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Kate Hennessy

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July 19, 2016

Ethnographic Terminalia 2016, Minneapolis: Workshop ––”The Photo-Essay is Dead! Long live the Photo-Essay!”

July 19, 2016 | By | No Comments

Meetings of the American Anthropology Association, 2016
Minneapolis MN
Thursday, November 17, 2016 9:00-4:00

See our Call for Photo-Essayist Presentations here (deadline August 15th)
General participant registration on the AAA Website will be available soon.
Please send inquiries to ethnographicterminalia@gmail.com

Overview
The Ethnographic Terminalia Collective invites submissions by photo-essayists working within an anthropological idiom to present their photo-essays at a full-day workshop at the 2016 AAA Meetings in Minneapolis: “The Photo-Essay is Dead! Long Live the Photo-Essay!” The full-day workshop is designed for creative and engaged participation from both participants and presenters.  It is structured around three sessions each of which features the presentation of a photo-essay, a thought-provoking discussion of photography in Anthropology, and facilitator-led group activity. In the course of the day up to thirty workshop participants and six presenters will collectively contribute to a zine (an open-access and limited print-edition workshop publication) that will be launched and distributed at a reception on Saturday, Nov. 19th. The zine will function not only as a document of the workshop but also a formal object around which we explore the past, present, and future of the photo-essay in Anthropology.

Building on our art-anthropology experiments in off-site locations, this year we return  to the AAA conference site to re-examine the photo-essay within anthropological, photographic, and publishing communities.  Emulating our recent workshop and rapid-publication project (see http://ethnographicterminalia.org/terminus), the Ethnographic Terminalia Collective invites you to join us in actively considering how experimentations at the intersection of art and anthropology might function as prototypes for thinking about the future of the photographic image in anthropology.  We are all literally publishing at the terminus — the end of publishing agreements, the end of print, the end of things as they have been. How might the photo-essay work as a prototype for collectively envisioning a future of visual anthropology?

Rationale
Photographs have been a component of anthropological practice since its earliest formation. Their popularity over the past 150 years in monographs, journals, exhibitions, and now on the Internet, has increased dramatically. While photographs seem to be everywhere there has been little serious and sustained critical engagement with modes of presentation and publication in the context of visual anthropology.  For over a decade, the internet has increasingly become a rapid and inexpensive way to share photographs but there is little discussion about the forms in which they appear and how people engage with them. Due partly to cost, the photo-essay has never become prevalent within academic publications. Furthermore there is little clarity around the definition of a photo-essay especially in the context of anthropology. This is precisely what interests us. Our academic conventions for sharing photographs have been cemented around a limited number of typically black and white images in a journal article or monograph. It is only within the last decade that we’ve begun to see anthropological photo-essays published on-line and these often seem to be either ghettoized within the structure of the journal’s website or overlooked by readers unfamiliar with the genre.  Meanwhile within journalism and documentary photography there has been a surge of experiments and formal endeavours.

We believe that still photographs are on the cusp of finding new importance in anthropology in the form of the photo-essay, in particular as the serial nature of photography is being tested out within digital infrastructures on the Internet. For example, the journal Cultural Anthropology recently launched a photo-essay section of their journal; other major journals, now investing in digital infrastructures, are leveraging the Internet to share photographs. How digital forms and cross-disciplinary engagements with photographic representations are re-shaping aesthetic and ethical commitments to the photo essay remains unclear. However, we do know that more and more anthropologists use cameras in the field and many students are keen to study visual methodologies. As a result, the criteria for evaluating their critical and aesthetic contributions have yet to be fully developed. Further, the creative potential for the photo-essay to be realized in new formats and contexts is as yet generally unexplored. Ethnographic Terminalia has had a sustained engagement with contemporary art since 2009; in the workshop, we will  bring artists and anthropologists together to appreciate the degree of sophistication and variety of experiments in what might be loosely considered the photo-essay.

Workshop Structure
Ethnographic Terminalia is committed to serious play; our workshops are carefully designed to foster lively and generative spaces for critical collective exploration of a topic, thesis, or question.  Facilitated by the Ethnographic Terminalia Collective, up to thirty participants and six presenters will work collectively throughout the day to generate the materials for a zine in the form of a rapid prototype publication.  This workshop is organized into three sessions, each with: 1) an essayist exploring their work in the form of a single photo-essay; 2) a provocateur who will critically explore some element of the photo-essay; and 3) facilitated activities and open time for participant reflection on and annotation of works in progress, discussion, and contribution to the workshop publication.

