Critical ethnography:

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Www.culturalfarming.com                                                                                                                                                                                 http://Www.culturalfarming.comhttp://www.culturalfarming.com/shapeimage_2_link_0
 
 

        My supposition for building experimental, critical, ethnographic, video projects resides within my methodological construct in the following sections:


        Critical Theory, Anthropological Film, Bricolage, Surrealism,

                         Parody, Montage, Synaesthesia.


                       


        Each section, below, expands beyond that of mere application.  For underlying all is my growing impression that citizens employing anthropological-ethnographic video techniques may indeed be our best-positioned monitors (farmers) of TVmedia -- by investigating and applying vital, alternative, provocative viewpoints as checks-and-balances to a host of media concerns.


        Cultural Farming is not a push for the creation of some new breed of citizen journalist, self-deputized media policeman, aggrandizing rhetorician, or clever comedian.  Rather mine is a global call for civic engagement with television - with its anonymous makers - as a self-reflexive stance in visual TVmedia literacy, social storytelling, and TV journalistic/intellectual accountability.  Most notably, I hope this brand of research encourages a rebalancing of media power.  For Cultural Farming is not about “how-to” -- it is about “how-do”.




Critical Theory:


        The term Critical, within my research, implies groundings to the critically theoretical Frankfurt School of Theodor Adorno (1993, 1994) Max Horkheimer and Herbert Marcuse; and among its orbiting intellectuals such as Walter Benjamin (Arendt 1968; Buck-Morss 1989; Demetz 1978); Rudolf Arnheim (1966, 1969), Seigfried Kracauer (1955); and others like Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci (Forgacs 2000).  This generalized grounding offers common perspectives through which a qualitative researcher can frame critical questions and promote action.  Hence, for Cultural Farming:  Critical purpose is emancipation of cultural members from ideologies that are not to their benefit and not (necessarily) of their creation.  Critical thinking attempts to break open power, oppression, taken-for-granted 'realities’, and ideologies.  In this way, critical ethnography (a genre of critical writing) goes beyond much quantitative and qualitative description of our culture by ‘action-ing’ for change; by challenging false-consciousness and ideologies exposed through investigative examination.


        Dick Hebdige (1988) Dean of Critical Studies at California Institute of the Arts writes that a mixture of conjunctional analysis and strategic intervention typifies a critical Gramscian approach:


        “The Gramscian model demands that we grasp these processes not because we want to expose them or to understand them in the abstract but because we want to use them effectively to contest authority and leadership by offering arguments and alternatives that are not only 'ideologically correct' ('right on') but convincing and convincingly presented, arguments that capture the popular imagination, that engage directly with the issues, problems, anxieties, dreams, and hopes of real, (i.e., actually existing) men and women; arguments, in other words, that take the popular (and hence the populace) seriously and that engage directly with it on its own terms and in its own language.”  (original italics)


        And here, Stephen Gilbert Brown (2004:299-314), in his excellent book Ethnography Unbound: From Shock Theory to Critical Praxis renders several more important features of critical ethnography (CE):


- CE is not a univocal, but a polyphonic discourse.

  1. -CE adopts a praxis informed by the theoretical imperatives of postmodern

        critique, which gestures toward a synthesis of the social, the political, and the

        personal, in which logos is infused with ethos.

  1. -CE confounds theory with its fugitive signs, even as it refocuses its critical gaze on

        signifying practices of site-specific discourse communities.

  1. -CE wages a liberatory struggle of counter-criticism against postmodern theory -

        talking back, as it were, to the theoretical discourse that would master it.

  1. -CE exposes the limitations of critique that so effectively exposed its own - moving

        toward a more dialectic engagement with theory and a more dialogic solidarity

        with participants.

- CE is situated at the intersection of radical pedagogy and postmodern theory.

- CE is being informed by 'feminist pragmatism': “ethics of care.”

- CE counters the criticism of self-reflexive narcissism.


        These CE notions open the door to a particular brand of critical research within Cultural Farming; which carries a utopian tone.  This is intentional.  As scholar Avery Gordon (Bennett,et al 2005:363) defines:


        “Utopians practice a politics of everyday life, placing a premium on inventing and describing social arrangements designed to create an environment in which latent capacities for individual happiness can be fulfilled.  Notwithstanding the genealogy of the word, most utopians are distinguished by their willful insistence that the good society is not “no place,” but one that we have the human and material resources to build in the present.” 


        But mass media technologies, broadly conceived by the Frankfurt School, were often conveniently painted as singularly oppressive culprits against culture; as Armand Mattelart, Professor of Information and Communication Science at the University de Paris 8 writes:


        “Schools of critical thought began to question the consequences of the development of these new means of cultural production and transmission, refusing to take for granted that democracy would necessarily benefit from these technical innovations” (Berry & Theobald 2006:138).


       With Cultural Farming, I see our new media technologies as neither good, bad, or neutral; rather it is their (un)intentional usage which engages my central question.  And so, my (designer) pragmatism diverges from the despairing tones of the Frankfurt School in that I remain sharply critical of most media production (TV news) in culture-industry, generally, yet optimistic regarding its recuperation; and equally optimistic about others gaining voice within its dialogue.  But it is also apparent that struggle rises in parallel with every clamor for an inclusion of civic, provocative, or critical media representation.  This, of course, only further illustrates a necessity to engage Judith Butler's (1997:160) idea of  “a speech act as an insurrectionary act.”  Indeed, it is a familiar premise throughout Cultural Farming.  Butler writes:


        “As we think about worlds that might one day become thinkable, sayable, legible; the opening up of the foreclosed and the saying of the unspeakable become part of the “offense” that must be committed in order to expand the domain of linguistic survival.  The resigni-fication of speech requires opening new contexts, speaking in ways that have never yet been legitimated, and hence producing legitimation in new and future forms (p:41).


        In Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (Clifford & Marcus 1986:255), Paul Rabinow connects an ethnographical tone to Butler's “speech act as an insurrectionary act.”:


“The guiding value of those interested in experimental ethnographic writing…is dialogic: 'the effort to create a relationship with the Other -- as in the search for a medium of expression which will offer mutual interpretation, perhaps visualized as a common text, or as something more like discourse.'  …Feminist anthropology is trying to shift discourse, not improve a paradigm: ' that is, it alters the nature of the audience, the range of readership and the kinds of interactions between author and reader, and alters the subject matter of conversation in the way it allows others to speak.”


