aramis, or The Love of Technology: A study in the form of a detective novel, following the comings and goings, the trajectories of nonexistence and existence of a transportation system in Paris. This one is an incredible food for thought, not only because of its form, but also because neglected more than human agents are granted a specific and concrete voice in the telling, perhaps in connection with the work of writer Richard Powers (I’m thinking here of Galatea 2.2, on machine learning and a computer developing a self; The Overstory, on people dealing with the deep time of trees; or my favourite, The Echomaker, where some sort of Oliver Sacks is confronted with neurological patients finally speaking back at him, disputing his use of them to write books about otherworld minds).

Beyond these experiments in writing, which Latour has been always been undertaking as someone interested in semiotics, I think there are three other passions of his that I believe are of great inspiration for anyone interested in multimodal explorations.

First, his long-time interest in diagrams, which together with Frédérique Aït-Touati and Alexandra Arènes they have been more recently developing even further (check their marvellous Terra Forma). Rather than representational devices aiming to simplify, their diagrams are tools for concept-making and abstraction, enabling to grapple with complex operations of thought: such as, the distinction between purification and translation, the drama of technical scripts, which planet we might be on, or what it might mean to come back down to Earth. Second, Latour has been invested, also together with Aït-Touati, in unfolding dramaturgical experiments. Their most recent works (the Theater of Negotiations discussed in the last chapter of Facing Gaia, or the beautiful Trilogie Terrestre) explore the mise-en-scène of the intrusions of Gaia, making them knowable and politically graspable.

But it is perhaps as a co-curator of exhibitions—or Gedankenaustellungen (thought exhibitions, a wordplay with the German word for thought experiments, as Latour and Peter Weibel called them)—that this multimodal feature is perhaps better apprehensible. Mostly in Making Things Public, which has been a tremendous inspiration for many of us: a whole exhibition exploring the Dingpolitik, that is, the new political formations, or new political architectures that should be made relevant to deal with the multi-scalar assemblies of humans and nonhumans populating our everyday life. But also in the experimentation with protocols to Reset Modernity!. More recently, after publishing Facing Gaia and Down to Earth, he also co-curated the exhibition Critical Zones, which mostly had an online life do to the pandemic, but has perhaps the most beautiful catalogue of them all.

In Critical Zones, as in all his recent work, he has been calling for the arts to step up in the ecological mutation we’re undergoing. This is perhaps nowhere more clearly stated than in his recently published On the Emergence of an Ecological Class: A Memo, together with Nicolaj Schultz. In this work, they call for the arts to have a very peculiar role in composing, equipping this new ecological class. And they do not just refer to politically-minded art, conveying aesthetically ready-made political aspirations, but rather to more speculative, art-based forms of inquiry, exploring the descriptive and affective registers to develop new sensitivities, new aesthetics that should be made relevant to compose such an ecological class. This was something he thoroughly explored, collectively, in the study program he directed at Sciences Po: The School of Political Arts.

For all of these reasons the work of Latour has been of tremendous inspiration for the recent explorations of the Stadtlabor for multimodal anthropology, developing games and other sorts of public devices. To exemplify with our research through and with games, allow me to talk a bit in closing about House of Gossip and, more recently, Waste What?, the two games we’ve prototyped so far.

Using games as media we sought to explore alternative scenographies and devices of fieldwork, where games could act as peculiar multi-sensory assemblies where we could start doing highly-specific forms of research on urban phenomena, also eliciting fieldwork materials to engage in composing diverse kinds of publics.

In House of Gossip we explored, materializing a stairway, how a community of residents could come together: immersing themselves in thinking, or remembering the predicaments of dealing with the peculiar real estate and housing market assemblages creating great troubles in contemporary urban arenas (a true crisis of habitability!), such as in Berlin and many other big European cities.