Before the workshop, photo-essayists  and provocateurs will be asked to submit creatively designed page spreads featuring photo-essays and discussions. These will be included in the zine and printed for annotation during the workshop. Participants are also encouraged to print photographs from their own photo-essay works-in-progress and bring them to work with throughout the day.

During the workshop, presenters’ photo-essays will be installed for viewing and annotation. Participants and provocateurs will be invited to add commentary and other ephemera (using photography, photo printers, drawing, social media posts, annotation, and so on) to further contribute to the conversation. These contributions will be documented for inclusion in the publication. Additionally, workshop participants (who are not official presenters) are invited to bring their own photo essays-in-progress to contribute to the workshop activity, and which may be included in the publication.

After the workshop the Ethnographic Terminalia collective will complete the design and layout of the zine.  We will print copies for distribution on Saturday afternoon (Nov. 19th) at the AAA Meetings at a special event and zine launch supported by the Society for Visual Anthropology.  All participants will receive a copy of the zine, as will a limited number of reception attendees. An open access digital copy of the zine will be archived on the Ethnographic Terminalia website. You can see an example of the publication “Terminus: Archives, Ephemera, and Electronic Art” that we produced at our last workshop in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2015. http://ethnographicterminalia.org/terminus.

Kate Hennessy

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July 5, 2016

CFP: Documenting the Visual Arts (edited collection; deadline: Nov 1, 2016)

July 5, 2016 | By | No Comments

The proliferation and popularity of visual arts documentaries are a major component of the recent international documentary boom, but they tend to be overlooked in film criticism and scholarship in favor of documentaries framed more explicitly in social and political terms. Yet visual arts documentaries remain on the cutting edge of documentary innovation, from 3D cinema (Cave of Forgotten Dreams) to questioning documentary truths (Exit Through the Gift Shop). Moreover, visual arts documentaries have long played significant roles in various historical formations around documentary politics (e.g. USIA films in the Cold War, the Left Bank essay films of 1950s and Channel Four programming in the 1980s).

This edited collection will examine the significance of visual arts documentaries from a range of critical perspectives and methodologies. The book will explore not only how documentaries from around the globe exploit the formal properties of film and video to illuminate the aesthetic specificities and intersections of other visual arts, but also how they elucidate the material and cultural conditions in which visual arts are produced and experienced (e.g. the discourse of the artist, museums and galleries, activist art, religious practice, commercial design etc.). To complement these interpretative contributions, the book will also include critical analyses of the political economy of visual arts documentaries, especially the geopolitics of the genre. As an interdisciplinary and intermedial project, I am particularly interested in contributions that connect film studies to other disciplines and fields, including anthropology, art history, architecture, communication, rhetoric, performance studies and visual studies, among others. Consideration will be given to submissions about any historical period or cultural/national/regional context (the book aims for genuinely global scope). Contributions may focus on a single film, a body of work (organized around filmmaker, artist or subject) or a particular institutional context. I am defining visual arts broadly to include applied arts, such as fashion, architecture and design, as well as film, video, photography, painting, sculpture, illustration and performance art etc.

Possible topics include (but are not limited to):
• Medium specificity and the visual arts documentary
• Cultural politics of visual arts television programming
• Documentary film and arts education
• Visual arts documentary as cultural diplomacy
• Post/colonial appropriation and resistance in visual arts documentaries
• Representing visual aesthetic practices in ethnographic film
• Documenting performance and collaboration in the visual arts
• Documenting activist art practices
• Discourses of the visual artist in documentary film
• Documentaries about art institutions and markets
• Visual arts documentary as paratext (making of documentaries, exhibition documentaries)
• Relationship between documentary filmmaking and archival documentation of visual arts
• Histories of arts television networks and series
• Film technologies and the visual arts documentary
• Fakery, forgery and mockumentary

Deadline for electronic submission of 350-400 word abstract (plus brief biographical statement and sample 5- item bibliography): November 1, 2016. Notification by December 1, 2016.
Commissioned chapters should not exceed 5,000 words and must be completed by October 1, 2017.
Please send submissions and inquiries via email to Roger Hallas, Associate Professor of English (Film & Screen Studies), Syracuse University, USA: rhallas@syr.edu

Aynur Kadir

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June 1, 2016

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan on Self-Fashioning and Collaborative Ethnography in the Digital Age

June 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

VAR SUPPLEMENTS 2016

VAR 31-2

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan on Self-Fashioning and Collaborative Ethnography in the Digital Age

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Ethiraj Gabriel Dattatreyan’s “Waiting Subjects: Social media inspired self-portraits as gallery exhibition in Delhi, India” (VAR 31-2, Fall 2015) collaboratively curates an ‘accidental’ archive of digital image-making practices by young Somali refugees in India as the site where subjectivities are self-fashioned and ethnographic insights emerge.