And so, maybe this ‘greimassian-semiotic square’ helps illustrate my Cultural Farming research location:


                                   


Or, maybe more this, following organizational communication professor, Stanley Deetz (1994):


           


Here it should be remembered that the culture industries of Adorno and Horkheimer remain 'in the end' (to use critical theory's wearisome phrase) ultimately and paradoxically comprised of individual producer agency which in turn is ultimately hegemonically persuadable.  Thus, notions of utopia continue to hold both purpose and promise.  In his excellent book on avant-garde design, The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitsky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1946; University of Illinois visual scholar Victor Margolin (1997) targets these notions:


        “The utopian imagination… means to envision new possibilities for human life” (p:9).  Margolin continues, invoking Clifford Geertz, “ideology is a form of 'symbolic action' through which human beings consciously or purposefully create symbols-systems that establish boundaries for human behavior” (p:5).


Thus, Cultural Farming encouraging citizens into critical ‘acts of doing’ parallels education scholar Henry Giroux (2000:135), in Impure Acts:


        “My call to make the pedagogical a defining feature of cultural studies is meant to accentuate the performative as an act of doing - a work in progress informed by a cultural politics that translates knowledge back into practice, places theory in the politics of space of the performative, and invigorates the pedagogical as a practice through which collective struggles can be waged to revive and maintain the fabric of democratic institutions.”





Anthropological (ethnographic) Film:


        Briefly, I want to suggest that the import of Cultural Farming’s media (television) research is to participate in our culture, not around it, or after it.  To this end (for an anthropologist, or better perhaps for a sociologist), TV news and journalism should be viewed as this project’s exotic tribal 'Other'.  Indeed, TV news remains the fattest communication-information 'pipe' into most North American homes today providing an excellent, singular, object for study - replete with view-finder (screen).   And while no one can predict television’s future, contrary to many recent 'convergence' obituaries (Bolter & Grusin 1999; Jenkins 2006; Manovich 2001; Morse 1998), TV, per se, is not going away any time soon.  Ruppert Murdoch, the chairman and controlling shareholder of the transnational media powerhouse News Corp. knows this well; as does Google, the world's leading and publicly held Internet search engine.


        Today it is hard to find any TV newscast that does not regularly include Google references and/or un-attributed 'citizen' video from so-called 'social media' venues -- like YouTube and FaceBook – all aired as legitimate journalistic/news content.  Indeed, we are witnessing a critical rupture in traditional news practice, with 'every man for himself.'  Media rules and regulations - like copyright - are in stunning free-fall on all fronts.  For instance, in YouTube's first year alone, it showed 100 million video clips while uploading an estimated 65,000 more each day - much of it pirated, remediated content.  Even though issues of usage and copyright still hang in precarious balance, YouTube was well worth $1.65billion purchase price to Google in October, 2006.  Consequently, as our old, natural (TV) world is metabolized by new screen realities, our socially constructed worlds change as well along with their languages and grammars.  However, while this transformation seemingly happened overnight, less mentioned is that it has exploded traditional notions of Habermas' public sphere of social (mass) communication exchange.  And so, as we watch a media that watches us watching ourselves watch - a possibility-of-inversion provides new spaces of reciprocal (Althusserian) interpellation.  In other words: “Why don’t we ‘hail’ media back?”  Paradigms shift.


        In addition, my Cultural Farming research importantly reinvestigates, however glancingly, many outdated and highly criticized “one-way’ communication studies claims such as technological determination (Williams 1974, 1958; Mumford 1952; McLuhan, 1964. Innis), and media effects (Postman 1992, et al).  Notwithstanding, Cultural Farming remains firmly dialogic and didactic.  Cultural Farming is intended as a 'show and see' for encouraging citizens to reinvigorate, if not critically recuperate, ethical media (journalistic) production and presentation through emancipating - yet re-limiting - constructs of 'civic' media. As visual scholar W.J.T. Mitchell (2005:355356) writes:


        “Merleau-Ponty's abstruse discussions of the dialectics of seeing, the “chiasmus” of the eye and the gaze, and the entangling of vision with the “flesh of the world” become much more down to earth when the spectator/spectacle has been visibly embodied and performed in the classroom.  A more ambitious aim of Showing Seeing is its potential as a reflection on theory and method in themselves.  As should be evident, the approach is informed by a kind of pragmatism, but not (one hopes) of a kind that is closed off to speculation, experiment, and even metaphysics. At the most fundamental level, it is an invitation to rethink what theorizing is, to “picture theory” and “perform theory” as a visible, embodied, communal practice, not as the solitary introspection of disembodied intelligence.  …The Showing and Seeing exercise is one way to accomplish the first step in the formation of any new field, and that is to rend the veil of familiarity and awaken the senses of wonder, so that many of the things that are taken for granted about the visual arts and media (and perhaps verbal ones as well) are put into question.”


        With Cultural Farming, I want to elevate, widen and deepen discussions (dialogically) about the culturally troublesome aspects of media (TV).  And luckily there is the bright spot: Tools for critical ethnographic video are widely available to most any citizen.  Indeed, within the voracious greed of unbridled capitalism there are occasional moments in history, like ours today, when technological hegemonic fluctuations err on the side of citizens.  In this lust to fulfill increasingly ‘manufactured’ consumer demand, a deluge of new emancipating technologies are unleashed daily.  Video cameras are now cheap enough to slack-jaw any Sol Worth Navajo (Worth 1981).  Non-linear editing tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars only a decade ago are now free.  User-friendly distribution venues for global dissemination abound with the advent of broadband that now penetrates over 50% of North American homes.  Every person (in essence, however not yet in theory or practice) can be his or her own 'TV station' at the drop of a hat.  Many people can be seen attempting to do exactly this to the tune of about 175,000 new blogs created every day -- and, of course, most all these involve informational visualization.  These new media technological tools make Cultural Farming research possible.


        And so, within the scope of my Cultural Farming research, I intend to simultaneously exploit two notions.  First, the daily utilization of moving images (TV and video) is within the reach of most every North American citizen.  And second, manufactured moving images must be acknowledged as the visual fabric of our social environment (Elkins 2003; Howells 2003; Mirzoeff 2001; Mitchell 1986, 1995, 2005; Postrel 2003).  Thus, my methodology leverages a civic possibility/responsibility by engaging these opportunities while we can before hegemonic forces slam these doorways closed to most citizens through pending industry pressured legislation like al la carte pricing, anti net-neutrality, and fair-usage rulings.  However, a question remains which is central to my research premise:  What will we do -- what should we do -- with today’s unique media opportunity?

