elenahpowell

the world is our lab

In Edinburgh, Interesting things on June 19, 2013 at 11:03 pm

The rest of Factish Field was quite…talk-y, interesting but those chairs were painful. For five, six hours I think the floor would have been comfier. Although those white painful chairs seem to be gallery standard in Edinburgh, or at least the Fruitmarket had similar ones when me & Steph went to a talk there. I managed to miss the only day of fieldwork, incredibly frustrating. Tuesday was fieldwork (I was working) and at least Thursday was definitely meant to be out doing stuff, but it tended to be ‘lets talk about fieldwork’, which is well and good when you’ve actually done some fieldwork. It was still interesting mind. But I was hoping to pick up some fieldwork insights to use for the Highcross Project stuff.

Although most of the stuff I seem to do would count – sort of – as (anthropological) fieldwork (or at least partially) – recording conversations, observing people, walking and so on. But – and this was mentioned several times and I’m not quite sure what to make of it – but art sometimes/apparently/maybe misuses fieldwork, does it wrong (in an anthropological sense). I’m not sure how, because I don’t know how to do fieldwork right. And whilst art and anthropology do overlap and cover some of the same things the whole ‘you’re doing it wrong thing’ is probably – or from my incredibly under qualified perspective – the biggest difference. In art there isn’t often a wrong way of doing something – there’s a tried and tested way, a harder way, a really really stupid way and so on, but they’re largely equally worthwhile/valid. Not to say that there’s no experimentation in anthropology, I’m sure there is (but what do I know?), but there are some things that have to be done right – like some aspects of fieldwork (+ ethics) I guess – because otherwise you’ll balls it all up and ruin everything for potentially a heck of a lot of people. It’s not a perfect example I know, but I think there’s possibly a bit less anxiety about doing things right in art (she says…). Long story short, I’d have loved to do some fieldwork.

I’ll just invent my own fieldwork and stick to doing it wrong. Weirdly I’ve seen two anthropology textbooks in the shop, so I’ve started a miniature anthropology library in a box. In other exciting shop news – I stupidly agreed to stay late, I left at 6:45 today, yesterday was a pretty good day money-wise and this afternoon I successfully managed to change the till (make up the money for tomorrow and count/bank the rest) without it going horribly wrong. And it’s not as confusing as it first looked, so if I’m ever in alone I think I could manage that. The hardest bit was getting a receipt for the whole day out of the card machine…

There’s three-and-a-bit stacks of boxes at the moment. I said this last summer I’m sure, but how on earth do I have so much stuff?! The majority of stuff is packed but there’s still…several boxes worth to go. I have no idea how this is all going to fit into the new flat, it’s all very well when it’s just me on my lonesome, but four people’s clutter is going to be a lot. I’ve culled stuff too, and there’s still a lot.

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Some words from Factish Field – there’s a lot more but I’m tired and can’t be arsed.

moving image is the most blurry area / summer school / energy and intelligence / quite tirelessly / visual culture / anthropological / conceptualised / linguistics / contemporary / material world / dialogue / museology / disciplinary / good staff / participant observation / probe / ethnography / shame and art / relationship / overview / conversation / thinking behind this / generative / interject / tangents / probes things / presentation / issues / context / two decades / co-option / juncture / academic discourse / taken on a new life / unintentional overlaps / colonialism / artist as alchemist / ethics / colonial overhangs / engage / fieldwork / images / hinders the artistic process / project / eloquent / language of scholarship / absolute certainty / chance encounter / really interesting mad people / forms of knowledge / distinct / universalism / what the hell am I doing here / disposition / the weave of the subjects / sexism / I’m a feminist / moral charge / voyeurism / sheer exploitation / cookie box ethics / institutional domain / qualms / create an encounter / unintended consequences / intrinsic / academic work / go places / jump in at any time / breaking down the hierarchy of roles / who owns the knowledge / a sense of what it is to be / a fool / to move through disciplines / being honest and listening / a really helpful word / encapsulates / field of engagement / that’s fine / that’s perfect / we are authors / dynamic / issue / at risk / between you and the nuns / commonsensical / curious / culture as a system / a lot of statistics involved / idea / any field /  multiple approaches / very robust / group the real / super interesting / postmodernism / fetish / writes beautifully / dynamic crease / epistemology / indistinctive / constitutes / the world is our lab / experimenting / factish / like an idiot / sensory environment / I need to be bilingual /very mannered / no qualms / this was beautiful / creative space / discover something other / my method wasn’t to go out like a virgin / wormhole / vulnerable / sharing a life / the crux / want to hide / group of nuns that live on a fun fair / trying to find it / dancing nuns / not articulate / don’t understand myself / naïve / spiel / every object that I put into the world / quite hung up on this / buys you time / suffusing agendas / normal / coming out as students / elitist / intellectuals don’t really exist in universities / therefore my life is shit / subverted / the ability to get up tomorrow / cynical / serious crazy stuff / the right space to do it / completely creative / engage / doing something completely different / sure / yeah / nowadays / easier to negotiate / shouldn’t go native / that whole objectivity thing / bring this to a close / own way of talking / changed your mind / value / these kinds of discussions / what I’m looking for / like reading a horoscope / I would say / expressing / kind of threw up a bit / please jump in / you can go google / uphold the psychological wellbeing / also the reverse / equally vulnerable /

Also – art bollocks. I had a theory, and it was right. I watched several episodes of Art Attack (oh my childhood) and even talking about drawings done by 6/7/8 year olds the same – if somewhat diluted – language that we use in crits and so on was used. Which is a bit odd, because when I was drawing at that age it wasn’t for someone to tell me what a nice composition I’d done, or about the texture or whatever else. It was because I liked drawing. I’m going to go find clips of SMart and see if it does the same thing (oh wow, that started the year I was born).

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