Calina Vd Velden

Week 2 Designing Research – Reading Response                                    15-09-2016

This weeks literature made me think about a news item on the responsibility of a newspaper when placing pictures. In this instance the ‘Volkskrant’ posted a picture on their front page of Mohammed Rashid in connection to an article that dealt with the questionable safety of Schiphol airport. Rashid was photographed without permission. But more importantly; he was accused of being a jihadist due to this photograph. The photographer and newspaper claim that the only usable pictures where with him on it. They did not feel like they had to distort reality or retort from showing a part of it.[1] The photographer had spend a day on Schiphol airport for the newspaper. He was ordered to take a picture that showed the heightened safety-measures. Due to the decisions by the newspaper and photographer, Rashid was placed in a bad light (with all due consequences), the association with Islamic terrorism was obvious. He went to court and sued the ‘Volkskrant’. The judge agreed and told the paper that they should “take into account the possible associations of their readers.”[2]

The judge’s ruling is striking. This verdict links to the chapter “Introduction to Critical Ethnography” by D. Soyini Madison in Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance. Here Madison writes about the power of representation and the care one should take in representing the Other, since it influences how the Other is treated.[3] This can clearly be seen from my example, since Rachid his family in Irak was threatened due to his presumed link to the Jihad.[4] The ruling of the judge was in accordance with the ethical responsibility that is recognized by critical ethnography.[5] According to the ‘Volkskrant’ they where ordered to change reality. However the fact that Rachid was there, does not make him the threat. The only aspect of the picture that was related directly to the safety issues was the man from the marechausse. Hence the paper was not asked to divert from reality, Rachid was no direct inherent part of the story they wanted to tell.  

Bibliography
Takken, Wilfred. “Volkskrant moet schadevergoeding betalen aan man op foto Schiphol.” NRC, September 14th , 2016. https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/09/14/volkskrant-moet-schadevergoeding-betalen-aan-man-op-foto-schiphol-a1521386.

Madison, D. Soyini “Introduction to Critical Ethnography.” In Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance.

DWDD. Viewed September 13th, 2016. https://dewerelddraaitdoor.vara.nl/gasten/mohammed-rashid.

 

Week 3 Designing Research – Reading Response                                   20-09-2016
The readings of this week are on the one hand on how authorities can “facilitate safer and more productive cities with more art,[through] collective art-making [which] enlists citizens as coproducers.”[6] On the other hand there’s a text on ethnographic method.[7] The first text begs questions on the authorities enforcing art top-down. A compelling argument has been made for the major of Bogotá, Antanas Mockus who used art interventions to recreate a city that has had a long history of trouble and disobedience towards law enforcement. He used art projects in order to have the citizens reconnect to their city and adjust their behavior.

A similar case can be found in the Design Museum Dharavi, which is a project that wants to change the outlook on an area of Mumbai called Dharavi through design. “The main mission […] is to employ design as a tool to promote social change and innovation, and to challenge the negative perception of informal settlements around the world.”[8] The project is founded by Amanda Pinatih and Jorge Mañes Rubio, who are currently working in the Netherlands and receive funding from ‘Creative Industries fund NL’ and ‘The art of Impact’. Their strategy is comparable to the ‘top-down’ work of Mockus. They have thought of the disciplines they wanted to use and took them to Dharavi to create art with the locals in order to free the area of the stigma ‘slum’.[9]

This is where the second text on ethnographic method comes into play. Within ethnographic research it is among other aspects important to position yourself and be aware of power-relations.[10] What I find interesting in these cases is the fact that the instigators have a different (higher) status than the people they work with. Moreover, Pinathih and Rubio are not from Dharavi, Mumbai or India. In fact they aspire to develop this project into a structure that can be used in different communities that struggle with prejudice.[11] We have seen in the text by Doris Sommer that implementing a formula that works in one place does not necessarily work in the next. Besides Mockus recognizes that using these art interventions means taking a great risk with no certain outcome.[12] Hence the work by Pinathih and Rubio begs questions on their positioning and the influence this has on their project. It would be interesting to follow this recently started project in order to see what the implications will be.

 

Bibliography:
Madison, D. Soyini. ‘Methods, “Do I Really Need a Method?”A Method . . . or Deep Hanging Out?” In Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance,19-50.

Sommer, Doris. Chapter One ‘From the Top, Government Sponsored Creativity.’ In The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities, 15-48.

Design Museum Dharavi. ‘About.’ Viewed September 20th, 2016. http://designmuseumdharavi.org/

Design_Museum_Dharavi/About.html.

The Art of Impact. ‘Inzichten en Ervaringen.’ Viewed September 20th, 2016. http://theartofimpact.nl/

projecten/dharavi-design-museum/.

[1]   DWDD, viewed September 13th , 2016, https://dewerelddraaitdoor.vara.nl/gasten/mohammed-rashid.

[2]   Wilfred Takken, “Volkskrant moet schadevergoeding betalen aan man op foto Schiphol,” NRC, 14 September, 2016, https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2016/09/14/volkskrant-moet-schadevergoeding-betalen-aan-man-op-foto-schiphol-a1521386.

[3]   Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance, by D. Soyini Madison,“Introduction to Critical Ethnography” 4.

[4]   Takken, “Volkskrant moet schadevergoeding betalen.”

[5]   Madison, “Introduction,” 5.

[6]   Doris Sommer, Prologue and Chapter One ‘From the Top, Government Sponsored Creativity,’ in The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities, 48.

[7]   D. Soyini Madison, ‘Methods, “do I really Need a Method?” a Method . . . or Deep Haning Out?’ in Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance,19-50.

[8]   Design Museum Dharavi, ‘About’ viewed September 20th, 2016, http://designmuseumdharavi.org/

Design_Museum_Dharavi/About.html.

[9]   The Art of Impact, ‘Inzichten en Ervaringen,’ viewed September 20th, 2016, http://theartofimpact.nl/projecten/

dharavi-design-museum/.

[10] D. Soyini Madison, ‘Methods, “do I really Need a Method?” a Method . . . or Deep Haning Out?’ in Critical Ethnography: Method, Ethics, and Performance, 21-22, 40.

[11] The Art of Impact, ‘Inzichten en Ervaringen,’ viewed September 20th, 2016, http://theartofimpact.nl/projecten/

dharavi-design-museum/.

[12] Doris Sommer, Prologue and Chapter One ‘From the Top, Government Sponsored Creativity,’ in The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities, 48.

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