 

        To point, if citizen users need not recreate their civic media efforts in mirror-image to big media production practices, what will be made?, and from what principles?  Here, my theoretical methodology falls within the shadow of many visual  anthropologists like Richard Leacock, David McDougall, Marcus Banks, Jay Ruby, and particularly Jean Rouch -- ethnographic filmmakers all -- for purposefully capturing, constructing and employing moving images as observational scholarship.  It is time to expand our notions of academic logocentric 'writing' -- to an art of looking sideways -- by exploring (provoking) reciprocally all aspects of media visuality without stunting translation (Coover 2003; Fletcher 2001; Harper 2003, Glasgow University Media Group (2005), Goodall 2000; Virillio 2003, Wilde 2005, 2007).  Thus, I suggest with Cultural Farming: Why not simply re-employ everyday media (TV) to critically examine media (TV)? This approach to method extends the overarching, yet unfulfilled, promise of three generations of visual anthropology scholars.  Indeed, media ethnography is anathema to constructing research entirely of words (as Cultural Farming clearly illustrates).  To do so would be absurdly cross-purposed; for undoubtedly all images conjure words, while words inevitably invoke images.  As George Marcus and Michael Fisher emphasize in Anthropology as Cultural Critique (1986:75):


        “… contemporary practitioners of ethnographic film are well aware that it (film) is as much a constructed text as are written books.  Ethnographic film making thus poses challenges similar to that of ethnographic writing: problems of narrative and focus, of editing and reflexivity.  Perhaps the ethnographic film cannot replace the ethnographic text, but it may indeed have certain advantages over it in a society where visual media are strongly competing with written forms for attention of mass users, including intellectuals and scholars.”


        Curiously, as far back as 1996, I found myself publicly calling for exactly this kind of reflexive application directly to my professional TV cohort, the producers of production in cultural industry.  In it I am uniting the ‘familiar’ in television with its ‘strange’ to better understand my medium, my world, and myself (Broadcast Designers Association, conference presentation):


                       


       “...so recently, I found myself in this situation - it was 6:45pm - I was setting up a rendering on one computer, transferring files to another “server” computer for printing, and typing a response to an e-mail letter on still another, while talking on the phone to an east coast client, when call waiting buzzed.  The new call was my client from San Francisco faxing back approval of an updated document I had just scanned moments before which now needed to be quickly photo-copied into individual over-night packages for my construction shops in North Carolina and Indiana, all before FedEX closed for the evening. 

        My assistant, meanwhile, was on the mobile phone discussing hi-res output quality with an in-town service bureau, while dumping a graphic from Beta onto the array hard drive, for insertion into a new 3-D model that was being textured mapped for an animated fly-through, so it could be dubbed onto my portable HI-8 player for presentation during my meeting in Detroit the very next morning.  (Ha... you've all been there, right?)  ...But then...I had a hideous revelation - an epiphany of grotesque proportions. 

        It had nothing to do with the dramatic technological changes in my business, or the fact I am completely using new and exotic tools to fashion my designs...  It came, instead when, in the midst of all of this studio commotion, I happened to glance up at the TV on my desk to see a short video clip on the CBS Evening News of a wounded young man writhing in pain on ground in a riot-torn, burned out village in Burundi, Africa. 

        As the man moaned in the street, another gunman secretly crept up to inspect the fallen man.  The gunman looked down and gently pointed his semi-automatic into the wounded man's chest and - with the TV camera following closely - squeezed off a burst of bullets splattering red flesh up into the air - forever recording this enemy's video taped agony onto the permanence of my memory.  I sat there in stunned silence.  What in God's name did I just see?  What was that?  Why was that?  That wasn't a news story.  That was an execution.  Worse.  It was a voyeuristic snuff film, actually recorded and edited by someone, and then transmitted into my home.

        This wasn't the typical, slo-motion footage, of piles of dead and bloated bodies we've become accustomed to on TV.  No, this had gone the final last step.  Now, we could witness.... we could...participate.  All the while, the reporter's voice-over droned, about how hopeless the situation was - then, it cut back to Dan Rather’s face.  He was smiling, saying something about 48 Hours, then it cut to a denture cream commercial.  ...Did anybody see what I just saw?  Did anybody notice?   I wanted to vomit.

        In one horrific instant I was painfully reminded again of the awful, vulgar direction the medium I've chosen for my profession has evolved.  I know the old argument... “who can argue news content is worse than anything else?”  But what's going on out there?  Who's in charge?  Are we thinking about what we’re doing?

        It hit home that in the course of four or five short years virtually everything - how I work, who I work for, the industry I work in, the results of my work, even the reason I work - had been completely transformed. 

        I'm struggling to understand it.  Am I coping well?  Do I even have time to consider that question?  What control, if any, do I have anymore?  Am I an artist, a designer, or, just a hired wrist?  To what extreme expression will my work to be associated?  What kind of future am I helping to build?”  (Wilde 1996)


                       



        But what is ethnographic film?  How is it theoretically instructional?  How might it be helpful in my unusual research?  An answer might be found in Lucian Taylor’s (Feld 2003:141) statement, “All your films in a sense provoke, rather than 'record;” to which the renowned anthropological filmmaker Jean Rouch replied, “Yes. I prefer not to be the scientist but to participate.”  


And here, Sarah Pink (2006:19) provides necessary specificity:


        “The future… should be a two-way process through which mainstream anthropology comes to accommodate visual knowledge and ethnographic film comes to accommodate anthropological concerns.  …I suggest we need to create a visual anthropology that no longer simply defends itself against the mainstream… One way this is already achieved is by accommodating theoretical developments in anthropology within visual projects… Another is to develop new forms of visual representation that can communicate theoretically… This might involve producing not only new forms of ethnographic film, but hypemedia texts that combine word and image.  …This may provide important directions for a future in which visual anthropology has a more prominent public profile and engages with what some have argued is our responsibility to promote a public anthropology that comments on and intervenes in issues of public concern.”