In Waste What? we have been trying to abstract and reenact—by means of a loop-based game mechanic—the attempts of different institutional and activist initiatives of the circular economy from Berlin, particularly in connection with the Haus der Materialisierung. These are trying to explore, different attempts at closing the circle: that is, thwarting and blocking the throwaway culture of our consumerist societies, engendering new forms of habitability, of inhabiting Gaia.

But these are far from the only ways in which Latour has inspired many of us interested in doing multimodal urban research and public work. Be it at the Stadtlabor, or elsewhere (in my case now in Barcelona), I’m well aware all of us will continue to think and work with Latour’s multimodal impetus for many years to come.

May this be our homage to such a joyous multimodal thinker!

Studienprojekt “Ageing Cities” > Presentation at the IfEE’s Institutskolloquium on Collective Access

Next Tuesday 19.07.2022 2:30-4pm (CET) please join us for the presentation of the Studienprojekt Ageing Cities by Maximilian Apel, Erman Dinc, Christine Maicher, Adam Petras, Doreen Sauer, and Anna Maria Schlotmann, the wonderful group of people with whom I have had the immense luck to work with in the last year.

In this year we’ve been exploring ethnographically how cities & urban designers are responding to the challenge of population ageing, and how we could understand as ethnographers the social & material transformations underway in their efforts to make ‘ageing-friendly’ cities (check the syllabus of the project)

In this choral presentation we aim to show our findings, searching to answer these questions through specific cases, most of them taking place in Berlin (on variegated issues like intergenerational and intercultural gardens or queer housing projects; the urban activism of the gray panthers; the controversies in public space design, focusing particularly on the conflicts of bike infrastructure; and VR projects to enable urban displacement or travel for older people living in residential care homes).

The picture describes a steep street from Alicante. The left part shows the sidewalk, where an older woman with her walker can be seen from behind. The middle part of the picture displays the bike infrastructures. The right part the street and parking spaces. Framing it from both sides there are 4-storey buildings.

The course has also included an excursion in April 2022 to Alicante, Benidorm and neighbouring urban enclaves in Costa Blanca (Spain). This is a very relevant area because of how ageing concerns have turned, since the 1960s, into a vector of urbanisation in the region – developing into what some geographers call “the pensioners’ coast.” But also, and perhaps more importantly, they have sensitised urban designers from the area to respond to these intergenerational design challenges in different ways. In a joint endeavour with STS-inspired architectural researchers from the Critical Pedagogies, Ecological Politics and Material Practices research group of the University of Alicante, this visit allowed us to explore different approaches to architectural practice where older people have more active roles in the design and management of ageing cities.

In showing all of this we not only wish to tell specific stories, but want to share our conceptual and methodological explorations, and the many questions this process brought about around the contested scripts and the distinctive intergenerational challenges of late life urbanism projects

This will be the last session of the Instituskolloquium of the Institut für Europäische Ethnologie (HU Berlin), which this semester had as a theme ‘Collective Access‘.

Here you could view the video recorded from Zoom

Problemas de cuidado y el cuidado de los problemas > Vidas Descontadas

Gracias a la amable invitación de María Martínez, Maite Martín Palomo e Iñaki Rubio, en el marco del seminario permanente del proyecto “Mundo(s) de víctimas 3: Proyecto Vidas Descontadas. Refugios para habitar la desaparición social”, el próximo 15 de junio a las 11:00 estaré compartiendo mi trabajo en torno a: “Problemas de cuidado y el cuidado de los problemas“.

