With his seminal essay ‘The artist as ethnographer?’, Hal Foster () put the. ‘ ethnographic turn’ in contemporary art high on the agenda of cultural studies. Reading: Hal Foster: The Artist as Ethnographer. Some Key Points: Assumption that the site of artistic transformation is the site of political. This paper calls for an ethnographic turn in art scholarship that It has been almost twenty years since the publication of Hal Foster’s.

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Based on my own research with filmmakers and mixed media artists in Lebanon, the idea of making sense – not based on comprehension per se, but rather on sensory experience – is productive for engaging work that deals with incomprehensible lived experiences. They too need to keep a profile within their discipline and retain scarce university jobs.

The impossibility of representing the political violence in Lebanon is of course debatable in the strict sense, however, more than the idea of a prohibited practice, ‘impossibility’ serves as a critical muse. Please help improve it to make it understandable to non-expertswithout removing the technical details. Having made, shown and sometimes sold the resulting visual piece the artist moves to another project that may never involve the same group of people again.


Firstly, Foster relies on an antiquated notion of ethnography that most anthropologists now rigorously scrutinize. Westmoreland are imaginary as are the conspiracies and structures of feeling that they inhabit. Though this model is intended to undermine the authority of the anthropologist, it may actually reinforce it by positioning the anthropologist as the expert reader of culture-as-text.

The video shows a roll call ethnograher museums and collectors holding the Benin Bronzes around the world and in history. I shall discuss how contemporary artists have thought about and made use of various ethnographic methodologies in their practice and how these relate to artistic creativity, efhnographer the exhibiting of their work and to its reception.

By now the reader should be rather suspect about this narrative and the accompanying documents referenced herein. And yet, the film removes the questions, thus eliminating the context for answers that at times seem confrontational and at other times nonsensical.


He refused to talk to me more about his project and said he had to leave quickly for another appointment. He explains the rationale of this project, based on the notion of an addendum to a written document, as accentuating the idea of an afterthought.


In conclusion, I return to the epigraph that started this essay. Westmoreland as a child swept up into cosmopolitan geopolitics. So is the methodology used an important issue to discuss at all?

Since the subjects of my research already scrutinize this problematic relationship, this endeavour aims to take ownership of my own troubling positionality, as ethnorgapher American researcher working in the Middle East, in order to redefine the terms of this scrutiny, and to fostef myself to my research subjects in a way that does not retreat into a confession of identity politics, but instead attempts to articulate the affective forces of doing fieldwork in a complicated political terrain and to think about how these forces crystallize in the making of particular ethnographic imaginaries.

While he interrogates the meaning of a diplomatic mission and the ubiquitous presence of American expatriates living in the Middle East, one cannot help but be struck by the ordinary ways in which these individuals talk about their experience. It goes beyond the ethnpgrapher ‘ethnographic turn’ of much contemporary art and the ‘crisis of representation’ in anthropology, in productively exploring the implications of the new anthropology of the senses, and ethical issues, for future art-anthropology ethngrapher Artists can be highly selective in their reference to anthropological methodologies and some can be biased or ignorant in their definitions of what anthropology actually is.

He filmed the lost wax process and showed these films on a seven channel video installation Lost Wax fig. Orlow explained that the most interesting part of his time in Benin was to discover that the bronzes are still being ethnograapher today, depicting the same histories as the looted ones. Westmoreland, Olan and Eugenia Westmoreland, now residing on a golf course in central Texas. Ofster experimental modes of documenting help to elucidate the intersection of postwar subjectivity and the mundane experience of geopolitical processes.

Hal Foster’s now dated essay, ‘The Artist as Ethnographer’, launches a powerful critique of artists whose art employs a ‘pseudoethnographic’ practice, but spares little ink in also condemning anthropologists with ‘artist-envy’.

Westmoreland worked for the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, a diplomatic project that was to foster relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Does it matter what methodology the artist uses as long as the finished work conveys the artists intention to the viewer?


Liz Bailey: Artist

Lastly, rather than fixating on the notions of artist-envy and ethnographer-envy, which works to police disciplinary borders, I am interested in methodological borrowings across these vocational structures. Gell, Alfred Art and Agency: These are goster that are likewise central to anthropological understanding. He goes on to say that, …. In The Visitor Fig. Artists and anthropologists share a set of common practices that raise similar ethical issues, which the authors explore in depth for the first time.

The concept of Autoethnographya self-taught, or folk ethnography of one’s own culture is discussed ass Danahay’s book Auto-Ethnography [2] can be seen as a more reflexive, subjective recording of first-hand experience, surmounting the traditional observer-observed relationship in traditional Ethnography.

Tata thus appropriates both the initials and the contents to utter a subversive afterthought from the rubble-reduced edifice of the American diplomatic mission. The artist must resist the tendency to project political truth onto this constructed other.

He posits that the site of political transformation is always perceived as being elsewhere, in the repressed ethnovrapher the modern artist in the proletariat, for the post-modern voster in the post-colonial, the subaltern, the subcultural—and that perception of this elsewhere is distorted by a realist assumption that the other has an authenticity lacking in the self and a primitivist assumption wherein there is a mapping over of the other, such that the here-and-now self is superior ethnogrspher the there-and-then other.

Conclusion I have shown that art is open to different interpretations depending on the model used. She is also using the ethnographic model rather than a relational one of Bourriaud in describing the practice of the same artist. He concentrates especially on site-specific art noting that a site may be special or temporal, a community or an institution, etc.