        Cultural  Farming is calling for exactly this kind of usage of specific experimental video (TV) toward the production of production.  As Concordia University film scholar, Catherine Russell (1999:22-23) writes:


        “One of the things that experimental film brings to ethnography is what (Bill) Nichols describes as the ability to see film as cultural representation - as opposed to seeing through film.  It is a difference between discourse analysis and content analysis, and it requires a selection of texts that are exemplary of particular configurations of culture and representation.  …If we can understand film and video as a means by which 'culture' is translated into technologies of representation, we can potentially see, in Rey Chow's words, how a culture is 'originally' put together, in all its cruelty.”





Bricolage, Surrealism, Parody:


        Simply calling video 'ethnographic' or 'experimental', however, does not make it so.  Here I will outline Cultural Farming’s method construct for an implementation of qualitative, experimental video.  I begin by quoting the preeminent qualitative research scholar from University of Illinois, Norman Denzin (2005:4-6):


        “The qualitative researcher may be described using multiple and gendered images: scientist, naturalist, field-worker, journalist, social critic, artist, performer, jazz musician, filmmaker, quilt maker, essayist.  The many methodological practices of qualitative research may be viewed as soft science, journalism, ethnography, bricolage, quilt making, or montage. The researcher in turn, may be seen as a bricoleur, as a maker of quilts, or, as in filmmaking, a person who assembles images into montages.  …The bricoleur produces a …pieced-together set of representations that is fitted to the specifics of a complex situation…(it) is pragmatic, strategic and self-reflexive. 

        Montage and pentimento, like jazz, which is improvisation, create the sense that images, sounds, and understandings are blending together, overlapping, forming a composite, a new creation.  Here, montage uses brief images to create a clearly defined sense of urgency and complexity.  It invites viewers to construct interpretations that build on one another as a scene unfolds.


  1. - The methodological bricoleur is adept at performing a large number of diverse tasks, ranging from interviewing to intensive self-reflection and introspection.


  1. - The theoretical bricoleur reads widely and is knowledgeable about the many interpretive paradigms that can be brought to any particular problem.


  1. - The researcher as bricoleur-theorist works between and within competing and overlapping perspectives and paradigms.


  1. - The interpretive bricoleur understands that research is an interactive process shaped by his or her own personal history, biography, gender, social class, race, and ethnicity, and by those of the people in the setting.


  1. - The critical bricoleur stresses the dialectical and hermeneutic nature of interdisciplinary inquiry, knowing that the boundaries that previously separated traditional disciplines no longer hold.


  1. - The political bricoleur knows that science is power, for all research findings have political implications. There is no value-free science.


  1. - The gendered, narrative bricoleur also knows that researchers all tell stories about the worlds they have studied.  Thus the narratives, or stories, scientists tell are accounts couched and framed within specific storytelling traditions, often defined as paradigms.


  1. - The product of the interpretive bricoleur's labor is a complex, quiltlike bricolage,

    a reflexive collage or montage - a set of fluid, interconnected images and

    representations.  This interpretive structure is like a quilt, a performance text, a

    sequence of representations connecting the parts to the whole.


        Denzin's typology makes me smile: Bricoleur, the equivalent to the English "do-it-yourself;' or the core meaning in French being to fiddle, tinker and, by extension to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials are at hand (regardless of their original purpose).  I've been performing bricolage throughout my professonal life.  Trompe l'oeil, assemblage and juxtaposition, as means of textual visualization are second nature to my theatrical and television career - and they have been entirely so since 2004 with my initial civic media experiments in Cultural Farming.  (Here, I humbly compare my sensibility [Wilde 2006] to that of Bruce Conner [1958] some fifty years prior.)  Indeed, even my extensive usage of quotations within the body of this text is but another example of this natural predilection.  Likewise, it is reminiscent of Walter Benjamin's obsession with collecting quotations.  As scholar Susan Buck-Morss (1989) explains in her sweepingly revealing book on Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project:


        “Benjamin's laborious and detailed study of past texts, his careful inventory of the fragmentary parts he gleaned from them, and the planned use of these in deliberately constructed 'constellations' were all sober, self-reflective procedures, which, he believed, were necessary in order to make visible a picture of truth that the fictions of conventional history writing covered over” (p:220).


Buck-Morss continues:


        “For Benjamin, the technique of montage had 'special, perhaps even total rights' as a progressive form because it 'interrupts the context into which it is inserted' and thus 'counteracts illusion' (Is this Laura Mulvey?) and he intended it to be the principle governing the constellation of the Passagen-Werk: 'This work must develop to the highest point the art of citing without citation marks.  Its theory connects most closely to that of montage'” (p:67).


        Interestingly however to Hannah Arendt (1968), it was this fastidiously materialistic approach that branded Benjamin's critical thinking “undialectic” to Adorno and Horheimer (p:10):


    “In his concern with directly, actually demonstrable concrete facts, with single events and occurrences whose 'significance' is manifest, Benjamin was not much interested in theories or 'ideas' which did not immediately assume the most precise outward shape imaginable” (p:13).  “In other words, what fascinated Benjamin from the beginning was never an idea, it was always a phenomenon” (p:12).  Strongly influenced by surrealism, it was the 'attempt to capture the portrait of history in the most insignificant representations of reality, its scraps, as it were” (p:11).


Hannah Arendt continues:


        “When he was working on his study of German tragedy, he boasted of a collection of “over 600 quotations very systematically and clearly arranged” (Briefe I, 339); like the later notebooks, this collection was not an accumulation of excerpts intended to facilitate the writing of the study but constituted the main work, with the writing as something secondary.  The main work consisted in tearing fragments out of their context and arranging them afresh in such a way that they illustrated one another and were able to prove their raison d'etre in a freefloating state, as it were.  It definitely was a sort of surrealistic montage.” (p:47). 


