nicole rademacher

Monday, March 17, 2008

Experimental Ethnography: Surrealist Ethnography Part One

same book. new chapter. more thoughts.

Surrealism dealt with the familiar and the strange, the exotic and the banal. check and check. these videos could be surrealist....

'objets trouvés' were appropriated and recontextualized. Yes these are 'found' people, not found footage. They, the subjects, are 'objets trouvés'.
Bataille's journal Documents dealt with the cultural and the collision. What is my collision? Anthropology uses 'arbitrary categorization'. How could it not be arbitrary? Is that possible?
My use of the familiar - imitating the family (vacation) home movie

Las Hurdes (1932) Buñuel

Russell writes 'Ethnographic surrealism was a short-lived moment, out of which ethnography, art, and surrealism "emerged as fully distinct positions." (Clifford) And yet their blurring constitutes a crucial historical conjunction. Its disruptive potential is both a reorientation of the avant-garde toward everyday life and a reorientation of ethnography toward cultural pluralism and hybridity.'
Rademacher translates: Ethnographic surrealism destinctly separated art from ethnography and surrealism within art. Yet before this occured was crucial because it allowed for the avant-garde to re-examine everyday life and invited ethnography to allow for cultural merging, to be hybrid/plural.

The videos tension/ambivalence between formal beauty and experiential/temporal unease.

The juxtaposition of the synthetic and contrived qualities of video and the 'home movies', aka real documented reality.

contrapuntal : sound-image; speed-sound : incongruous

What discursive levels am I building with?
  • duration
  • color
  • sound
  • speed
Are the viewers led to question their gaze (through my gaze)? To question their role as an observer/tourist/voyeur?

Play with the '(un)reliability of visible evidence, the discourse of power and subjugation through gaze, the role of the observer.

Are the viewers invited to participate intellectually? My commentary (through video manipulation) of the 'visual evidence'.

Russell writes '... a common strategy of ethnographic film by which the individual social actor becomes and illustration of an ethnographic principle.'
Rademacher translates: ... often a subject (person in the film/video) becomes an example of a principle or a stereotype by which to judge.

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