Who’s Afraid of the Synesthetic? Exploring New Directions in Sensory Visual Ethnography

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
TG07 Senses and Society (host committee)

Language: English

In emphasizing the role of the senses in bridging gaps between how we capture with the camera, and how this “camera-scape” can be interpreted by audiences, sensorial approaches to filmmaking propose that audio-visual recordings can become “routes to multisensorial knowing” (Pink 2009:99).  Those forms of knowing, which contrast to a more traditional descriptive understanding of knowledge production in the discipline of anthropology (and other social sciences), stimulate what David MacDougall has called a form of knowledge by acquaintance, or an affective approach to knowing (MacDougall 1998:81). Despite these efforts, many of which have been noteworthy, the idea of multisensorial anthropological film is often criticised on the grounds that, because restricted to an audio-visual form, it cannot ever fully capture the fullness of the sensorial world. In this panel, we explore the potential of a synesthetic visual anthropology through the interstices of audio-visual recording, editing and consumption, in playing with various approaches (arts based, Indigenous, activist, etc.) to ethnography and ethnographic fieldwork that contribute to the expansion of the discipline’s enterprise. We invite papers that consider the possibilities of a multisensorial anthropological film practice, either through already existing programmes of research or in new avenues for experimentation. In taking up this challenge of a multisensorial or synaesthetic anthropological film practice, our hope is to reinvigorate discussion around sensory visual ethnography in a time when visual methods generally remain marginal within the social sciences.
Session Organizers:
Kiven STROHM, National University of Singapore, Singapore and Alexandrine BOUDREAULT-FOURNIER, University of Victoria, Canada
Noorman ABDULLAH, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Oral Presentations
Landscape/Palestine: Conceptual Inventions in the Settler Colony
Kiven STROHM, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Tlawmngaihna: Self-Sacrifice
Mariangela JORDAN, Cornell University, USA
Distributed Papers
Guardians of the Night: Sensing Nocturnal Rhythms in Guantánamo
Alexandrine BOUDREAULT-FOURNIER, University of Victoria, Canada
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