IsabelleSoifer Annotations

What does this visualization (including caption) say about toxics?

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 4:15pm

Toxicity is largely a social phenomenon based on the policing of certain bodies over others via class, race, gender, and sex. The police themselves are toxic, serving the whims of the city and upper-class residents--in this case, the notion of "safety" is toxic, as in order for some groups of people to feel "safe," others end up being put in great danger by the very forces that are allegedly supposed to be protecting everyone. Questions of citizenship arise from this visualization--who is seen as being a citizen worthy of care and protection? Prostitutes are conveyed as being criminals who do not deserve protection or care, are feminized by the pink sign, and are threatened for merely being physically in the presence of a particular space. In the process, toxic heteronormative hegemony is reinforced.

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Can you suggest ways to enrich this image to extend its ethnographic import?

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 4:10pm

I think including more context about policing in Washington DC would help enrich the power of the image, as well as the ethnographer's take on the image aside from the quotes listed by other authors. Some background on the ethnographer's overall project would also be helpful for understanding where this image fits within the overall argument.

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What kind of image is this? Is it a found image or created by the ethnographer (or a combination)? What is notable about its composition | scale of attention | aesthetic?

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 4:07pm

It is unclear whether the ethnographer took the photograph or found it. The notable factors are the specific times/days listed on the sign, the color of the sign (pink), the specific boundaries listed, the fact that the photo appears to have been taken at night. All of these factors convey an eerie feel to the photo, one that has the potential for propagating horrific violence against certain grousp of people based on race, class, sex, and gender. The policization of sex/gender in a very particular space convey a sense of suffocating regulation of sexuality that is indicative of the broader social perspectives of heteronormative values and belief systems surrounding the area.

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Can you suggest ways to elaborate the caption of this visualization to extend its ethnographic message?

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 4:03pm

I think it would help to create a more direct connection between the caption and the image. Both are very heavy with theoretical potential, but there needs to be a greater synchrosity between them. In addition, the toxicity of the place itself could use further explanation. Where is this in Washington, D.C.? Why is this particular space significant for exploring toxicity? 

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How does this visualization (including caption) advance ethnographic insight? What message | argument | sentiment | etc. does this visualization communicate or represent?

Friday, February 28, 2020 - 4:00pm

The visualization and caption are each very powerful in terms of critique of urban planning. The violence of the sign and "annihilation of people by law" appear to work in tandem to criminalize people in urban spaces. The sentiment is one of raced, sexed, and classed violence, all of which are toxic. Even the sign's color itself, the color pink which has often been used by corporations to monetize women's sexuality with color codes, conveys a sense of public/private violence simultaneously. 

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