        Walter Benjamin's work was particularly infused from his connection to Bertolt Brecht's Epic Theatre and its notions of ‘distanciation’ of both actor and audience from the comforts of realism by turning the strange familiar and the familiar strange.  In my Cultural Farming work, surrealistic performance plays an equally vital role:


Broadway stage:  Bill and Jean Eckhart, Ming Cho Lee, Robert Altman


Classic stage:  Desmond Healy, Lesley Hurry, Robert Edmond Jones, Stratford Ontario Shakespeare Festival, Donald Oenslager


Experimental stage:  Josef Swoboda, Richard Schechner, Dubrovnik Arts Festival of 1975, Bread and Puppet, Robert Wilson


Dance:  Joffrey Ballet, Alwin Nicholai Dance Theatre, Martha Graham, Musical Theatre, gay club culture


Music:  Frank Zappa, Talking Heads, Brian Eno, The Monkees, The Beatles


Film:  Andy Warhol, Salvadore Dali, Mel Brooks, Woody Allen


Fine art:  Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Calder, David Hockney


Parodic humor:  Mort Saul, Dick Gregory, Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor


Television:  American network news, Neil Postman, Laugh-in, Smothers Brothers,

my own professional career


If you noticed, none of the above-listed fall into any true categorization of surrealism.  Still, my notions of surrealism were informed through this variety of critically experiential performances during my formative years.  While some of the above can be seen as somehow more surreal than others, cultural scholar James Clifford (1988:147-148) synthesizes much of my patchwork historicity into concrete experiential methodology with this ethnographic statement:


    “Ethnographic surrealism and surrealist ethnography are utopian constructs; they mock and remix institutional definitions of art and science.  To think of surrealism as ethnography is to question the central role of the creative 'artist,' the shaman-genius discovering deeper realities in psychic realm of dreams, myths, hallucinations, automatic writing.  This role is rather different from that of cultural analyst, interested in the making and unmaking of common codes and conventions.  Surrealism coupled with ethnography recovers its early vocation as critical cultural politics, a vocation lost in later developments.  …Ethnography cut with surrealism emerges as the theory and practice of juxtaposition.  It studies, and is part of, the invention and interruption of meaningful wholes in works of cultural import-export” …The procedure of (a) cutting out and (b) assemblage are of course basic to any semiotic message; here they are the message.  Cuts and sutures of research are left visible; there is no smoothing over or blending of the works raw data into a homogenous representation.”


        And, where formalistic surreal expression rose historically through the machinations of the stage, camera and film, this approach can be further appropriated as a response to a rapidly changing mediated world with contested realities that resist grand theory.  As Marcus and Fischer (1986:123) write:


       “Like the Frankfurt School, the surrealists contested a reified culture, in which they viewed traditional norms, conventions, and collective meanings as artificial, constructed, and repressive.  They reveled in subverting, parodying, and transgressing those dead conventions through unexpected juxtapositions, collages of incongruous elements, drawing from the erotic, the unconscious, and the exotic.  Indeed, their juxtaposition and collage techniques acknowledged the increasing speed and normality with which the fragments of once different cultures could come together in a modern world.  They used the tern 'ethnographic' to convey their relativist, subversive attitude which could contest the contemporary work of French anthropologists in Africa, Oceania, and aboriginal America.”


        Marcus and Fischer (1986:125) continue, however, and caution the use of surrealism as a “liberating commentary on modern life,” one that ultimately remains “unreflexive about its own epistemological viewpoint” and offers little more than “semiotic guerrilla warfare,” when simply altering an object out of context.  For these authors:


        “The ethnographers who emerge from the dialogue with surrealism, however, are left with a duel legacy.  First, to bring out the critical potential embedded in the ethnographic method requires that anthropologists take seriously the notion of modern reality as a juxtaposing of alternative cultural viewpoints, which exist not merely simultaneously, but in interaction, and not as static fragments, but each as dynamic human constructions.  Second, the view of culture as a flexible construction of the creative faculties encourages ethnographers to expose their procedures of representation, makes them self-conscious as writers, and ultimately suggests to them the possibility of including other authorial voices (those of the subjects) in their texts.”


        This “juxtaposing of alternative cultural viewpoints” in many ways guides my Cultural Farming approach to constructing video for analyzing media and TV journalism.  Heeding Marcus and Fischer's reflections of the Frankfurt School and French surrealists of the 1930's; I do not intend to simply “toy” with ungrounded, “semiotic guerrilla warfare” ethnography.  Moreover, my research is not mere toothless culture jamming (Heath and Potter 2004; Hebdege 1979, 1988; Lasn 1999; Poyner 2001).  Whereas Walter Benjamin saw “shock…was the condition of modernity that needed to be mobilized by the avant-garde… that the revolutionary potential of surrealism lies in its blasting open” (Russell 1999:39) -- my ethnography will be intentionally, theoretically and methodologically more.




Montage and Synaesthesia: 


        It is a reinvigoration of Russian montage which provides technical, methodological, and theoretical scaffolds for a new visual-media approach to experimental ethnographic research.  Oft forgotten, with today’s commonplace quick-editing, is how Sergei Eisenstein (1942, 1949) and Dziga Vertov (Michelson 1984) radicalized their montage approach.  In his chapter from the book The Montage Principle  (Antoine-Dunne & Quigley 2004) Arthur McCullough writes:


        “For both Eisenstein and Benjamin these shocks or attractions would eventually come, via the cinematic technique of montage, to reverberate in the connections through film technique between producers and audiences” (p:46).


However, where Vertov's work grew more towards a realistic documentary 'direct cinema', Eisenstein's approach grew artistically and politically charged (Antoine-Dunne & Quigley 2004):


        “Although Eisenstein incorporated Vertov's productive aim he shifted things from Vertov's emphasis on documentary reality towards his own cinema of attractions.  Content, for Eisenstein, meant a series of connecting shocks arranged in a certain sequence and directed at the audience, and organized in relation to principles which would lead to the desired reaction in correct proportion.  His significant departure was in constructing an active medium, which mixed Vertov's unstaged recording of film facts with staged materials, stylization of shot composition, and mise-en-scene as a conscious remaking of reality - altogether a much more purposeful, artistic, intention.  It came partly from collage, which John Heartfield and George Grosz in turn derived from Cubism.  The more intense aesthetic was needed to break down a stimulus shield that people developed to anaesthetize themselves against the barrage of perceptual assaults of the modern city.  This squared with Brecht, and with Benjamin's philosophical outlook (as conveyed in The Author as Producer).  In this way Eisenstein, Brecht, and Benjamin foresaw a revolutionary use of communications technology such that montage could be used to open things out to explicitly political purposes” (p:51).


        Where montage extends beyond mere expressive editing, its relevance lays within the explosion of new meaning created between two juxtaposed elements.  And within Cultural Farming these explosions are thoroughly more formidable than mere quick-editing or surrealistic bricolage.  Indeed, Russian montage implores viewers to actively participate liminally, reciprocally, making an excellent tool-method for critically examining TV news production and presentation exactly at these intersections of interpretation.  In Eisenstein Rediscovered (Christie & Taylor 1993:167), Franco Cassetti is quoted:


        “In Eisenstein we find a constant urge to operate in the interstices of different sciences, between lingustics and anthropology, between psychology and aesthetics, between the history of art and biology.  This impulse might suggest a mistrust of procedures of analysis but, on the contrary, it takes advantage of the relative weakness of various paradigms to make the research more effective - and to obtain better results…. The role of the scientist and scholar, wise man and pragamatist, are superimpolsed and merged: each appears just when the others seem to be asserting themselves.”