Para ello, revisitaré algunas publicaciones propias recientes (Care in Trouble & Anthropology as a careful design practice?) donde he estado interrogándome sobre la noción de cuidado como concepto y como cualidad de ciertas prácticas “cuidadosas” vinculadas al diseño. Esta indagación ha tenido lugar en un contexto de generalización presente de sus usos, no sólo en la jerga académica de campos como la antropología o los estudios de la ciencia y la tecnología (donde suelo habitar y pasar mi tiempo). A pesar de la relevancia de recuperar sus orígenes combativos e inclusivos prometedores en el pensamiento feminista, la expansión del cuidado más allá de los contextos de salud o cuidado interpersonal ha dado lugar a la aparición de un vocabulario político en toda regla, reivindicado en discursos muchas veces securitarios, trascendiendo a lenguajes institucionales del orden y el mantenimiento, así como alegatos etno-nacionalistas. A pesar de que esta generalización pudiera hacernos pensar en el éxito del término y la gran suerte de vivir en un presente más habitable, la violencia ambiente en que vivimos no parece augurar que esta popularidad tenga un fácil correlato en nuestra cotidianidad, ¿quizá como síntoma de un deseo o una aspiración evanescente? Antes que sugerir arrojar el término por la borda, me gustaría abordar los problemas de cuidado ante los que nos sitúan intervenciones sobre lo social en nombre de una aspiración cuidadosa que parecen tener claro lo que se necesita y cómo, donde la violencia efectiva también aparece como una violencia epistémica. Más allá de usos paliativos o vinculados a la reparación de órdenes existentes, quizá la única vía para que el cuidado no sea parte del problema, pudiera pasar por tratarlo como una práctica del cuidado de los problemas: un modo de abrirnos a los contornos de lo posible de frágiles ecologías de soportes, con conocimientos y maneras de hacer muchas veces relegadas al olvido, cuando no invisibilizadas, donde antes que vidas con contornos claros, la especulación de lo por venir participa de la ingente tarea de construir entornos para la vida plural en el presente (donde, muchas veces, antes que reparar o continuar, necesitaremos desarmar y tirar abajo). Una tarea que, en mi propio trabajo, ha ido vinculada a repensar la etnografía como práctica de diseño cuidadoso (de la que pondré algunos ejemplos vinculados a participar de colectivos de diseño activista desde el montaje de ecologías de documentación abierta, o el trabajo pedagógico para re-sensibilizar a profesionales del diseño urbano a que re-aprendan colaborativamente su práctica ante la radical presencia de quienes suelen hacerse cargo de sus designios). Esto es, una tarea donde el cuidado aparece no tanto como un concepto que clausura, sino como práctica emergente para las ciencias sociales, re-equipando o engendrando formas y dispositivos de indagación cuidadosa (atenta al cuidado de los problemas), para participar de la problematización conjunta de ecologías de soportes en condiciones de violencia ambiente.

Anthropology beyond text? Experiments, devices and platforms of multimodal ethnographic practice

Last July (22-23.07.2021) the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology of the HU Berlin hosted a workshop where we invited a wide variety of colleagues working in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (D-A-CH) to share and discuss their approaches to more-than-textual ethnographic practice.

The event–called “Anthropology beyond text? Experiments, devices and platforms of multimodal ethnographic practice”–took place on Zoom, and in the spirit of thinking more in depth how to value and evaluate multimodal projects, we recorded the conversation to think whether we could find a way of creating a good-enough summary that might allow us to continue thinking and discussing about it.

After different attempts, and thanks to the good work of Nelson Ari Wilhelm, we’re sharing it with the aim of fostering the expansion of such a conversation.

The values of multimodal projects (26.1 & 9.2.2022) > Stadtlabor Online Seminar Series (WiSe 21-22)

In the Winter Semester’s 21-22 Stadtlabor Online Seminar SeriesThe values of multimodal projects“, we aim to invite ground-breaking anthropological projects where multimodality features not just as an add-on of particular inquiries, but as a central mode of research and intervention.

+info: http://hu.berlin/multimodalvalues

Rationale

At a time where the conversation around ‘multimodality’ is gaining momentum, we aim to discuss ‘the values’ of multimodal projects. By this, we mean two main things: The aim of our series would not just be to find the conditions to praise (‘valorise’), but also to appraise (‘evaluate’) multimodal projects. In a nutshell, we want this event series to be an attempt at creating the conceptual grounds for evaluating and institutionalising multimodal endeavours. Hence, to foster multimodal productions.

