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Week 7 / Tutorial Research Project proposal

I have been exploring the space of the overlapping parts of contemporary art and anthropological ethnography, and I have been pursuing work that crosses the boundaries of traditional practice. This is because I believe that contemporary art should actively interact with ethnography. At the same time, It is then shown how contemporary artists whose practices are located in the intersecting modes of art and ethnography, or what can be termed “ethnographic-aesthetics”. In developing my methodological research, I have found a significant gap between the ethnography of craft and contemporary art. Although craft has been the subject of attention by contemporary artists, the role that craft might play in developing contemporary art studies has not been widely discussed. In contrast, photography and film move between art and science, playing with realist tropes in ways well known in anthropology. Artists, in many cases, do not seem to consider the role and significance of the ethnography of craft. While the arts have acquired a greater role in ethnographic practice as of late, artisanship has not; artisans regularly remain subjects of ethnographic analysis rather than a sources of epistemological and aesthetic inspiration for artists and ethnographers. Moreover, craft as a method, an attitude or a habit of behaviour. Even craft exists in motion. My question is, does the ethnography of multisensory (olfactory, gustatory, tactile and visual) craftsmanship act as a connection and thinking in contemporary art? What does it mean for artists and anthropologists? Where are the possible points of convergence for artists and anthropologists as they investigate the craft of their respective fieldwork and explore it? I see a shift from a ‘traditional manual ethnographic methodology’ to a ‘multi-sensory process’. I will demonstrate that this shift is necessary for the interdisciplinary study of contemporary art and anthropology. I am drawing on evidence from phenomenological, philosophical, visual anthropological, material and artistic research methods. I have tried to give my examples broadly in terms of the ethnography of craft, how contemporary art has been inspired. Again, craft of ethnography is not a defined practice but a way of thinking through practices of all kinds, and there is no reason that any one medium or genre of production should be more conducive to this way of thinking than another.

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