Keywords: photography, ethnography, selfie, Somalia, Delhi, photovoice

 

Suggested study questions and activities

Designed for undergraduate and graduate students to address key methodological questions about collaboration and digital affordances.

 

Collaboration: Discussion and/or writing exercise (students spend 10 minutes writing a quick response to the following question).

  • What does collaboration mean to you? How does this concept fit with the ethos of ethnography? How has a collaborative or shared anthropology been imagined? Is ethnography already always collaborative by the nature of its engagement? If so, what does an explicitly shared or collaborative ethnography imply and entail?
  • How might digital technologies reinvigorate, and yet, complicate the possibility for creating collaborative ethnographic projects? What sorts of opportunities/challenges do digital infrastructures (social media, smart phones, digital audio-video technology) create with regard to collaborative ethnography?
  • In the VAR article, “Waiting Subjects,” how does the Dattatreyan utilize the social media inspired photographs of his participants as an ethnographic site?
  • What does the author argue are the limits of these photographs?

 

Shared Anthropology: Assigned film viewing, with discussion and/or writing exercise. Watch this video of Jean Rouch discussing the future of visual anthropology: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvyXCpzpJJs

  • Jean Rouch was one of the pioneers of a shared anthropology that utilizes audio-visual technology. Why do you think he argues that the easily available, inexpensive digital video cameras in our moment aren’t ‘real’ cameras? How does this sentiment impact how we might imagine collaboration in the digital age? What do you think John Rouch would say about the author’s investments in the digital practices of his interlocutors in the field?

 

Social Media: Social media exercise. Read this short primer on “Why we are all digital anthropologists” by Olivia Bellas: http://www.cnn.com/2013/05/29/opinion/mystreet-digital-anthropology/ . Students use social media to find short videos or photographs shot by non-experts.

  • Following Bellas, what do you think of this idea that ‘everyone’ is now an anthropologist with the advent of digital technology?
  • Regarding the virtual artifacts collected from social media, are these objects ethnographic? Why or why not? What can we know from the objects you have retrieved? What remains unknown?

 

 

Additional readings:

Lassiter, Luke Eric (2005). Collaborative Ethnography, Public Anthropology. Current Anthropology 46 (1) pp. 83-106.

 

Boellstorff, Tom (2012) Rethinking Digital Anthropology in Heather A. Horst and Daniel Miller (eds.). Bloomsbury Press. http://www.socsci.uci.edu/~tboellst/bio/Rethinking.pdf

 

Pink Sarah, Horst, Heather, Postill, John, Hjorth, Larissa, Lewis, Tania, Tacchi, Joe (2015) Digital Ethnography, Principles and Practice. Introduction. https://www.academia.edu/18841210/Ethnography_in_a_Digital_World

 

Aynur Kadir

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May 27, 2016

Zoe Bray on “Anthropology with a Paintbrush”

May 27, 2016 | By | No Comments

Zoe Bray on “Anthropology with a Paintbrush”

VAR SUPPLEMENTS: Classroom Activities and Discussion Questions

Zoe Bray’s “Anthropology with a Paintbrush: Naturalist-Realist Painting as ‘Thick Description‘” (VAR 31-2, Fall 2015) advances the practice of naturalist-realist portrait-painting as an under-explored method and medium of visual anthropology where slow-paced observations and interaction provide opportunities for making “thick descriptions” on canvas.

Suggested study exercises and questions

  1. Exercise: Take a drawing tool (charcoal, pencil, crayon, or paintbrush..) and paper, and spend about 20 minutes drawing an object of your choice in front of you (this could be simply a cup or a book. Ideally place it in natural light, rather than under artificial lighting. Sit or stand a meter or so away from it – i.e. Not too close and not too far away. Take breaks from time to time). Reflect on this process of visually studying an object.

How has drawing helped you to understand this object? Did taking breaks help you to see better? What effect did standing closer or further away from the object have?

  1. Repeat the exercise, this time spending a little more time, and drawing another person who is willing to sit for you. It can be a friend or a fellow-student you do not know so well.

What happened during the drawing session? Did you chat? What did you pay attention to? How do you feel drawing helped you to see the person? What new knowledge about the person do you feel you got from drawing her or him? Do you feel you know the person better in some way or other?

  1. Hold a mirror to the side of your face and look into it with the eye closest to it. In the mirror’s reflection you can look at your drawing in reverse.

What can you see in your drawing that you didn’t see before? What do you think of your drawn interpretation of the model? How do you think it could be improved?

  1. Look at videos of different artists drawing or painting other individuals live (or better still: observe artists in action!) Two videos of the author Zoe Bray portrait-painting live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtI0ia13QgI —and— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_ZnO2Njnz8 .

Think about how the artists see what they see, and what they choose to depict. What do you think they are looking out for? How do you think they are transferring this knowledge onto the paper/canvas? What can you speculate about these artists’ particular individual sensibility, and the role that technical skill plays in their way of depicting?

  1. Sit for someone else.

Think about how the person drawing you is looking at you. How does it feel to be represented? What do you think about the drawing done of you? What do you think the artist/student has ‘captured’ of you? Why? Does having sat for someone else help you in your own drawing? How?

Aynur Kadir

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May 10, 2016

*** LAST CHANCE TO SUBMIT FOR THE MAY 15 LATE DEADLINE***

May 10, 2016 | By | No Comments

2016 Society for Visual Anthropology (SVA) Film & Media Festival – Minneapolis, MN

The Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film and Media Festival invites submissions for its 2016 Festival in the following categories: Ultrashort, Short, and Feature. Please submit your films via Withoutabox.

The Society for Visual Anthropology screens the best ethnographic films and video productions at our annual SVA Film & Media Festival, held in conjunction with the American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting. This gives independent filmmakers as well as distributors broad access to a market of several thousand anthropologists and educators.

Ethnographic film and video defined broadly as works created as the result of ethnographic fieldwork or those which use, are informed by, or illustrate the principles of anthropological theory or methods.

For inquiries about this year’s festival in Minneapolis, please contact SVAFMF’s 2016 co-Directors Ulla D. Berg or Kathryn Ramey at svafilmfestival@gmail.com <mailto:svafilmfestival@gmail.com>
For more information about American Anthropology Associations and its annual meetings, please visit:www.aaanet.org/meetings <http://www.aaanet.org/meetings>
For more information about the Society for Visual Anthropology, please visit: http://societyforvisualanthropology.org/ <http://societyforvisualanthropology.org/>

Kate Hennessy

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April 17, 2016

Visual Anthropology Review seeks Book Review Editors

April 17, 2016 | By | No Comments

Visual Anthropology Review, the premier journal in visual anthropology, is looking for two individuals to head the US and European book review sections of VAR. The book review editors solicit and select suitable books, recruit reviewers, edit the reviews, preparing 2-3 reviews for each issue of VAR, and submit them to the journal co-editors for publication. While working with the journal’s editorial team, the book review editors have a great deal of freedom to shape the reviews section as they see fit. This is an ideal position for someone who wants to become more involved in academic publishing, make contacts across the visual anthropology community, and keep abreast of cutting edge scholarship in visual anthropology. We seek one editor based in the US and one based elsewhere to deal with presses in their regions.

Interested parties should send a cv and a brief description (300 words) of the experience and innovations they would hope to bring to the VAR book reviews section by May 1st to the present editors: Ruth E. Toulson (rtoulson@mica.edu) and Kathryn Lichti-Harriman (whirldpixc@gmail.com)

Kate Hennessy

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April 7, 2016

Call for Pre Screeners – 2016 Society for Visual Anthropology Film & Media Festival

April 7, 2016 | By | No Comments

Dear colleagues,
Society For Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival (SVAFMF) is looking for pre-screeners to preview this year’s film submissions and provide the festival jury with feedback that we will use to make programing decisions. This is an exciting opportunity for you to have a sneak peak at some of this year’s submissions and to participate in programming for the festival. Being a pre-screener entails watching one or more feature length submissions online (from the comfort of your home or office), and providing us with a descriptive feedback on each film assigned to you (using our standard questionnaire). As a pre-screener you will be thanked by name in our festival program and (if you want) you will also be given the opportunity to chair a film program of your choice. All pre-screener evaluations are due by Sunday, May 29, 2016. The criteria to be a pre-screener includes:
– Pre-screeners must be active members of AAA
– Pre-screeners must keep all entries and evaluations confidential
– Pre-screeners must not have an film entry in this year’s festival
– Pre-screeners must commit to viewing and evaluating their assigned films by the May 29 deadline (or give us an advance notice if they are unable to fulfill their assignments)
To sign up to be a pre-screener for this year’s festival, simply send an email at your earliest convenience with SUBJECT: “Pre-screener sign up,” and the following information in the BODY of the email: your full name, institutional affiliation, and the number of film you are interested in pre-screening to: svafilmfestival@gmail.com
Please circulate, and please reply ASAP!
Thank you,  
Ulla D. Berg
Co-Director,

2016 SVA Film and Media Festival

Kate Hennessy

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February 24, 2016

Funded PhD positions – Max Planck Institute, Jena, Germany

February 24, 2016 | By | No Comments

The Minds and Traditions research group (“the Mint”), an Independent Max Planck Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena (Germany) is offering two grants for two doctoral projects focusing on “cognitive science and cultural evolution of visual culture and graphic codes“.

Funding is available for four years (three years renewable twice for six months), starting inSeptember 2016.

The PhD students will be expected to take part in a research project investigating the evolution of graphic codes and the rise of writing.

If interested, please send a motivation letter (maximum two pages) to the group’s principal investigator, Olivier Morin (morin@shh.mpg.de) by March the 21st, 2016.

Full details can be downloaded here (pdf).

Kate Hennessy

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February 22, 2016

2016 Visual Research Conference: Call for Proposals

February 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

The Society for Visual Anthropology’s Visual Research Conference will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota this year, November 14-16, at the beginning of the American Anthropological Association meeting. An informal no-host dinner takes place on Monday night and interactive presentations take place all day Tuesday and until 3pM on Wednesday. The Visual Research Conference provides an opportunity for professionals and students to dialogue about visually engaged works-in-progress. There are no specific themes to follow, though we are most interested in new ideas and projects under development in the study of visual signification, visual communication, and visual forms of representation, and/or utilizing visual media (photo, film, web, polymedia, intermedia). Forty-five minute time slots allow for substantive presentations that include viewing of visual material as well as ample give-and-take with an actively participating audience. Further discussion takes place during poster presentations. Many informal discussion periods between the interactive formal presentations, plus conversations at lunch and dinner, create multiple situations for networking and exchange of ideas. Members and non-members of the American Anthropological Association and Society for Visual Anthropology are welcome and there is no charge to attend. This is a productive way to meet and interact with others who do anthropological and anthropologically-related visual research.

Abstracts of 250 words (but not more than 500 words) can be submitted through 12 midnight, Pacific Standard Time,  April 1, 2016 by clicking on the Visual Research Conference submission form link HERE.

PLEASE NOTE: this Visual Research Conference submission deadline on April 1 is EARLIER than the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting submission deadline on April 15, so that the Visual Research Conference organizing committee has time to carefully review the submissions and invite the 2016 presenters. The Visual Research Conference is not the SVA Film and Media Festival, so if you want to screen a film, please refer to that link and submission.

For more information on the format of this lively event and how to submit a presentation, visit our page on the SVA web site or contact Dr. Tom Blakely (tdblakely@aol.com), Dr. Andrea Heckman (andreaheckman@earthlink.net), or Dr. Jerome Crowder (jecrowde@utmb.edu).

Kate Hennessy

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December 21, 2015

Contemporary Ethnography Across the Disciplines 2016

December 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

15 – 18 November
University of Cape Town
South Africa
Conference Theme: Ethnographic Imaginings – Place, Space & Time
CFP now open
To register, visit www.cead.org.nz
With the 2016 theme—Ethnographic Imaginings: Place, Space, and Time—calls for contributors to explore ethnographies as located contextually within meaningful sites and temporal moments. The spaces, places and times we can imagine include explorations of rurality and urbanity, wild and tamed, critical and creative, sensual and cognitive, and contemporary and historicaland all ranges of creative impulse. All manner of ethnographies are welcomed, and the conference theme merely acts as a guide for possibilities. We invite contributors to experiment with traditional ethnography, as well as new methodologies and with new presentational formats such as dramatic, performance, poetic, visual, aromatic, tactile, video, auto-, fictional, and experimental forms of ethnography. 

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