Accepted paper:

Playing video-camera as a musical instrument: audio-visual tools and collaborative ethnography in music


Dario Ranocchiari (Universidad de Granada)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I’ll address the idea of collaborative intimacies in ethnographic research by describing my own experience as ethnographer/film-maker working on music and dance topics, and analysing ethical and methodological implications of audio-visual tools in a collaborative ethnographic process.

Paper long abstract:

I've been researching on music and ethnicity for the past ten years, even if I've not been specifically trained in ethnomusicology nor I am a musician. The dilemma of the ethnographer (how to be part of the social reality we are researching in and at the same time to research in it?), in my case, has been amplified by the difficulty to find some kind of reciprocity with the subjects/musicians of my researches: I can't play music, and usually they are not interested in the academic outcomes of my work. During a research about popular music in a Caribbean island, I decided to shift the theoretical and methodological structure from a discourse-centred ethnography to a performance-centred one. The decision to use a video-camera not only as one of the "normal" research tools to produce ethnographic data, but as the central mediator between me and the field, constituted a turning point in my relationship with the subjects involved in the research. I began to collaborate with them producing "outcomes" they were really interested in: musical videos. To produce and experience musical videos is a central part of the musical practices in the scenes I used to attend (mostly related with reggaetón and dancehall). For that reason, I suddenly began able "to play music" with them with a specific instrument (video-camera). In this paper I'll address the idea of collaborative intimacies in ethnographic research about music and dance by describing my own experience as ethnographer/film-maker and analysing its ethical and methodological implications.

panel P035
Collaborative intimacies in music and dance: anthropologies in/of sound and movement