In particular, we wish to discuss the anthropological value of (i) dramaturgical / performance interventions, and anthropological approaches to (ii) exhibiting and curating. In opening up this space, we seek to highlight projects that we take as valuable contributions: not only to make them more visible but also so that these projects could help us in articulating their multimodal values, as well as inspiring others in their own work.

Not only we want to be able to learn from concrete multimodal approaches – the peculiarity of the media employed, the reasons for their choices – but we wish to create the grounds for a detailed conversation between projects of the same kind, touching upon criteria of anthropological worth.

Video-Summary



26.1.22 (3-5:30pm CET) – How to exhibit anthropologically? 

1. Francisco Martínez: How to Make Ethnographic Research with Exhibitions

Francisco Martínez is an anthropologist dealing with contemporary issues of material culture through ethnographic experiments. In 2018, he was awarded with the Early Career Prize of the European Association of Social Anthropologists. Currently, he works as Associate Professor at Tallinn University and convenes the Collaboratory for Ethnographic Experimentation (EASA Network). Francisco has published two monographs – Ethnographic Experiments with Artists, Designers and Boundary Objects (UCL Press, 2021) and Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia (UCL Press, 2018). He has also edited several books, including Peripheral Methodologies (Routledge, 2021); Politics of Recuperation in Post-Crisis Portugal (Bloomsbury, 2020), and Repair, Brokenness, Breakthrough (Berghahn, 2019), He has also curated different exhibitions – including ‘Objects of Attention’ (Estonian Museum of Applied Art & Design, 2019), and ‘Life in Decline’ (Estonian Mining Museum, 2021).

2. Manuela Bojadžijev: Archive of Refuge

Manuela Bojadžijev, professor at the Institute for European Ethnology (HU Berlin) together with the publicist Carolin Emcke and in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), have created the Archive of Refuge as a digital place of remembrance where stories of flight and expulsion to Germany in the 20th and 21st centuries are preserved and reflected upon. The people who tell their stories in the archive tell of flight and expulsion, of torture, exploitation and deprivation of rights, but also of hope and happiness; they tell of home and exile, of belonging and new beginnings – and ultimately also show surprising, far-reaching perspectives on German history. The archive asks: What does it actually mean to seek refuge?


9.2.22 (2:30-5pm CET) – How to stage issues anthropologically?


1.  Cristiana Giordano & Greg Pierotti: Affect Theater: Collaborations between Anthropology and Performance

Cristiana Giordano is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. Her book, Migrants in Translation. Caring and the Logics of Difference in Contemporary Italy (2014), won the Victor Turner Book Prize for ethnographic writing (2016), and the Boyer Prize in Psychoanalytic Anthropology (2017). Her current research investigates new ways of rendering ethnographic material into artistic forms. She has been collaborating with playwright and director Greg Pierotti on a new methodology, Affect Theater, at the intersection of the social sciences and performance. They have created Unstories and and Unstories II (roaming), two 50-minute performances around the current “refugee crisis” in Europe.

Greg Pierotti is a theater artist and assistant professor of theater studies at University of Arizona. His plays, including Unstoriesb moreThe Laramie Project, and The People’s Temple, have been seen in venues around the world and translated into over a dozen languages. He is a recipient of the Humanitas Prize, the Will Glickman Award, the San Francisco Critics Award, and has been nominated for an Emmy, a New York Drama Desk Award, and the Alpert Award for outstanding individual contribution to the theater. He and Cristiana Giordano investigate the intersection of ethnographic and theatrical research and production methods.

2. AnthropoScenes: Linking participatory methods with theatre to imagine sustainable futures

The Project AnthropoScenes is run by a group of people from interdisciplinary human-environment research and the Theatre of the Anthropocene. Competences reach from hard science to pop-up theatre. We aim to involve diverse publics in debates about water futures and bring two questions: Can multimodality help to balance divergent logics of science and theatre? What are tips and tricks to move beyond the usual suspects? Jörg Niewöhner (anthropology), Pauline Münch (science communication) and Frank Raddatz (theatre) will represent the team.