        Thus, the importance of montage arises not out of an accidental cultural action, rather intentional anthropological practice.  More than fundamentally sound, these experimental research methods can be dialectically championed from oppositional viewpoints.  For on one hand, Denzin's (2003) 'experimental moment' challenges the entire ethnographic practice, exemplifying what Marcus and Fischer call defamiliarization by cross-cultural juxtaposition.  And on the other, James Clifford (1988:133) states, “The ethnographer, like the surrealist, is licensed to shock”.  


        Lastly, Donald Theall, emeritus scholar of both James Joyce and Marshall McLuhan, reminds us in his book Beyond the Word (1999) that:


        “A digression into John Dewey's pragmatic discussion of the relation between the arts and the processes of human communication will assist in understanding why nonsense provides such a powerful model of human communication.  In Democracy and Education Dewey unqualifiedly called out the close resemblance between communication and art.  He says, “The experience has to be formulated in order to be communicated.  To formulate requires getting outside of it, seeing it as another would see it, considering what points of contact is has with the life of another, and then reforming that in such a way so someone else can appreciate the meaning.  'All communication is like art.'  And Dewey goes on to say that,  'Nonsense, which forces the exploratory intelligence to work with gaps created by grammar, logic, and mathematics produces a strong desire to derive intelligibility from a still broader range of sensory interplay with other gaps and surfaces.  Communication is the process of creating participation.  Part of the miracle is that it achieves this, even though it is not the function or intent of art.  It is just a natural consequence of the artistic activity'” (p:45).


       Even a fictional, poetic synaesthesia can then be seen to directly apply when considering ethnographic forms of writing for a provocation of TV news and journalism production and presentation.  Theall continues:


        “Synaesthesia was first recognized as a poetic device about the same time as the abstract discussions of gesture in traditional rhetoric occurred.  Increasingly, these provided filmmakers, dramatists, and synthesizers of new genres - such as the Dadaists - with a further basis for an integrated poetic practice, whether in light, sound, movement, speech, writing, celluloid, pigment, assembled objects… or any combination of thereof.  These arts bequeathed to modernism, and its aftermath, a capacity for dealing with the new world of cultural production - that is, mass-produced objects, entertainment, and information.  From these perspectives, the arena of everyday life again began to shape the mind of the poet and artist (p:18-19). …(These) poetic works are bridges between gaps of understanding; they provide models of communicating in a self-questioning manner.  The experimental nature of these poetic works involves playing with the surface of sense, with the multiplicity of meaning and polysemy of language and machine, and exploiting the thrust towards a transversality of textuality” (xvi).





Structure, Practicalities, Prospectives, Problematics:


        In the above sections I have attempted to lay a Cultural Farming groundwork for examining TV (non-fiction, not fictional) production and presentation.  I have located terms in regards to the participants, along with myself, within this style of ethnographic production.  And I have targeted theoretical methodologies of video making for the creation of provocative video -- as method-tool -- for the purpose of civically, critically, reflexively engaging the presentation of TV (journalism), which is a necessarily contested arena vital to democratic participation... 

                            Cultural Farming = Critical mash-up.

...indeed, it is much too easy to simply exclaim that media, ie. TV journalism and news is 'broken', or that viewers are merely trapped powerlessly inside endless, vacuous consumption.  The above may be a pathway, if not a prescription, toward a re-balancing of informational-power. 


        One can see how Cultural Farming’s scope, broadly conceived, is an intra-inter-trans-multi-cross-anti-disciplinary performance.  It is a very large task by any communication research measure.  Hopefully, my simple research question is not lost in this complexity.  So I will state it again: 


How can critical/civic ethnographic video recuperate commonsensical media (re)presentation within TV (journalistic) production and presentation?


        As a life-long designer, my questions concerning the production of production remain close at hand.  How might we go about designing, structuring and implementing new media technology strategies in order to interrogate the production of production?  Moreover, how might we use these strategies to provoke the actual producers of media (TV journalism presentation)?  The answer: Unquestionably, the same way today's social media participants embryonically emerge, evolve and influence - by collectively doing, building, comparing, contrasting, remediating, disseminating, communicating.  Cultural Farming’s ‘added value’ is to encourage a didactic framework of critical reflexivity into this mix.


        As an example, here is a portion of my research story which I was invited to retell at the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference:  City University, London, (re)Performing Television: Pedagogy and Civic Media”  (2008)


                       


        “After I had left TV for good, 2004, I began to watch television news with new critical eyes, looking beyond the visual to see how it combines with all aspects of production, text, performance and ideology.  I was flabbergasted.  News was changing so fast; I blinked and I was missing it already.  Was I the only one watching this moving target of moving images?

        How could I pause this endless spectacle of deviance long enough to study it?  I went out and bought three TiVo's and began to archive whatever struck me as I watched it.  Concurrently, I made a radical discovery:  My little $200 digital still camera had a button on it called video.  I noodled with it… and immediately rediscovered the exhilarating experience of making moving images I had first (and last) known in undergraduate university in 1973.  I was addicted.  I made movies every day, in sheer, unadulterated ethnographic fashion, creating little observational stories.  Immediately, I could see the potential - and the problem.  Would I make movies in the mannerisms of big media?  Would I jack up each video with silly, vacuous content?  Would I use every special effect offered?  Would I go for the quick and easy joke to keep my friends entertained? 

        So, I set a few restrictions to scaffold my approach.  Each movie could only be 60 seconds long, with minimal effects, and I could only use free and simple tools, like Apple's iMovie, to construct the content.  Looking back now, it was clear that I was experimenting with every facet of mise en scene without even knowing the term.  I made hundreds of little videos.  Editing to music, using color, framing and composition, adding text…it was all there.  As I built this corpus of shorts, I also began to review my TiVo archives.  I could see, repeated again and again, the female body startlingly exploited on TV in every manner conceivable.  This was nothing new, of course… but then little I do is ever new.  I was just playing, slowing down media, distilling, concentrating, re-editing, and remediating content, which is so profoundly familiar to us, I fear we can no longer see it.  I was finding a new voice, and I was teaching that voice to communicate.

