Call for papers (dossier):
ETHNOGRAPHICALLY GROUNDED MUSIC VIDEOS: EXPERIMENTS IN MUSICAL ETHNOFICTION
Abstracts: 350 words + short bio (100 words) including your professional position.
Deadline: 15 June 2019.
Please send your abstract to Eugenio Giorgianni ([log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>) and Dario Ranocchiari ([log in to unmask] <mailto:[log in to unmask]>).
The digital era opened up incredible possibilities for producing, sharing, debating and re-elaborating audio-visual recordings. At the same time, the debates about coloniality of knowledge called attention to the need for rethinking academic knowledge production and conducting research not ‘on’ but ‘together with’ our subjects. It is in that context that the ways in which cultural practices are narrated assume a pivotal importance. An innovative use of audiovisual media for narrating musical practices can be a way (1) of opening up the research process to non-academic knowledge producers, and (2) of maximizing the societal impact of research outcomes. Can the elaboration of participatory music videos help to rethink the ethnography of musical practices?
Music video making constitute an experimental collaborative research field that an increasing number of audiovisual ethnographers are keen to explore in their research projects and films. Due to the crucial importance of video clips as promotional supports on digital networks – especially within transnational popular music circuits – music video making is a highly fruitful collaborative practice, for its outcomes are of use for both musicians and ethnographers. Through taking part in the steps of the making and the distribution of a video clip, the researcher gains a deeper insight into the economic, cultural, and social circuits where today’s music goods are created, exchanged, consumed, and re-elaborated. It is also a direct way for the research participants to express their subjectivity, sharing the researcher’s authorship and co-shaping the research outcomes according to their agenda. Plus, ethnographically anchored music videos represent a more accessible text, capable of disseminating anthropological knowledge far beyond the usual boundaries of academia.
Some ethnomusicologists have criticised the use of music video clip as an ethnographic text for it shares the format with mass consumer goods shaped by the dictates of global neo-capitalism. Also, the support’s brevity and fast pace can prevent most information provided by classical ethnographic music films (reflexive elements about the research project, musicological details, performance contexts…), favouring entertainment and wonder instead. Thus, such an innovative form of ethnographic film explores deeply intimate spheres of the musicians’ creative languages, expectations, and professional strategies. As in Rouch’s ethnofiction, the subjects/actors of a video clip improvise fictional actions inspired by their own lived experiences. A music heterotopia, the video clip’s non-narrative structure expresses imagination, sensory intelligence, and aesthetic values otherwise invisible, integrating body movements and dance as organic codes within a particular musical language.
Video clips can be seen as a performance-sensitive research model decentralising the text and opening up for non-discursive forms of knowledge construction. Though the music video clip, audiovisual ethnography enters all the ambiguities and contradictions of popular music making, away from any academic comfort zone.
For this dossier, we invite contributions from academic and non-academic researchers who participated into music video making processes:
• Can music video clips vehiculate ethnographic knowledge?
• Can music video making be methodologically useful for ethnographers?
• Can ethnographically grounded music video making facilitate participatory research practices?
• How are video clips shedding light on the sensory, imagery, emotional side of music making?
Some topics of interest:
- Epistemic, epistemological, ethical, social and creative aspects
- Relations between academic and non-academic subjects involved in video making
- Production process (preproduction, production, postproduction, dissemination and social reception)
- Visual and/vs musical frame into the audiovisual discourse
- Aestethic, cultural, political and economic interests at stake
Depto de Antropología Social
Universidad de Granada
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‘I hold the presupposition that our loss of the sense of aesthetic unity was, quite simply, an epistemological mistake’ // G. Bateson, Mind and Nature (1980)
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