All posts tagged with 'ethnography'
5 p.m., Saturday, April 16, room 701 | Faculty respondent: Barry Salmon
Talking Heads: Speech Visualization of the Past and Present
This project is a study on the oratory style of various politicians and public figures, which attempts to capture their visual and sonic “portrait” through computer analysis of their speeches. Information gathered from analysis is used in conjunction with video footage to form a composite image of a speaker at his/her loudest, or otherwise most emphatic moments, giving a sense of personality and movement, almost like a time-lapse photo. Functioning somewhere between data visualization and portraiture, it can be seen as a way to systematically distill/summarize an entire persona into a single static image or soundbite, which in turn helps us to compare different speakers in a quick and efficient manner.
This addresses many increasingly difficult and relevant issues in contemporary media studies: can human qualities like charisma be measured or quantified digitally? To what extent can the essence of a personality be captured? How can machine algorithms be used to help us understand our organic selves? Interestingly, these pictures often reveal hidden patterns within the movement of very well known figures from the past, providing new insight into what makes them captivating and unique.
Throughout this presentation, I will explain the technical and conceptual process that was used to create this series of images, while addressing other possible uses of digital media to weave narratives and to help us better understand our complex social relationships.
Supplementary materials: Website
Consuming Home: Transnational Television Advertisements, Diasporic Consumption Cultures, and Hybrid Identities Among Bangladeshi New Yorkers
This study examines the role of advertisements on transnational satellite broadcasts in the lives of diasporic viewers, analyzing the links between global media, commercial culture, and identity formation. Highlighting the many contradictions and ambiguities that accompany diasporic experiences, this work explores how these advertisements (and the consumptive habits they encourage) are used as symbolic resources that allow viewers to imagine, perform, and negotiate diasporic identities. While audiences are conceptualized as active agents, this work acknowledges the constraints presented by commercial media structures and examines the ways in which these advertisements simultaneously liberate viewers from national borders and geographic constraints while reaffirming cultural boundaries and canonized local traditions.
Drawing upon depth interviews with Bangladeshi New Yorkers, this project illuminates how media and material consumption is used to negotiate between local cultures and global flows. As diasporic audiences integrate satellite broadcasts from their homelands into their everyday lives, they are able to stay connected with multiple cultures and imagined communities. This allows them to incorporate various aspects of their home and host countries into dynamic, constantly shifting hybrid identities that adapt to changing social, political, and cultural landscapes. However, rather than providing seamless, unproblematic connections between home and host countries, transnational satellite broadcasts often elicit complicated and ambiguous feelings among viewers, sometimes making it impossible to hold on to idealized visions of the homeland. Despite this, satellite television consumption continues to rise in popularity, with many advertisements directly tackling these diasporic challenges and presenting consumption- oriented solutions for crafting and managing hybrid identities.
Soundscape of the Diaspora: The Possibility of Sensory Ethnography
This paper explores the possibility of sensory ethnography as a methodology of urban studies. Just as Benjamin understands the cinema as a technology that makes an experience and a subjectivity anew, I approach sensory ethnography as a vehicle for exploration of a new type of knowledge. Sensory ethnography not only relies on visual and acoustic experiences, but also bring tactile experiences, which invites the audience, the reader in a traditional sense, to participate in embodied and experiential knowledge production. Given this theoretical foundation, this paper examines the multimedia project that I have developed. My project, Soundscape of the Diaspora, is a sensory ethnography of first-generation immigrants’ everyday lives at their workplaces in North Park Slope, Brooklyn, including tire-shops, delis, laundromats, etc. Combining field recordings and photo collages, the project represents and sonifies a process of globalization at the local level. The final form of this project is constructed in dreamweaver and flash, and displayed at www.brooklynsound.site40.net. This paper aims to draw a connection between critical media theories and multi-modal scholarly practice.
Space (In)Between: Mediating the Public
Rooted in the Situationist practice of psychogeography, Space (In)Between is a participatory, live cinema performance that explores the urban landscape as an interconnected realization of subjective experiences that collectively contribute towards the production of space. Remixing participant submitted cell-phone images with location based sound and video, artists Amir Husak and Karl Mendonca propose an inter-subjective narrative of place as a live performance where audio and video signals are continuously inter-transposed to construct a narrative in a constant state of becoming. Variations in the audio, video or participant submitted images affect in the resulting “mix” spanning minimal abstractions to reactive compositions.
With an emphasis on the idea of radical cartography defined by Lize Mogel and Alexis Bhagat as “the practice of mapmaking that subverts conventional notions in order to actively promote social change,” this paper will examine the motivations, implementation and theoretical underpinnings of the project as a form of participatory social documentation. Drawing attention to how claims of “the public” and “publicness” are mediated and in fact, emerge through different media, this paper will also focus on a question raised by Warren Sack that applies to both theorists and practitioners of media: “How can new technologies of representation call into being more democratic publics with richer measures, modes of visualization, and structures of participation?”
Space (In)Between was performed as part of the InLight Richmond 2010 public art festival on Oct. 22, 2010 in Richmond, Virginia.
Supplementary materials: Project website | Early iteration of the audio-video reactive system
Hibah Hussain focuses on the connections between telecommunications law and the media’s potential to contribute to socioeconomic development in the Global South. Prior to Columbia, Hibah worked at Google as an Account Optimizer, during which was heavily involved with the Google Grants program and won a Google Grants Basecamp Award for her work with nonprofits. Hibah has also spent time at the BBC’s Washington Bureau and in South Asia as Mellon Mays Research Fellow. She holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton College and an M.Sc. in Media, Communication and Development with Distinction from the London School of Economics and Political Science. While at LSE, she worked with POLIS, a journalism and society think tank, and was the inaugural winner of the Interaction London Research Prize, which is awarded to an LSE student with the best idea for applied research into social media. Her project combines critical theory with virtual ethnography, market research, and social psychology techniques to interrogate the effectiveness of online branding initiatives.