Questions we want to raise

1. What were the reasons to choose this peculiar approach, media or art form? What relation do these forms bear to specific ethnographic fieldwork studies or particular anthropological modes of inquiry? What were your aims in exploring this multimodal form?

2. What have been the knowledges you’ve needed to become acquainted with to use these media/forms? What does anthropological research and knowledge production become when shaped in this particular form or using these devices? Also, how could we critically reflect, as anthropologists, on the affordances, promises, challenges and predicaments of the particular devices of your multimodal ethnographic engagement? In a nutshell, what are the promises and challenges of this form for anthropological inquiries?

3. What effects have your multimodal form of choice had on the people you were working with: your interlocutors, your peers? How could we learn to appreciate and value these effects: that is, what contours of anthropological practice are being delineated in what your multimodal explorations made emerge?

4. Have you been able to document your project, in what form? What have been the main challenges or difficulties in doing so? Who have you addressed in doing so: that is, who are your audiences, publics?

A more informal conversation on these issues, with questions and comments from the hosts and the audience, will ensue.

Infraestructuras de la invención etnográfica > 2º Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Etnografía

Gracias a la intermediación de Ricardo Greene, Adolfo Estalella y yo, presentaremos en el 2º Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Etnografía, que tendrá lugar los días 6, 7 y 8 de octubre de 2021.

Más información del seminario

El Seminario Internacional Arquitectura y Etnografía es un espacio de intersección y encuentro para quienes estudiamos el espacio y el sentido. Entre la arquitectura, la antropología, la geografía, el urbanismo y la sociología nos sentamos junto al fuego para pensar nuevas formas de abordar los fenómenos territoriales. ¿Cuáles son las relaciones entre etnografía y arquitectura? ¿cuáles los alcances y desafíos de las nuevas tecnologías y métodos de investigación espacial? ¿de qué formas distintas disciplinas pueden encontrarse ante un mismo objeto de estudio? ¿cuál es el rol de los sentidos en la epistemología de lo socio-espacial? En ese terreno acampamos.

Si en su primera versión el seminario se centró en el dibujo como herramienta que posibilita estos cruces disciplinarios y metodológicos, el segundo encuentro amplia su mirada hacia otros mecanismos y sensibilidades, incluidos sonidos, imágenes y biografías situadas, con invitados internacionales diversos, y de trayectorias innovadoras y rigurosas.

Organizan

Facultad de Arquitectura, Diseño y Construcción, UDLA
José Abásolo, jabasolo [arroba] udla.cl
Ricardo Greene, rgreene [arroba] udla.cl
info@arquitecturayetnografia.cl

Colaboran

Núcleo Lenguaje y Creación UDLA
AriztíaLab
Revista Bifurcaciones

Link de inscripción (gratuito)

https://udla.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5fZ_DLbpSqeRrRHOero-Pg

Programa (horario chileno, GMT-3)

miércoles 6 / 16h
LA BÊKA & LOUISE LEMOINE
Homo Urbanus. For a wandering cinema.

jueves 7 / 10h
HUDA TAYOB
Transnational Architecture of Care.

jueves 7 / 12h
FELIPE PALMA & WLADIMIR RIQUELME
Ruinas del futuro. Reflexiones en torno a la película documental Pampa.

jueves 7 / 15h
FRANCESCO CARERI & FEDERICO SORIANO
Diagramas, mapas y cartografías. Aproximación a la arquitectura y ciudad actual.

viernes 8 / 10h
ADOLFO ESTALELLA & TOMÁS SÁNCHEZ CRIADO
Infraestructuras de la invención etnográfica

viernes 8 / 12h
GABRIELA NAVAS
Arquitectura y experiencia urbana. La etnografía como portal a las ausencias.

viernes 8 / 15h
PIO TORROJA & MAURICIO CORBALAN
La experiencia de M7red.

viernes 8 / 17h
ANA LIDIA DOMÍNGUEZ
Geografías domésticas de la pandemia. La casa como universo socioacústico.

