a game

This is maybe a side project — a paper-based game that is loosely based on interviews done with San Francisco residents about space and neighborhood.

Invisible Bike Race Game
Sample Communique Cards

I am not sure… what it is, exactly, in terms of visual research?   If anything.

It’s derived from research but it’s not an academic report obviously.  It has a made-up narrative that I think relates to mental maps, but is also kind of silly.  It’s not an especially visual thing in itself, but hopefully can be used by other people to create their own visual narratives and explore how they think about San Francisco.

Sound at Club Silencio

I meant to post this clip from Mulholland Drive last week when we were talking about sound:


The Wingstedt reading mentioned the use of audio to heighten immersion and modality, which reminded me of it, since the audience/viewer at ‘Club Silencio’ is constantly reminded that the music is an illusion, but becomes immersed in it anyway.  When the illusion that a woman is singing ‘Llorando’ live is abruptly withdrawn, we’re surprised and disoriented.  Heightens modality, maybe, and reduces immersion — or maybe just aims for a different kind of immersion?

Mental Maps of SF

My final project relates to my master’s project on Visualizing Mental Maps of SF.

I would like to use video, audio, and photos to document the interviews we are conducting and to convey people’s stories about how they experience space and neighborhood in SF.

Some of my concerns are similar to Kimra’s, I think.  Especially I tend to freak out a little bit about informed consent and how to represent people in a way that they can be comfortable with.  I can’t guarantee confidentiality when using images or audio, which is a new way of working for me.

I am expecting to get access to a video/camera this week, but right now I still just have my phone, so have been doing the first interviews without video capture.

But a few days ago I interviewed someone who was so amazing to watch as she drew a map of her neighborhood that I decided to try videorecording her second drawing with my phone, which she agreed to.

I ended up holding my phone awkwardly in the air as she was drawing,  while still trying to maintain eye contact and “mm hmm”-ing, so she would hopefully keep talking and not feel like a bug under a microscope.

The recording is awful, but the content is awesome (to me, anyway?).    Not sure what to do with it.

And I imagine I will have some more awful videos in the future, since… well, I don’t really know what I’m doing.  How to use the new camera, and how to engage with an interviewee while recording video non-intrusively are some of the practical issues I need to work on.

C Me In, C Me Out

I was going to bring part of this video as an example to the last class — it’s split into two parts on youtube.

part 1: http://bit.ly/hEkrta
part 2: http://bit.ly/iczaKS

It was created by Cambodian youth living in East Oakland, through the Streetside Productions project at EBAYC. Some of the young people who were interviewed for a study I worked on were referred through EBAYC, and the narrative in the video resonates with some of their stories.

What I like about this video how it switches between people from different generations, weaving many different kinds of context into the story it’s telling.

And I also like the fact people within the community controlled the making of this film, and sort of got credit for their stories. Of course the film makers have control over how the film’s subjects are depicted, but being part of the community depicted could make the issues around that control a bit less thorny than they are when an outsider with more power is in control. If there is any sensationalizing going on, it’s self-sensationalizing, which seems… different, anyway, from the sensationalism that outsiders telling this story might profit from.

Anyway, I like it.

And I was thinking that it could also be an example of something that might be read differently by an ethnographer than by a non-ethnographer.

A researcher interested in young people from this community might collect Streetside’s videos out of an interest in the stories, but also to scour them for “evidence”, for example maybe instructing interviewers and transcribers to pay special attention to linguistic features in the video that might be unfamiliar to them. Or researchers might be looking for clues for good places to do observation, like San Antonio Park, which is mentioned in the film.

Just btw, the mentions of Duchamp and Van Gogh in the Practices of Looking reading reminded me of this thing, which some people might like: