arts

A Fantastic Everyday Puzzle: Ebony Elizabeth Thomas’ Dark Fantastic Cycle

“Myth-making may be dangerous indeed for those of us who play in the dark… but let’s play anyway.” EBONY ELIZABETH THOMAS
a book review by VERONICA KIM HOTTON As we anticipate EPIC2021—yes, bring on the puns—I had the spectacular task of studying The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games by Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. My goal was to find small ways to spark our EPIC community's curiosity ahead of her EPIC keynote. As a regular audiobook listener, I listened to the voice of Janina Edwards bring Ebony Thomas’ work from the page to my ears, and if you are looking to add an audiobook to your virtual shelf, it’s a fantastic audiobook; you should not hesitate. I also have the paper book and it is a wonder to hold. Because Ebony weaves in autoethnographic storytelling throughout her book, my personal experiences were what first drew me to this work. We both grew up in Michigan. Ebony was in Detroit and I was a white girl in one of the many suburbs spawned by White Flight. We are Generation X with “the holy trinity of our mid-1980s children’s films [being] The Neverending Story, The Dark Crystal, and—my favorite...

Pepper’s Ghost to Mixed Reality: How Sarah Ellis Anticipates Futures at the Royal Shakespeare Company

"play with technology. Challenge that technology. Imagine it in different ways." Sarah Ellis, director of digital development, Royal Shakespeare Company
Welcome to EPISODE ONE in a series of conversations with some of the makers and speakers of EPIC2021—a global, virtual conference and community promoting ethnography for impact in business, organizations and communities. In this episode, Luc Aractingi talks with Sarah Ellis, Director of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Keynote Speaker at EPIC2021. Find out why artists are the consummate innovators and Shakespeare is on the cutting edge of mixed reality and emerging technologies! TRANSCRIPT LUC: Hello and welcome to EPIC interviews, a series where we get to know the makers and hosts of the conference EPIC 2021. Today we are interviewing Sarah Ellis, who is the Director of Digital Development at the Royal Shakespeare Company. Hello, thank you for coming. SARAH: Hello, nice to be here. LUC: I was wondering if you could tell us more about your role. SARAH: I work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and my job is the first job of its kind where I'm the Director of Digital Development. What that means is...

Repurposing Risograph Machines: The Allure of Small-Scale Printmaking in the Era of Big Data

JOYCE S. LEE University of California, Berkeley PechaKucha Presentation—Paper documents are increasingly being replaced with digital files, infinitely replicable for seemingly no cost. Yet I've always felt the pull of paper, with a personal affinity for physical books and a background in magazine production. Through my recreational publishing practice, I learn of the “riso” or risograph, a duplicating machine increasingly adopted by Bay Area artists and technology corporations alike. Upon first glance, most risograph models resemble familiar Xerox machines, with their boxy, gray exteriors, protruding buttons, and hinged tops that cover glass beds for scanning. Through my own experiences and interviews with subject matter experts, however, I come to understand the allure of the risograph: its temperamental nature as an analog machine and the uniquely “human” quality of the prints it renders. I posit the risograph's popularity is a response to technological advances and resulting societal changes, acting as a reprieve...

Tutorial: Sketchnoting, A Practical Toolkit to Improve Your “Scribing” Skills

NORA MORALES UAM University Overview “Sketchnoting” is the ability to make fast and useful visual notes. It has become a recognized contemporary visual practice in different disciplines. Visual note taking can be a powerful skill for anyone in any role where one needs to absorb and share information. In this tutorial you will exercise your “scriber” muscles and understand how the simple act of sketching and even “doodling” can help you think and even stimulate your thoughts in a new, unanticipated directions. It can improve your ability to remember information packed into your notes and to communicate ideas to team members with clarity and precision. We will review what science has to say about the act of note taking as a way to listen and focus your attention, achieving connection and training your brain to understand visual grammar by weaving words and pictures into your own visual processing powers. During the session you will practice capturing content from lectures or articles as visual notes in real...

Keynote Address: Zach Lieberman

EPIC2019 Keynote Address, Providence, Rhode Island ZACH LIEBERMAN, School for Poetic Computation Zach Lieberman is an artist, researcher and educator with a simple goal: he wants you surprised. In his work, he creates performances and installations that take human gesture as input and amplify them in different ways—making drawings come to life, imagining what the voice might look like if we could see it, transforming peoples silhouettes into music. He’s been listed as one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People and his projects have won the Golden Nica from Ars Electronica, Interactive Design of the Year from Design Museum London as well as listed in Time Magazine’s Best Inventions of the Year. He creates artwork through writing software, is a co-creator of openFrameworks, an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding, and helped co-found the School for Poetic Computation, a school examining the lyrical possibilities of code. His website is zach.li and he’s active on Instagram and Twitter....

Human-Centered Data Science: A New Paradigm for Industrial IoT

MATTHEW YAPCHAIAN Uptake Few professions appear more at odds, at least on the surface, than ethnography and data science. The first deals in qualitative “truths,” gleaned by human researchers, based on careful, deep observation of only a small number of human subjects, typically. The latter deals in quantitative “truths,” mined through computer-executed algorithms, based on vast swaths of anonymous data points. To the ethnographer, “truth” involves an understanding of how and why things are truly the way they are. To the data scientist, “truth” is more about designing algorithms that make guesses that are empirically correct a good portion of the time. Data science driven products, like those that Uptake builds, are most powerful and functional when they leverage the core strengths of both data science and ethnographic insights: what we call Human-Centered Data Science. I will argue that data science, including the collection and manipulation of data, is a practice that is in many ways as human-centered and subjective...

Indian Classical Dance: The Foundational Element in My Practice of Ethnography

VYJAYANTHI VADREVU Rasa.nyc PechaKucha Presentation Do we really understand how we became practitioners of ethnography? In this talk, I go through a re-discovery of the links between my lifelong training in Indian classical dance and the elements this has instilled in my current practice of ethnography. In dance, we are trained to keenly observe every physical and emotional nuance of an item. Furthermore, we are taught symbolism and theory to deepen our interpretation of dance. This dance foundation has shaped my connection to every aspect of ethnography: from practice to analysis to presentation. Vyjayanthi Vadrevu is the founding ethnographer/strategist of Rasa.nyc. She leads research on projects ranging from social impact design to corporate technology innovation. Vyjayanthi is a trained Bharatantyam and Odissi dancer and uses movement and choreography to connect to the deepest parts of the human experience. vyjayanthi@rasa.nyc 2017 EPIC Proceedings, ISSN 1559-8918, epicpeople.org/intelligences  ...

Keynote Address: Culinary Habits and Feral Cakes

DANA SHERWOOD Dana Sherwood is a New York–based artist whose work lies on the border of the domestic and the wild. Exposing the fact that nature exists everywhere, and highlighting multispecies interaction while forging new pathways of communication, Sherwood’s work underscores the blurring of boundaries between human and animal and the spaces we collectively inhabit. With Lévi-Strauss as a muse, Sherwood’s interest in domestication and the design of nature through human interference and consumption is brought to the fore. The theme of “the manipulation of nature” is intrinsic to her work and food is a central metaphor as she examines and tames through elaborate creations of flour, sugar and eggs—sculptural displays modeled on 19th century though 1960s traditions, from Vanitas painting to Betty Crocker. The complexity of interpretation lies in the use of non-traditional materials and unconventional methodologies, which usually involve baroque confectionery and interventions by animals. Learn more about...

Working For It: Feminist Art and Ethnography

CARRIE YURY Vice President, Experience Research, BeyondCurious Download PDF PechaKucha—Feminist art and ethnography have something in common. We examine the everyday; are interested in activism and equality. As a practitioner of both, I assert that we need feminist ethnography, especially in corporate technology research, where women are discounted because of cultural stereotypes, in spite of being key users and consumers. We need to be open about being feminist ethnographers. We must turn ideas of “bias” inside out, as current bias against women in technology is rampant. It’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s work that is worth doing. Carrie Yury is a feminist researcher, writer, and artist. She is Head of Experience Research at innovation agency BeyondCurious, where she oversees all research, both quant and qual, to understand users, develop original thought leadership, develop experience strategy, and ensure great product design. 2016 Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference Proceedings, p. 541, ISSN 1559-8918, https://www.epicpeople.org...

