Tag: improvisation

Uncovering Ethnography in Creative Practice Research with Machines

This blog post comes out of a discussion with Ritwik Banerji about the ‘hidden’ role of ethnography in the work involved in creating new experimental systems for music improvisation. Ritwik put it to me that “it seems that a lot of work … involves a kind of ‘implied ethnography’ – that is, it’s clear that the author/designer has lots of personal experience with the domain they’re designing for, and yet the technical documentation of such systems makes scant mention of it.” This was a welcome invitation to reflect on my past practice since I had once been a student of social anthropology and am now, as an associate professor 25 years on, re-engaging with ethnography as a methodology. Have I been implicitly using ethnography all along, and could/should this component have been more explicit in the presentation of my work in an academic context? I will begin with some scene setting. (read more...)

People Are Not Fixed Media

Sensory ethnography continually emphasizes that the sensorium is just as much a (product of) sociocultural practice as it is a biophysiological property of the human species (Pink 2015). Recognition of this point has prompted several shifts in ethnographic work. On the one hand, it has pushed ethnographers to include in their writing a greater discussion of how subjects engage with the world through their senses as well as how the putatively biological phenomenon of sensory perception is so highly variable across and within sociocultural milieux. On the other, it has inspired ethnographers to pursue media practices beyond text, particularly through ethnographic film or sound recording (Feld 1991). Regardless of form, this work has greatly increased the possibility for the reader, listener, or viewer to experience with their senses the social environment that subjects inhabit and where the ethnographer conducted fieldwork. (read more...)