arts

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....

Reassembling the Visual

LUCY KIMBELL In her presentation to EPIC, Kimbell reflects on how data are visualized and how they are experienced. Drawing on work in the visual arts and design, she considers what practices that seem to be gathering and visualising data are actually doing, from installations such as her project ‘Physical Bar Charts’ (2005-8) to methods such as cultural probes. These examples are combined with ideas from Science and Technology Studies (STS), which foregrounds the empirical and the mundane, and questions how accounts of the social are constructed. Writers in this tradition have emphasized the ways that public experiments are used to assemble data and paid attention how data are visualized. The discussion includes work from a recent public experiment in which Kimbell was involved, as organiser of an exhibition of work by artists and designers as part of an academic workshop in Oxford entitled ‘Imagining Business’. Together, these different ways of thinking about visualising and experiencing data raise questions for ethnographers...

“Let’s Bring It Up to B Flat”: What Style Offers Applied Ethnographic Work

RICK E. ROBINSON Ethnographic and design work share, deeply, the challenge of conveying the truth of the work we do to interlocutors from very different backgrounds. Writing is hard work even with the shared culture that an academic discipline or a single firm can draw upon. How, then, to write well for broad and varied audiences? By writing like novelists. Literary critic James Wood encapsulates the central tradition of the novel as: “Truthfulness to the way things are […] Life on the page, life brought to different life by the highest artistry.” (2008:247) It is hard to conceive of a better description of what most of us would like to achieve. “Truthfulness to the way things are” gets nicely to all of the important moments of what we do—observation, description, interpretation, inscription. In this paper, I try to move ‘style’ up the ladder of importance in how we think, write, and talk about the work we do....