Enriching Ethnography in Marginalized Communities with Surrealist Techniques

ANDREA JUDICE Núcleo de Multimídia e Internet, University of Brasilia, Brazil MARCELO JUDICE Núcleo de Multimídia e Internet, University of Brasilia, Brazil ILPO KOSKINEN School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong This paper describes two projects, Vila Rosario and Vila Mimosa, two pieces of ethnographic research that aimed at improving public health in poor corners of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The research sought to improve public health in these two marginalized communities in Rio de Janeiro. The main objective of the paper is to explain how Surrealist techniques can be applied to enrich ethnographic fieldwork. The broader question of the paper is the tension between these imaginative techniques work with fieldwork, a tension that goes back to the disciplinary differences between design and the social sciences....

Scene and Unscene: Revealing the Value of the Local Music Scene in Savannah, Georgia

COLLEEN M. HEINE Throughout human history, music has been central to the fabric of society. Music is a powerful form of communication, it helps us relate to one another, make sense of the world, and commemorate moments together. Yet, music is often perceived as an extraneous element in a local economy (Markusen 2003), and the occupation “musician”—with the rare exceptions of those who achieve mainstream recognition—often conjures images of the starving artist or delinquent idler. What if the value of a local music scene could be made clear from an economic and cultural perspective? What is the value of a local music scene in establishing an identity of place? How can a city facilitate the conditions for a local music scene to exist and thrive? Although music plays a key role in a city’s creative and cultural life, a local music scene is too often overlooked as a driver for economic and community development. Through ethnographic research, this study uncovers the collective needs and vision for the future of the local music...

Role of the Ephemeral in Recovery and Renewal

AKI ISHIDA Installed during the Tohoku earthquake relief fundraising event, CONCERT FOR JAPAN, at Japan Society in New York City on April 2011, the Luminous Washi Lanterns was a meditation and celebration of renewal through light and impermanent materials. The paper examines the role of the ephemeral from the ancient to contemporary Japanese culture, collective experience during an ephemeral performance, and translation of traditional Japanese renewal rituals into a piece that engages a diverse range of people outside of Japan. How can designers instigate a process of renewal following a disaster in manners that engage people of all ages and backgrounds in a collective healing experience?...

Ethnographic Findings in the Organizational Theatre

JACOB BUUR and ROSA TORGUET In the quest for engaging ethnographic insight in organizations on a more fundamental level than mere ‘innovation drivers’, theatre offers ways of triggering a change in conversations through emotional engagement. This paper discusses the impact of using theatre with professional actors to convey the outcome of ethnographic ‘user studies’ to industry and academia. In a project on indoor climate control with five company partners, the field studies brought about controversial findings, like ‘Indoor comfort is what people make’ – as opposed to something fully controlled by technology and ‘provided’ to inhabitants. We explore how theatre improvisation can convey such findings and thus support the provoking role that ethnography may play in organizations. Based on the study of two theatre sessions, we will articulate the importance of balance between playful and serious, of explorative discussion, and of supportive event planning and space layout to achieve audience engagement....

Detroit is a Blank Slate: Metaphors in the Journalistic Discourse of Art and Entrepreneurship in the City of Detroit

SIOBHAN GREGORY This paper presents an investigation of metaphoric language in the contemporary discourse of Detroit’s “renewal.” News articles from local and national news sources from 2009-2011 provide evidence of critical and provocative metaphoric constructions found in the gentrification discourse of Detroit. As harbingers of gentrification, the discourse communities of artists and business entrepreneurs are the focus of this review. The author argues that metaphoric language in journalism must be critically evaluated and challenged to help ensure sustainable, equitable, and historically sensitive “renewal” of the city of Detroit and similar inner-city urban communities experiencing gentrification....

Ethnography and Music: Disseminating Ethnographic Research inside Organizations

LUIS ARNAL and ROBERTO HOLGUIN In the applied context of ethnography its value depends not only on the quality of the research product alone but also on how it is received by the business audience. This paper presents some variables that describe and hope to overcome common barriers to the appropriate reception of ethnographic research in the business context. We are using music as a metaphor to the discussion of barriers and research use....