Generational filming: video diary as experimental and participatory research
(University of Arts Helsinki)
Lea Kantonen (University of the Arts Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
We have used our home as a laboratory to develop a participatory method of video filming called Generational Filming. It is based on repeated viewing, commenting and reflecting on what has been filmed. Besides home videos we have applied the method in ethnographic research too.
Paper long abstract:
Since March 1990 we have documented our everyday-life on a daily basis. Later the diary was widened to include the interaction between our family and other people and cultures. The footage is now about 2000 hours of video. In order to analyse this overwhelmingly extensive data, we have developed a method called Generational Filming. It is a method of watching and commenting on (our home) videos with a variety of specialists and people of different age groups, and other viewers of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We have arranged more then fifty screenings in order to analyse the data in a collaborative way. These discussions are filmed, and then added to the next edition as a new generation of the video to be shown to other audiences. In this way, viewers help us to interpret and theorise our footage. Some of the case studies have layers of up to six or seven generations.
The shared anthropology of Jean Rouch has been great inspiration in developing the method. Generational Filming takes the reflexive methodology to a point of exhaustion or saturation. The chain of watching and commenting changes the meaning of the first shot, that is, the 'first generation' of the chain. The focus of the screening event gradually changes from the screen to the experiences of the audience members. While listening to the interpretations made by previous viewers the following viewers begins to make comparisons between different cultural positions ,and self-reflexivity starts governing the experience of watching. The title is borrowed from Pekka´s upcoming doctoral thesis.
Participatory visual and digital research in anthropology: engagement and innovation