How is this image “ethnographic”? Would you add anything to this image’s “design statement”?

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December 17, 2018

I understand this image as an ethnography of labor or workplace ethnography. The author is working on this digital platform through multiple points of entry.

December 17, 2018

I find this image "ethnographic" and to point to the author's familiarity with this video, down to the seconds, which represents an ethnography of temporality. As the process of cutting out just one frame distorts time, the second way the image is ethnographic is in the way it captures "normal", everyday speeches in the senate. There are constant condemnations of the poor, social safety net policies with simultaneous cries for larger defense and pentagon budgets. Senator Inhofe's stunt adds the element of props, making it all the more silly. To me this is an example of Laura Nader's concept of "studying up," from her 1972 article, "Up the Anthropologist: Perspectives Gained From Studying Up," as the setting itself is a study of power. What do we learn about power and governement in closely reviewing settings such as these and people such as Senator Inhofe?

December 14, 2018

I'm going to take ethnography pretty literally for a moment and reflect on the use of the words "Swiss quality" in promotional material. My research has led me to trouble the notion that quality ever means anything outside the context of identity politics. That goes for German aesthetic theory (Wagner) as much as for New Age spiritualism (Pirsig). Anyway, the idea that the Swiss somehow guarantee the worthiness of a project by virtue of labeling themselves its providers evokes a number of Western imperialist traditions. We know from Edward Said that a country did not even have to have colonies, or even to engage in conflict, in order to benefit from empire. That the Swiss are profiting from this company profiting from an ecologically destructive gold rush in Peru, well, I can't help thinking about the other ways Swiss capitalists have historically benefitted from gold extraction. As in all the gold Swiss bankers managed to hide and to horde on behalf of Nazis who got that gold, during the 1940s, by prying or mining it out of Jews' teeth while they waited to die in the gas chambers. Anyway, I'd think about ways you can stress this momentary violation of Godwin's Law. Forgive me but for once a Nazis allusion makes incredible sense! Returning also to the topic of quality, I'd venture a guess that the true test of Swiss quality is the country's ability to transcend its past and present investments in such ignoble money-making schemes.

December 8, 2018
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The pile of needles drew me to the center of the photo, to the mess of needles. It was visceral.

December 8, 2018
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I consider this image "ethnographic" within the context of the added critical commentary. I would add information about how/when/who took the photo.

December 6, 2018
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This image does a good job of capturing the "limited scope" of the health organizations that created it. However, I think that the ethnographic aspects of this image could be elucidated to a higher degree by discussing particualr the context in which it was found in greater detail.

December 6, 2018
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This image can be understood as ethnographic in that it shows one way in which options for protection against HIV are being publicized.

In the design statement, Guilberly discusses the design of the add, but I am curious to know what he thinks about the construction of the photograph of the add. Of course, the add is quite interesting in itself, but personally I would love to know more about the context its placement: where it was discovered, what that might mean about the intended audience, who created it the add, why resort to this sort of rhetoric? Guilberly also mentions "racial and sexual undertones" embedded in the image. I can definitely see how this is the case but I would also like to know how he is reading these undertones (though perhaps this would be more appropriate in the caption).

December 5, 2018
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This image is ethnographic in that it represents a contemporary controversy over how to understand and address the transmission of HIV through the use of intravenous drugs. But, at the same time, as an unsuspecting viewer, all we see is a box of sterile needles. That is, without context, the viewer could come to wildly different conclusions about the argument behind this picture. This is not intended as a critique of the image but rather an opportunity. In the design statement, I would suggest playing up this ambiguity of the image's meaning and relating that back to the ambiguity of the concept of "public welfare." That is, I think the ambivalence of the needle as a technology that both saves and endangers lives could be made analogous to the potential for certain deployments of the concept of "public welfare" to be rendered toxic. How does a box of sterile needles become morally fraught? How does the premeditated endangerment of the lives of people struggling with addiction become a moral good? How are these developments related?

December 5, 2018
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This image is a visual collection of the ways that artists have "art-washed" toxic spaces. It serves an ethnographic purpose in representing the motivations and outcomes of artists' desires to reappropriate toxicity. I felt that the image of the freeway headdress and the drain cats were particularly effective in this regards. It was more difficult for me to make the same connection to the argument for the other images.

Ruth Goldstein's picture
December 5, 2018

I am not certain at all how this image is ethnographic, but I want to know how I can view it that way, which, perhaps will take some more "grounding," so to speak, of the image itself. I gather that this is a "healthy" soil particle that glows from the use of ancestral and traditional techniques for cultivation of crops. To the image statement, I would add precisely what these techniques are that rejuvenate both the soil and the people whose lives are entwined with fertilizing, planting, and harvesting. It seems that multiple human and nonhuman lives are part of this potentially multispecies ethnographic image. 

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