Tag: multimodal ethnography

Audio Ethnographies of Water from Latin America: Confluences of the Domestic

Much of the water that enters homes in metro Guadalajara, Jalisco is toxic. Water from the tap is used to wash dishes and water plants, but for decades it’s been dangerous to drink. In this sonic ethnography, we hear contaminated water hitting plates used for a meal and evaporating from vegetables as a pan heats on a stove. A woman explains which brands of bottled water are safer, more trustworthy; some, she says, are appropriate for drinking, while others should only be used to wash vegetables. We hear bodies of water referred to as both rivers and sewers. (read more...)

Audio Ethnographies of Water from Latin America: Aquatic Attractions

Forty years ago, four hippos arrived in Colombia. Drug trafficker Pablo Escobar illegally imported them as part of his project to build an open-door zoo at Hacienda Naples, his enormous farm located in the Magdalena River Basin. Among many other luxuries and eccentricities, the farm housed 1,200 animals. It also included artificial lakes where the aquatic animals lived. After Escobar’s death in 1993, when the Hacienda Napoles was abandoned, most of the animals died due to lack of care, and others were transferred to other zoos. Only the hippos remained, sheltering in the lakes. In Colombia, over 160 hippos inhabit various locations. Some reside in areas formerly part of Hacienda Napoles, while others are dispersed along the Magdalena River. (read more...)

Audio Ethnographies of Water from Latin America: Attend the Rains

Each night and day in the industrial port of Ciudad del Carmen (Campeche, Mexico), dozens of Pemex oil platform workers roll their small suitcases across the concrete as they approach the dock to board ships that will take them to offshore platforms for two-week shifts. At any given moment, seventeen thousand people live and work aboard the ships and platforms in aging infrastructure. On land, dozens of logistics workers spend their days observing. They watch the movement of people and the movement of the weather. They then record it and make decisions based on what they note. Constant transport—from workers to provisions and materials—is required to maintain a constant drilling rhythm, and all needs to happen according to schedule, a task made more complicated by the volatile weather conditions that characterize the Gulf of Mexico. (read more...)

Audio Ethnographies of Water from Latin America: Water, Energy, and Youth in the Orinoco River, Colombia

July is part of the heavy rainfall season of South America’s northernmost savannas, known since colonial times as the Llanos (Plains/Grasslands) and, more recently, from a biogeographical perspective, as the Colombian-Venezuelan Orinoquia. During the “winter”/rainy months, the abundance of water everywhere makes audible the sounds of boots and motorcycles crossing flooded pastures and streets, thunders, downpours on the predominant zinc roof tiles, migratory birds, and outboard motors of the many boats traveling along tributaries that at another time of the year will almost entirely disappear. Audio recordings taken during the long six months of “summer”/drought, between November and April when no drop falls on the plains, would radically differ. (read more...)

Audio Ethnographies of Water from Latin America: Introduction

Inspired by Feld’s (2015) work on sound, in this collection of essays, we bring five ethnographers from Latin America to think about their research through the sounds of their respective field sites. The exercise we propose here borrows Feld’s concept of ‘acoustemology’ to help frame our approach towards the aural dimensions of a place: Acoustemology conjoins ‘acoustics’ and ‘epistemology’ to theorize sound as a way of knowing. In doing so, it inquires into what is knowable and how it becomes known through sounding and listening. Acoustemology begins with acoustics to ask how the dynamism of sound’s physical energy indexes its social immediacy. It asks how the physicality of sound is so instantly and forcefully present to experience and experiencers, to interpreters and interpretations. (p. 12) (read more...)

Feeling Fieldwork: Affectivity, Co-creativity, and Multimodality in Ethnographic Music Production

Jamie Glisson · TUNDRA Listen to ‘TUNDRA’ Ethnographic work is an affective experience. While anthropological research methods have often focused on cataloging ethnographic moments through field notes and interviews, most ethnographers will agree that the written word can’t quite capture what it feels like to be in the field. As a musician, filmmaker, and producer in my work alongside anthropology, I decided to explore how skills associated with my songwriting and sound engineering might further explicate the effervescent quality of what fieldwork feels like on an embodied register. Much like an ethnography, an album comes together through a process of refinement, of connecting what may feel like disparate ideas into a narrative whole. The analytical aspect of ethnographic work also bridges the hemispheres of the brain in a similar way that recording music does. The process of translating emotions, interactions, and expression through sound relies on a basic understanding of (read more...)

Drawing More-than-Human Kinship

In my work as an anthropological ethnographer and illustrator, I have been working to connect seemingly disparate disciplines together—at times, even as a messy and rough bricolage. Thinking broadly about kinship—both intra- and inter-species—as a fundamental and foundational practice toward a mutually thriving future, I experiment with different formats and genres to reimagine what it means to produce ethnographic work. This reimagined work is not only informative but also beautiful, like the kinship I experience with my dog, Frank, who is depicted in the illustrations below. My investment in beauty is also an intentional form of resistance against neoliberal capitalist systems that prioritise profit, results, and efficiency over beauty, process, and patience. It matters that the illustrations in this series are digital. Using a software called Procreate on the 11” iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I actualise my imaginations on the screen. That is, this specific combination of technologies (read more...)

A Failure in Capture: An Experiment in Multimodal Interactive Ethnography where ‘Nothing Happens’

The video below this text is interactive. To view, click play and follow the instructions you see on the screen. As you watch, look for areas that you can click with a mouse (or tap with your finger, if on a mobile device) or see what appears when you mouse over different areas of the image at different times. What do you see? This multimodal content, due to technological limitations, may not be accessible to all. If the multimodal experience is not accessible to you, please visit the text based version for visual and audio descriptions and full-text transcription or listen to the audio narration: Audio Narration by Kara White On mobile devices, we suggest viewing the page in landscape mode and selecting “Distraction Free Reading” in the top-right corner. This is an interactive video. This video is designed to get the viewer or reader to “search” the image for (read more...)