Fortun, Kim, James Adams, Tim Schütz, George Marcus eds. (2020) VTP Project Page. In Visualizing Toxic Places. Center for Ethnography. February 10.
Visualizing Toxic Places (VTP) is a collaborative experiment with new ethnographic methods and modes of expression. The project is designed to explore "toxicity" in many guises (chemical, discursive, gendered, mediated, and others), "place" (as an analytic focus in ethnography, in experience, as site of governance, and so on), and ways "toxic places" can be conveyed and analyzed through diverse modes of visualization (expanding how visualization in ethnography is conceived and practiced).
The digital workspace for the project -- on the Center for Ethnography’s instance of the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography -- will support both local and remote participation. End products will include a digital photo essay collection, gallery installations, journal publications and possibly a book.
Project participants will build digital photo essays (with images and extended captions) that convey toxic dynamics in the “place” they are concerned with. Careful selection and explication of images will be key. Captions (200-400 words) will draw out understanding of both toxics and visualization in ethnography. Images and captions will be shared and collaboratively analyzed. Images don’t need to be representative -- they can “illustrate” the analysis metaphorically, through juxtaposition, or many other means. Images can be found (in the field, in fine arts, in advertising, and so on) or created (through photography, illustration, and so on).