Is art ethnographic? Art and visual representation cut across the disciplines but is especially suited for sociological and anthropological inquiry. Art tells us a story about our practices and beliefs and we find ourselves in what we and others create. It also reflects us back to ourselves, sometimes we like it but if it’s really good, we feel it and in that brief, aesthetic moment in time we change.
I saw this video by Steve Cutts yesterday, shared by a friend on facebook the day after the mid-term elections in the U.S. (a whole other area of ethnographic inquiry, yes?). I’m one of those cynical types who suggests that we are culturally going to hell in a hand-basket, a society that truly won’t do a thing about its impact until real crisis hits (running out of food, oil, etc…no need to bore you with what you probably already know). But until that day, all we social scientists (the Debbie Downers of the academic set) can do is warn the others and hope that art like this video opens eyes, even if it’s only a single pair.
“Man” by Steve Cutts: