Images, Mind Maps and Itinerant Soliloquies: A Transdisciplinary Exploration of Social Perceptions about Expo Milano 2015

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 16:45
Location: Hörsaal 13 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Cristiano MUTTI, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Lorenzo NATALI, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Andrea KUNKL, Exposed Project, Italy
This contribution explores the effectiveness of a method (i.e. PAK MAP: Photo Apperception Knowledge Map - http://pakmap.net) that proposes the combination of different visual and participatory techniques to collect qualitative data on the social perception of a complex, public and international event such as Expo Milano 2015. Such a method adopts an interdisciplinary approach that sees the dialogue between social researchers, visual artists and a variegated constellation of social actors (inhabitants, tourists, etc.) as a crucial component of the research. The proposed method – still a work in progress – specifically avails itself of the construction of “mind maps” within the setting made available by “interviews with images” (i.e. in particular a photographic composition on the past-present cityscape of Milan) and of a peculiar declination of what radical interactionism calls “soliloquy”. In the research process described, the temporal dimension assumes a decisive consistency in methodological and content terms, both for the techniques employed and for the different timing considered of the phenomenon observed, i.e. 1) the “before” tied to the expectations about the event; 2) the “here and now”, represented by the opening of the Universal Exposition (1st May - 31st October 2015); 3) the “post” event, and the effects perceived in the following months. Such a research process is articulated, as a whole, through the different visual, multisensory and narrative itineraries that the actors involved in the research develop of the social world and places, that, from various angles, intercept the “fleeting” cosmos represented by the Expo. Using sociological imagination to make visible the interweaving of individual stories, collective narratives and hidden/dominant images tied to a great event occurring in a city, this paper intends to contribute to the building of a sociological knowledge that is the result of collaborative and programmatically open ways of doing “research”.