New version page

NOC_Taussig_Sydney

Upgrade to remove ads

This preview shows page 1 out of 2 pages.

Save
View Full Document
Premium Document
Do you want full access? Go Premium and unlock all 2 pages.
Access to all documents
Download any document
Ad free experience

Upgrade to remove ads
Unformatted text preview:

Art is an orientation I’m afraid. I was struck by the genius-ness and in some cases the humor of the projects that we’ve heard. And in regards to the general question that the gathering this morning is meant to address, which is this connections and anti-thesis between ethnography, art, and community involvement, it seemed to me that there was involvement, there is involvement by people who are in a sense in a community or in a society or in a linguistic group, and that works, but if I ask what is involvement, if I address the key terms; what is art? (Think of the differences in the things that we’ve heard this morning). What is involvement? And above all what is a community? All those terms are opaque, to me. Anyway, they’re too complicated. Community is usually an ideological apologetic covering over all sorts of differences and tensions. Involvement, you know, I mean how much involvement is there really? And the question that was asked for us really is why is…what does art do better than ethnography? And it seemed to me people who are outside a society, for instance in the U.S. talking about Australia or New Guinea or whatever it might be, have a sort of responsibility to actually do ethnography and get their facts straight- and that its too much of a legal guilt trip to feel embarrassed or critique that practice. I wanted to therefore, talk a little bit about what is fieldwork. Fieldwork is at the heart of ethnography and I wonder about 3 or 4 things we’ve presented today. I was thinking that fieldwork depends an awful lot on the strange fall-out of the stranger-effect. And the stranger-effect has many dimensions. One of which is a stranger understands better in some respects what’s going on in a place because, precisely because they stand outside that circle, community, that’s a very privileged and insightful position. The outsider also is completely ignorant of lots of things that are going. So there’s dialectic there between unusual, novel insight combined with ignorance. That’s one aspect of the stranger-effect. Another aspect it must be in the way strangers are taken in by their hosts, and how that relationship can be a very delicate one, a very generous one, and is a form of gift giving. The gift may be one of food and a roof; connections to other people; connections to histories; in some it’s a gift of knowledge. The gift giving is a very difficult thing which we do all the time unthinkingly and are very good at, if we try to analyze it, it gets quite a bit harder, but that doesn’t get in the way really. I just want to draw your attention to the way in which the outsider or stranger-effect entails gift-giving which will be a reciprocal thing. Steven who’s sitting over here, in some of his work has talked about ethnography as a form of story telling, and that when he goes visiting he’s very eager to hear, as I would be, as I think anybody in this room would be, very eager to hear other people’s stories. And this is different to running a survey or having a questionnaire and so forth, although those things are not to be ruled out. People, I mean it seems obvious to me that if you want to do a serious job, you want to understand those sorts of dimensions of a society it’s an insult to that society not to know them. So you can’t rule that out simply because you don’t like positivism or something, but this, and I’ve seen in Steven’s writing, sense of a slight sort of feeling of awkwardness or even guilt about landing on someone’s doorstep and wanting to hear their story, and how you might extend your story with theirs, but in my own experiences that’s not necessarily, other people may not be so interested in my story. Anyway, or even interested in the outside world. I remember taking a tape, an audio tape of some singing from central Australia by indigenous people to indigenous people in upper-Amazon in the 80’s and they were great singers, thosehealers they would sing all night, healing and having a good time, but after a couple of minutes they asked me to switch it off. Here I was looking for some sort of comradeship across the Pacific or whatever, and primitive people are all alike and so on, and you know they were sort of irritated, bored, and perhaps competitive as well cause shamans don’t like other shamans to come out on top. So there was not that much interest in my story. A couple of thoughts about the gift-giving and gift-receiving complexity of the stranger effect: One of the things that’s embodied also is, one of the things involved in the fieldwork as a practice, is bodily exchange. People when they go, or used to if they didn’t live in the standardized, homogenous hotel culture, have to learn to shit differently, sleep differently, different sound, different smell environment and so forth. So, there’s a deep-seated bodily shift that when you take into connection with, that, when you take in addition to the things I just mentioned means that fieldwork is really another form of knowledge; it’s not learning the facts, it’s not learning the stories, it involves those things of course, but it seems to me it’s a different way of knowing and that’s easy to side with un-thought through or standardized versions of what ethnography is, but if you think of this as a, you don’t have to see it full square in the academy, if you think of this as another form of knowledge that involves the things I just talked about, I think it becomes very exciting and maybe art-full. Now, one thing that I didn’t mention, to add to this baggage, what is ethnography, I find ethnography is quintessentially involving fieldwork, is that it’s sacred. And this is perhaps one of the most interesting things about it, and I used to say that no one teaches and that no one can be taught what, how to do fieldwork. To try it is considered to be clumsy, it’s like trying to teach someone how to ride a bike or swim. Plenty of people have probably tried to teach people all sorts of things, but what I’m talking about in terms of, is something that someone is initiated into without any initiator; there’s no formalized knowledge, so another thing that is involved there is the type of knowledge which somehow passes on through the ether or from hand to mouth and so forth. Now how that is, how such sojourns or experiences are…what’s the point? The point must surely be, which is mentioned I think in one of today’s talks, Ana


Download NOC_Taussig_Sydney
Our administrator received your request to download this document. We will send you the file to your email shortly.
Loading Unlocking...
Login

Join to view NOC_Taussig_Sydney and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or
We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view NOC_Taussig_Sydney 2 2 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

or

By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?