Towards a multimodal urban anthropology (DGSKA 2021, workshop)

Together with Ignacio Farías we are convening the workshop Towards a multimodal urban anthropology for the upcoming biannual conference of the German Association of Social and Cultural Anthropology (DGSKA-Tagung 2021, “Worlds, Zones, Atmospheres. Seismographies of the Anthropocene”) that will take place (online) September 27-30, 2021 at the University of Bremen.

Our session is scheduled to take place 28.9.2021, 13:30–15:00 (CET) through the online platform of the conference | see programme here.

Flying City CC BY Maasaak 2014

Frame of the workshop

More-than-human approaches in urban anthropology have convincingly contributed to rethinking the plurality of modes of knowledge, the assemblages and the kinds of actors that constitute our cities. But what do these conceptual interventions do to our ethnographic modes of inquiry? This workshop starts from the assumption that beyond a change in conceptual repertoires, decentering the all-too-human object of urban anthropology might require a multimodal transformation of our ethnographic practices, in at least two ways: Firstly, since the ‘observation’ of more-than-human entanglements requires more than taking part in social situations, what are the conditions in which we could appreciate and learn to be affected, attuned and concerned with a wide variety of phenomena and processes, ranging from atmospheric and ecological to multi-species and/or socio-technical? How would our practices of note-taking and field-working be affected? In contexts where fieldwork becomes an active co-production of situations, we invite contributions reflecting on multimodal transformations of fieldnotes, practices of rapport / friendship / interlocution and correspondence. Secondly, to the extent that these often-experimental collaborations involve more-than-textual devices for ethnographic description and conceptualization, we would like to explore the anthropological potentials of current displacements of the media and modalities of ethnographic accounts. In a context where collaborations with art and design are becoming a common practice, we particularly welcome contributions that reflect on the intervention these devices entail for the project of urban anthropology.

Participants & abstracts

  • Graphic Ethnography and Experiments in Urban Anthropology (Andrew Gilbert, University of Toronto Mississauga; Larisa Kurtovic, Univ. of Ottawa)

In this presentation, we draw upon our graphic ethnography project to explore the affordances of sequential art for urban anthropology. Our research investigates an unprecedented victory by industrial workers in the northern Bosnian city of Tuzla, who occupied and preserved their privatized and bankrupted factory and were able to restart production. We propose that the graphic medium offers unique ethnographic potential for capturing and communicating the openly experimental and collaborative nature of the workers struggle, offering important insights for an urban anthropology “understood as operating within an open system, as an open system, and as the study and production of open systems” (Fortun 2003). In particular, we explore graphic ethnography’s capacity to materialize and render tangible a broad urban sensorium, to evoke how the social multiplicities of cities can be turned into a political resource, and to harness the imagination and participation of readers in ways that keeps ethnography as inventive and open-ended as the urban worlds that it evokes.

  • Learning from outside: grasping and representing multiplicities. The case of pedestrianized Times Square (Santiago Orrego, HU Berlin)

This talk is divided into two parts. The first one presents the highlights of a multi-situated and multimodal ethnography of Times Square in New York City and its processes of pedestrianization from 2009 to 2017. But more than just telling the story of how that location was assembled, the idea was to try to translate the particularities of a multiple spatiality, as well as the resources and situations involved in its production, somehow, into epistemological devices and multimodal artifacts that could enrich the way we make ethnography of public spaces. The intention of experimenting with multimodal methods was to design strategies, as well as artifacts, for better capturing and representing the convulse and the effervescent world outside. The second part of the talk will focus on some of those epistemological devices and multimodal artifacts by discussing how they were constructed, the rationality behind them, their uses, and scopes. The way for enacting all those matters will be presenting the methodological strategy carried out along this whole ethnographic work, and that can be described as a process of “learning from” a specific location, pedestrianized Times Square.

