The purpose of this paper is to discuss problems concerning the observation and cinematographic description of technical practices. Which meaning should we attribute, today, to this topic within the present framework of ethno-anthropological disciplines? Starting from an experience of observation and video documentation of traditional weaving in Sardinia, I propose to define a visual approach based on the principles of cultural technology in some of its recent developments. Firstly, I intend to describe the skilful gaze of the Sardinian weaver (the subject of a video I co-directed), as the site of formation and origin of her expert gestures, of her planned intentions and of their implementation, using the notion of material production proposed by T. Ingold. I shall then try to define the skilful gaze of the ethnographic film-maker by applying the same explicative logic, qualifying it as a corporeal fact and as an action endowed with effects on matter (the recorded video tape). To this two-fold end, I shall try to make use of the considerations by A. Leroi-Gourhan on aesthetic behaviour during the process of hominization and those of J. P. Warnier on the concepts of motor conduct and embodiment of technical knowledge. In conclusion, I arrive at a definition of the ethnographic gaze as knowing-how-to-observe. Such knowledge is structured in analogy with the visual skill of pre-industrial technical processes, incorporating, and in some way “naturalizing”, the use of audiovisual means as selective instruments of perception, following a long apprenticeship.

Embodiment of the Gaze. Vision, Planning and Veawing between Filmic Ethnography and Cultural Technology

TIRAGALLO, FELICE
2007

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to discuss problems concerning the observation and cinematographic description of technical practices. Which meaning should we attribute, today, to this topic within the present framework of ethno-anthropological disciplines? Starting from an experience of observation and video documentation of traditional weaving in Sardinia, I propose to define a visual approach based on the principles of cultural technology in some of its recent developments. Firstly, I intend to describe the skilful gaze of the Sardinian weaver (the subject of a video I co-directed), as the site of formation and origin of her expert gestures, of her planned intentions and of their implementation, using the notion of material production proposed by T. Ingold. I shall then try to define the skilful gaze of the ethnographic film-maker by applying the same explicative logic, qualifying it as a corporeal fact and as an action endowed with effects on matter (the recorded video tape). To this two-fold end, I shall try to make use of the considerations by A. Leroi-Gourhan on aesthetic behaviour during the process of hominization and those of J. P. Warnier on the concepts of motor conduct and embodiment of technical knowledge. In conclusion, I arrive at a definition of the ethnographic gaze as knowing-how-to-observe. Such knowledge is structured in analogy with the visual skill of pre-industrial technical processes, incorporating, and in some way “naturalizing”, the use of audiovisual means as selective instruments of perception, following a long apprenticeship.
incorporazione, visione, processo tecnico; embodiment, vision, technical process
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/17002
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