Researching Sensory

For this weeks task we were given the assignment to make a visual representation of a smell. Our group chose the smell of money, specifically the smell of coins. When we first met to discussed  this takes we attempted to represent coins through the sound they made when you dropped them. But when we talked to our lecturer she suggested that this wouldn’t represent the smell successfully. So we went back and decided to take two photographs one of a two people exchanging money and then we took a second photo conducting the same transaction but with dirt replacing the coins. This was to represent the musty smell that coins have.

I edited this task together, the discussions we had, were looking at the idea that senses were connected to memory. We also talked about the social connotations of money, making the suggestion that money is simply numbers in a computer and it does  not have the same physical presence in real life.

 

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Researching the Sensory (Seminar)

  • Sensory Ethnography Seminar
  • We are participating in a bodily way. For example if we looked at what types of people do drag racing actually getting into a drag car will give us an understanding of what it feels like to do drag racing.
  • The concept of embodiment suggests that we need to intergrade our body and our mind.
  • Surveys are blunt tools, people don’t like doing them. People might lie. They don’t tell details. Good for quantity.
  • Sensory ethnographers are trying to find out what people really feel like. In order to do this they need to be with them so they can understand their environment. There is a level of bias with this. Where is the limit? (studying cocaine use, it would be harmful to take part in drug use)
  • What cultural representation does smells have?
  • Some smells remind us of different people. Some have a masculine connotation like oil. Some have a feminine connotation (mostly food).
  • Our visual experience is constantly being added to by our other senses.

Researching the Sensory (lecture notes)

  • Researching the sensory
  • What are our senses?
  • What do they do?
  • How do they link into sensory ethnography?
  • Aristotelian hierarchical order of the senses.
  • -sight
  • -hearing
  • -smell =Human senses
  • -Taste
  • -Touch =Animal
  • How many senses do we have?
  • Thermoception –Sense of temperature
  • Equalibrioception- balance
  • Proprioception- where our limbs are
  • introception
  • Temporal perception
  • Nociception
  • The western bias
  • Sight is seen as ‘the most formative’ and intellectual of the senses.
  • Senses in cultural context (classen, 1991)
  • -critique of visual reductionism
  • Is there a natural order of senses?
  • Is that order historically specific?
  • Do human beings naturally prefer some colours or taste or sounds to other?
  • Are all of our likes and dislikes conditioned by culture?
  • Habitus and Taste
  • Pierre Bourdieu says family background/ upbringing combines with education to produce a ‘habitus’.
  • The concept of habitus shows how early, learned dispositions become embodied. We literally see, taste and feel things in particular ways because of it.
  • Sensory Ethnography
  • Recognises the researcher as part of a ‘social. sensory environment’
  • Sensory research has considered how sensorial experiences interact with and influence…
  • -social interactions (simmel 1997, Howes 2003 :low 2005)
  • What do we mean by sensory experiences?
  • Bodily experience
  • Unplanned and ‘naturally’ occurring
  • Mental Experience
  • A conscience creation
  • ‘Mere’ Experiences
  • this is the stuff that generally happens
  • ‘an’ Experiences
  • And event with a start and an end
  • Concept of embodiment tries to remove this perceived divide between body and mind.
  • The body is more than a source of experience that is then rationalised and understood by the mind.
  • The body is more than a source of experience, it is a source of knowledge and agency.
  • Embodiment is a process
  • When we say experience are ‘embodied’ we mean that we both learn and discover things through our entire bodies.
  • We learn things bodily not just mentally.
  • Emplacement
  • Embodiment –integration of body and mind
  • Emplacement- Integration of body- mind environment
  • When conducting sensory ethnography we need to think about our own mind body experience.
  • So, sensory ethnography is based upon an understanding of the senses as interconnected and interrelated.
  • Ethnographic fieldwork takes place within a space and is a matter of embodiment.
  • -Multisensory embodied engagement with others.
  • (Pink 25-26)
  • Knowledge acquisition is a social, participatory and embodied practise.
  • e. learning how to do something is about watching people, being taught, trying thins out, practices ect.
  • Knowledge is gained through participation and so knowledge is not brought about from within.
  • Thus, to ‘know’ what others ‘know’ we must ‘do’ what they ‘do’