  • Archival entanglements: Multimodal research, teaching, learning in urban anthropology (Aylin Tschoepe, University of Basel)

As a site of selective public or private memory, a collection of evidence in material and immaterial form shaped by various power dynamics, and a metaphor for holding data, the archive is central to the mediated production and understanding of archival bodies as agents and mnemonic devices. Archives offer a lens to grapple with questions of temporality, materiality, technological possibilities, and accessibility to different ways of knowing. I understand bodies and spaces as archives, not least through cultural practices of memorizing and forgetting, categorization, valuation and visibility. I am drawn to the archive in its complexity of objecthood and agency and focus on four main aspects: first, the archive as artefact holds particular knowledges and memories in the context of power and valuation, and can consist of various media and formats from material to digital. Second, the archive can be inscribed onto human and non-human actors. Third, as storages of data, archives may be part of a network with archival instruments that inscribe experiences and practices such as those of a cultural, social, performative, sensory, or aesthetic kind. Fourth, the archive is an actor itself, and it can contain further archival bodies that are also “quasi-objects” (Latour 2005). As actors, archives are also witnesses, equipped with transformative powers toward shaping the future of larger temporal and spatial networks in which archives operate and are entangled.

  • Doing urban anthropology with a dog. Reflections upon ethnography and knowledge production in context of a more-than-human research entanglement (Elisabeth Luggauer, University Graz/University Würzburg)

This paper reflects upon multimodal ethnographic modes of being in a field of urban contact zones (Haraway 2008) or urban assemblages (Farias 2011) between humans and street dogs in Podgorica (Montenegro) as a multispecies research entanglement of a human and the dog Ferdinand. It points out how through the grounding ethnographic technique of jointly claiming urban space as a „humandog collective“ (Hodgetts 2018) 1. the presence of the mixed-breed dog reveals urban discourses and politics about street dogs and owned dogs as well as about cleanliness and dirt, 2. Ferdinand’s spatial practices make contact zones/assemblages between humans and street dogs recognizable for the human researcher and therefore open up concrete research settings for deeper investigation, and 3. our presence as a multispecies research team has also turned this project into a contact zone between different knowledges and discourses on human-nonhuman order policies in urban spaces embedded in different cultural and political contexts.

  • Discussant: Indrawan Prabaharyaka (HU Berlin)

Questions for our joint exploration

The question we would like to approach collectively in our workshop is how do particular multimedia/multimodal devices enable or hinder particular descriptions, conceptual understandings or ways of remaking what the urban is or could be. This not only means what features of the urban they enable or make more difficult to do research upon, but also whether our understandings of the urban remain the same after inquiring multimodally. Put differently, what kind of an urban anthropology emerges out of these multimodal engagements? That is, what would a multimodal urban anthropology be?

With these questions in mind, when creating the sequence of presentations for the session we have paid special attention to the particular ‘devices’ (be they field devices, representational devices, or both) there are stake, with the intention to discuss the multimedia layers that have paved the way for a question around the multimodal in anthropology. Hence, there is a transition from the visual/graphic to the digital, then to more material aspects like the archive and the multi-sensory as well as the collaborative (perhaps a genealogy in which the problem of multimodality presented itself in recent anthropological scholarly work?). But whereas the first two (Gilbert & Kurtovic + Orrego) emphasise visual means of representation (comic/graphic novel and exhibition artefacts), the last two (Tschoepe + Luggauer) discuss multimodal strategies of research in the field (through archives, and in the company of dogs). Perhaps this might enable a discussion on when and where multimodality happens, and how this affects the research process.

