IsabelleSoifer Annotations

Isabelle Soifer's picture
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What does this visualization (including caption) say about toxics?

Friday, March 6, 2020 - 1:33pm

The visualization and caption combination convey the notion that toxics can sometimes be relegated to the background, particularly when there are other more obviously precarious situations/toxicities occuring in its proximity. Toxicites at times can become everyday and "usual," indicating how people adapt to the toxicities and their effects whether intentionally or not. Perhaps one walks through the landscape and inhales the smoke, perhaps even questioning it, but at the same time that does not render the fire to someone a dramatic indication of danger and its potential to kill. In addition, there is a degree of uncertainty at times regarding who is responsible for toxicities--who caused it, who is responsible for addressing it, etc. 

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

Friday, March 6, 2020 - 1:26pm

None that I can think of--I think the image conveys clearly its ethnographic import. It may help to explain in the caption who the person is in the image, so as to have some more contextual knowledge to place them.

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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, March 6, 2020 - 11:44am

This is a photo taken by the ethnographer during their fieldwork. What is notable about the photo is the fact that the caption is about fire and its subtly as an indication of toxicity in certain instances--the photo encapsulates this very well, with solely little clouds of smoke visible surrounding the person. Such shows the traces of the fire without being too overt, but which the ethnographer calls our attention to. It captures the unremarkable yet stealthily important fires, the likes of which are slowly disappearing hundreds of hectares of forests, purposefully. The little wisps of smoke conceal more than they reveal about the scale of the situation at hand, allowing for the caption to expand on that which is potentially unclear without some ethnographic work.

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

Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 4:58pm

It would be helpful if the author incorporates the notion of toxic places a bit more in their caption. Presently, the caption ends on a rather sudden note and does not quite conclude (and it is unclear how the number of cattle feeds into the argument). A little more theorization may also help to identify the ethnographic message, perhaps by concluding the caption with a tie-in back to the concepts in the second paragraph.

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

Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 4:48pm

The visualization and caption convey the mundanity of toxicity--the little fires that do not seem important yet are indicative of a much broader issue of "wildfires" as responsible for destroying hundreds of hectares of forest, not merely small patches due to traditional burning practices. That which is used as part of a traditional practice (fires) also has the potential to unleash devastation, as well as render certain groups of people scapegoats for the cause of the fires ("small" cattle owners). The visualization potentially points to the toxicity of narratives surrounding farmers and their traditional practices as propogated by the government and/or others managing the hegemonic discourse. The devastation of the Earth is thus rendered interconnected to the devastation of relations between people.

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