        I began to examine pornography and, with Photoshop, I experimented to see if I could re-construct these images in order to parody - or deactivate - their erotic exploitation.  Moreover, I started to see that I could blend actual TV footage with this content into curious constructions.  It was my beginning foray into semiotic critique, and Brechtian “alienation” -- making the strange familiar, and the familiar strange.  Pathways were opening to me.  As a budding visual communication scholar, I could now talk back to television using its own language and technique - all made possible, through today's explosive convergence of new, emancipating, visual-communication technologies like broadband, Blogger, YouTube, and a deluge of dirt-cheap recording and editing tools.

        Could I build from this approach a methodology to connect the critical theories of the Frankfort School of Adorno, Gramsci, and Benjamin; to the culturally situated Birmingham School of Hall and Williams; to the visually pragmatic Chicago School of Dewey and Becker; to the technological biases of the Toronto School of Innis and McLuhan; while perfuming it all with the diaphanous Parisian philosophies of Baudrillard, Barthes, Bourdieu, and Debord.  What about the political economies of McChesney and Chomsky? ...And the truly avant-guard like Breton, Duchamp, Man Ray, Magritte? …What of the early Russian filmmakers?  The jury,of course is still out regarding any 'ultimate success' of my video constructions, however, James Clifford and Marcus & Fisher continue to whisper in my ear about the untapped potentials of ethnographic surrealism.

        So, naturally, I built a website to collate my newest work.  I named it Cultural Farming.  I was dedicating myself to becoming a visual farmer - “subsistence living in a mediated world”, as I like to call it.  In early 2005 I added a video blog called Media Nipple, where every day, for one entire year, I uploaded broadcast video clips ripped directly from my home TV for deconstruction, theorizing, and lampooning.  I began to make compilations of my strongest videos and soon realized I could actually tell my own stories using TV content alone.  It was a revelation.  Throughout my entire life I had watched TV… now, finally, I could talk back to it using its own language and technique.  To date, Media Nipple contains approximately 500 daily posts with almost 2,500 individual video clips.  All are free for visitors to read, rip or re-mash.  In 20 months I've had almost 500,000 page views from visitors from every corner of the globe. In a very real sense, Media Nipple is accomplishing that noble academic triad:  research, teaching, and informing the public.  How does this compare to publishing a typical academic tome?

        I was getting bolder, and my pieces were getting longer.  Then, in February of this year I completed my first long-form 60-minute montage remix to experiment with Visual Essay construction.  I called the new piece Difficult Images.  It is a multi-modal, inter-textual interweaving of image-word-theory, which I also screened earlier at IVSA.  It was only one beginning attempt of an entirely new way to approach my research.  And then… this last April 16, the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech broke.  I ran all three TiVo's for one entire week, ripping raw content from all three cable news networks: CNN, FOX, and MSNBC.

        I made a 105-minute twelve-chapter ethnographically surreal video compilation of the event and called it Cameras or Guns: How Cable News Re-massacred Virginia Tech.   It chronologically recounts the 'broken-ness,' of both production and presentational practice within all of TV news.  It has been my most difficult project to date since very horrifically exploitive news image utterly spoke to the profound sickness in broadcast journalism, and indeed in our culture, where sadistic voyeurism and narcissistic self-congratulation are incessantly repeated as dominant themes. 

        I took the Virginia Tech footage and re-edited it using the principles of Vertov's Kino Pravda, and incorporating early Eisenstein montage to capture the explosive collision of two meanings to create a third.  I visually reconstructed a clarion call for a renewal of the journalistic standards and practices found throughout the writings of James Carey, Todd Gitlin, and John Fisk.  But mostly I heard Jean Rouch and Jay Ruby as they held my hand and walked me down the path of ethnographic film as epistemology… (Wilde 2007b).”


                       


        The above broadly recounts how I have come to personally implement new media technology strategies in order to publicly 'provoke' the production of TV journalism presentation.  In my estimation, this clearly personalizes and operationalizes the practical politics cultural studies scholar Henry Giroux (2000:141) so earnestly seeks:


         “I would like to argue that pedagogy as a critical and performative practice be considered a defining principle among all cultural workers - journalists, performance artists, lawyers, academics, representatives of the media, social workers, teachers, and others - who work in popular culture, composition, literary studies, architecture, and related fields.  In part, this suggests the necessity for academics and other cultural workers to develop dynamic, vibrant, politically engaged, and socially relevant projects in which the traditional binarisms of margin/center, unity/difference, local/national, and public/private can be reconstituted through more complex representation of identification, belonging, and community.  Paul Gilroy has suggested that progressive cultural workers need a discourse of ruptures, shifts, flows, and unsettlement, one that functions not only as a politics of transgression but also as a part of a concerted effort to construct a broader vision of political commitment and democratic struggle.  This implies a fundamental redefinition of the meaning of educators and cultural-studies workers as oppositional public intellectuals.  And a oppositional public intellectuals, we might consider defining ourselves not as marginal, avant-garde figures, professionals, or academics acting alone, but as critical citizens whose collective knowledge and actions presuppose specific visions of public life, community, and moral accountability.”


        And while Cultural Farming video practices can logically be employed much like any ethnographer's pen and paper; what is uniquely fundamental to the Cultural Farming website project is to:  Return my data constructions back, publicly and timely, to the sampled groups for their reciprocal use/dialogue. And here, I return to Bryant Keith Alexander's chapter “Performance Ethnography” (Denzin & Lincoln 2003:433):


        “The kernel idea that I am suggesting turns on the following question(s).  Can performance be used to turn the tables not only on those constructed as 'the other' but also on our collective cultural selves?  …(P)erformance ethnography needs to develop legs, or walking feet, traveling distances to particular audiences that might effect change, such as Boal's Legislative Theatre, or to those audiences that need an affective awareness of the issues.  Following some of the more radical applications of Theatre of the Oppressed, Playback Theatre, and Community-Based Interactive Theatre(s), performance ethnography as an academic construct cannot sit in an ivory tower and invite audiences to come to it.  It must go to those places and spaces where such critical performative intervention is needed to magnify issues, to dynamize movement -- physical, social, and political (Boal) -- and to engage audiences most in need of exercising and practicing voice.  In this way, performance ethnography would thus develop projects that 'reach outside the academy and are rooted in a ethic of reciprocity and exchange (Conquergood 2002:152).“


        Thus, as Cultural Farming continues to move forward (with obvious development), I intend to offer all my research at each stage, openly, freely, continuously, professionally, publicly, across the Internet, in academic conferences, to individual groups, in the classroom, and in consultation.  Cultural Farming will be designed multimodally: text, video, Internet, images, audio (Kress & Van Leeuwen 2001).  And I will showcase my ethnographic projects with opportunities to elicit reactions-responses in hopes of building awareness for two-way reflexivity.  Indeed, these encounters of discussion, commentary, and feedback may also be collated and remixed as well; making still more texts available for inclusion into still newer, more focused ethnographic expressions.  Thus, future audiences c(sh)ould re-appropriate my video research into their own personal responses - and vice versa - elevating all into new forms of serial reciprocity.