The Pharmakon of Collaboration > Access & Tinkering: Designing Assistive Technologies as Political Practice

Thanks to the organisers for their invitation to this super-workshop on Access & Tinkering: Designing Assistive Technologies as Political Practice organised by the DFG-funded Dis-/Abilities – Nicht-/Behinderung und Medien im Kontext der Digitalisierung | Dis/abilities and Digital Media network.

There I will present on Friday 17, 2021 at 1:30pm-3:00pm CET at paper I am working on with Israel Rodríguez Giralt, called “The Pharmakon of Collaboration: Activating Research with the Independent Living Forum” (Chaired by Anna-Lena Wiechern).

Abstract

In this paper, we think with a concrete set of research practices afforded by a long and intense exploration of independent-living activism in Spain. At that time of the main indignados mobilisations in 2011, we started a collective research project on the topic. In an explicit gesture towards forms of ‘emancipatory research’ (Oliver, 1992), the project was conceived from the onset including different activist members in its advisory board, as co-researchers. We aimed to prevent researchers from ‘speaking for the other’ (Ruby, 1992) and to create instances of friction and shared reflection. 

In the course of these years we attempted to practice a wide variety of modes of research ‘speaking nearby’ (Minh-ha, 1992) if not explicitly ‘with’ them: hence engaging in a wide variety of collaborative forms of research with actors that were always treated as ‘epistemic partners’. Building on this, the paper analyses the impact this exploration had on us as researchers: or, to be more specific, on our ways of engaging with independent living activism, and to consider how this might inspire our ‘experimentally collaborative’ or ‘activated’ ways to engage in other activist settings (Estalella & Criado, 2018). For instance, we will describe how we were activated to share common spaces of discussion and debate or even presentation (in scholarly and activist workshops but also in academic events), plunging in ‘joint problem-making’: that is, collaboratively engaging in exploratory material and textual undertakings, such as in the collective En torno a la silla, attempting environmental interventions and remakings of wheelchair users and their surroundings. 

Far from telling a ‘happy’ or ‘utopian’ tale, we wish to remain attentive to the affordances as much the problems this collaborative research activation brought and opened up. For this, we will draw from Stengers’s conceptual work around the pharmakon–an ambivalent entity that for the Greeks oscillated between a drug and a poison, depending on doses, components, modes of preparation and administration. Following her concern to remain attentive to the practicalities of different research devices and tell technical stories “about the kinds of traps that each had to escape, constraints the importance of which had to be recognized” (Stengers, 2015: 132), we would like to close reflecting about the impact these collaborative undertakings had on us and on the people we were working with; and how this experience might contribute to (re)assess collaborative and engaged research from its frictions.

Workshop

By drawing on STS, Crip Technoscience (Hamraie/Fritsch 2019) and approaches from participatory design research and practice, this event discusses body-technology relations from inter-, transdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspectives. We argue in favor of extending the concept of materiality beyond the borders of the physical object to include practices and relations and consequently, want to question common concepts of norm, normality, and normativity. Because these notions are not only entangled with artefacts but also with their design and the practices they involve, which include bodies embedded in historical, cultural, infrastructural and institutional contexts. Thus, they can be considered situated (Haraway 1988). As a result, questions and demands for inclusion and social participation, too, become virulent (Star 2017, 1999; Winner 1980) and have been problematized as politics of assistive artefacts (Mills 2012). In sum, we propose to re/frame technology and body (differences) as interacting entities within societies.

The event aims to think critically through a theoretical framework in the context of dis/abilities that recognizes assistive technologies as political as well as situated interconnections. On this basis, we endorse to reflect on infrastructures of design for questions of inclusion and participation – cross-cultural, inter- and transdisciplinary. Reflecting on open source practices in medical and assistive technologies (e.g. 3D printing) will allow us to question the effects of heterogeneous interests, economic implications and everyday affordances of socio-material assemblages produced within the frameworks of participatory design research.

Organized by

Tom Bieling (Hamburg), Melike Şahinol (Istanbul), Anna-Lena Wiechern (Lüneburg), Robert Stock (Berlin)