If we think about ethnography as a practice of composition, various ways of working with audiovisual material become important. At The 2nd International Visual Methods Conference September 13-15 2011 in Milton Keynes, UK some of this potential is explored.
At the conference I was especially inspired by the work of documentary-maker Katerina Cizek. Especially the Highrise project has great potential to inspire ethnographic practices and compositions. Here’s some info from the project-website:
“The Towers in the World – The World in the Towers
HIGHRISE explores vertical living in the global suburbs. It’s multi-year, many-media collaborative documentary experiment at the National Film Board of Canada, directed by Katerina Cizek, produced by Gerry Flahive. Over the years, HIGHRISE will generate many projects, including mixed media, interactive documentaries, mobile productions, live presentations, installations and films. Collectively, the projects will both shape and realize the HIGHRISE vision: to see how the documentary process can drive and participate in social innovation rather than just to document it; and to help re-invent what it means to be an urban species in the 21st century.”
The various Highrise-productions are worth checking out. The 360° documentary Out My Window eg. is an interesting example how new media can be used to compose new ways of representation.
At the conference, a new commissioned Elsewhereness-piece by me and Anders Weberg, depicting Milton Keynes, is also screened. In a way The Elsewhereness-series represent a totally different take than the participatory large scale work of Highrise. But I found it thoughtprovoking to imagine them as very different but also related ways of using sound, video and digital media to represent and examine urbanity and imaginaries of cities.