        Certainly, I believe it is more advantageous to broadly screen re-meaning'ed examples of TV journalistic production in an attempt to render a call for reflexivity, than it is to attempt narrow empirical measurements of media ‘difference’.  I intend to build a practical, hands-on awareness of the potentiality of civic checks-and-balances (alternative readings) to today’s corporate media (news) terrain.  Indeed, it is today's explosion of personal media technologies that may provide pathways for negotiating this mediated terrain.  And here, critical ethnography can be a map.  Exercising practical surrealism a compass.


        Ironically, it can be easily argued that television may not even fall within the scope of communication study since historically it never provided true oscillation between producer/receiver.  No worries, those days are long gone; the cat is out of the bag and expanding exponentially.  With Cultural Farming I see surreal, performative ethnographic video (again, a genre of critical writing) as an opportunity to critically fictionalize, metaphorically parody, forcefully examine, provoke, challenge, and inform our ever-expanding media environment; one which we seemingly most care about: our screen world.  All this can be performed not with ‘shaming’ critique, but rather through nurturing reflexivity by unveiling the current absurdity of TV (journalistic) production and presentation.  If TV's language and technique are indeed a kind of epistemological knowing, then it is only one small step to seeing the camera, the phone, the computer, the automobile (even the gun) equally as 'screens' - as powerful new-corporeal image environments, demanding equal investigation and re-conceptualization.  To wit, I would argue that Magritte's infamous painting of a pipe is indeed a pipe today.  For that ‘object’, as a wee bit of scripted code, is literally bought and sold in Second Life everyday -  for smoking


        That's but one example of how increasingly curious our world is becoming and why the work within Cultural Farming is important.  Mine is the struggle to stabilize an older diminishing analog reality, to reflexively enter our new virtual realities, while encouraging all humans to civically participate in both of these ecologies.  Why Cultural Farming now?  Maybe because Harold Innis' cod-fish and fur technology along with Dziga Vertov's kino-eye are clearly converging, evolving, and interdependent with today’s virtual dreams of Lev Manovich (1995:xxviii):


        “Vertov's goal is to seduce us into his way of seeing and thinking, to make us share his excitement. …(but) More importantly, Vertov is able to achieve something that new media designers and artists still have to learn - how to merge database and narrative into a new form.”


        Or, maybe it is because recent and substantive integrations of a variety of social media forms allow most any citizen to attend critical notions -- directly at the screen surface -- of Barthes' z-axis punctum, Benjamin's aura, Vertov's kino-eye, Baudrillard's hyperreality, Hall's oppositional decoding, Habermas' public sphere - through a kind of  “civic play' media experience.  Yes, this may conjure ideas of play theory (Johan Huizinga or William Stephenson), but it extends well beyond through purposeful citizen agency.  It is where imagination meets theory and where humanism abandons the sense of objective truth and settles for narrative assumptions of it;.  It is where reinvigorating and recuperating (within Cultural Farming anyway) TV news production with purposeful bricolage, fiction, parody, surrealism, and poesis unveil underlying values of today’s increasingly corporatized texts and their insistent claims to truth and objectivity (Fisk & Hartley 1978; Fisk 1987; Hartely 1992).  All typical TV-scholarship-of-words needs this kind of Cultural Farming encouragement, for all of visual media is struggling mightily to become a kind of television.  Yet, as anthropological filmmaker David MacDougall (2006) writes:


     “...these resulting images do not so much transcend reality as produce an alien reception of reality, sensitive to known qualities.  The surrealism of film image lies precisely in making us aware of a reality beyond our knowledge" (p:17).  “For their part, filmmakers need to pay closer attention not only to the special properties of film but also to how films can better reflect their own experience of seeing.  ...It remains to be seen whether innovative forms of anthropological writing can solve this problem" (p:60).


        Lastly, I acknowledge my call for civic checks-and-balances to television (news) production and presentation by re-appropriating TV’s moving images as a form of citizen participation will NOT be taken up by all; most likely by no more than a few.  I do not view this pejoratively; even Habermas' salons, overtly restrictive to the elite, constituted a necessary and formative mouthpiece for the public.  However, these few who are inclined to become ‘Cultural Farmers’ need primarily texts, visual exemplars for apprehending the vitally important need for the kind of democratic participation I am sketching here.  If nothing else, YouTube's explosive growth has vividly shown both the potential of access and the problems of stage-managed, corporatized political theatre.  Inverting Walter Benjamin (Arendt 1968), today’s dearth of critical provocation throughout all of TV and social media raises the prospect of presentation and production becoming ordinary, and by implication, less participatory.  In short, the more our media pantomimes the ever startling, vacuous,  passive yet entertaining machinations of corporate media practice, the less impetus there may be for citizens to stop, think, and create critical responses.  Thus, here is the critical/ethnographic dilemma:  If there is to be a branch of TV that is critically democratized, can it also be engaging TV?  I say yes.  There is room enough for all, however unruly.  There is room enough for Cultural Farming.


        I end with a final quote -- as a kind of student apology -- again from ethnographic filmmaker, David MacDougall, in Transcultural Cinema (1998:ix).  MacDougall writes simply:


        “In addressing (these concerns of ethnographic filmmaking) I share Dai Vaughn's belief that it is important to make the effort, even if one arrives at only an incomplete understanding.”


It is time for every citizen to grow more and better media communication.

Indeed, it is commonsense.








HOLLAND WILDE:

An American, living

in Canada, now spending his life experimenting with new forms of critical media ethnography.

 

Cultural Farming:  Media Appropriation as (auto)Ethnographic Performance and Critical Documentation

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