Follow us @PartObs for project updates, conversation about anthropology, and #AMmuseum!
And thought is the common factor of all mankind. There is no Eastern thought, or Western thought, there is only the capacity to think, whether one is utterly poor or greatly sophisticated living in an affluent society, whether he is a surgeon, a carpenter, a labourer in the field, or a great poet, thought is the common factor of all of us. We don’t seem to realize that. Thought is the common factor that binds us all. You may think differently, according to your capacity, to your energy, to your experience and knowledge; another thinks according to his experience, to his knowledge, to his conditioning. So we are all caught in this network of thought. This is a fact, indisputable and actual.
It’s been a while, but we’re back with a mini digital ethnographic & art project called the Morning Museum.
Partially inspired by the Mass Observation Project, and the way so many of us live out so much of our lives online and digitally document our days, the Morning Museum project is a mass art and ethnographic project about mornings and how they’re lived out by different people all over the world.
This project is open to everyone and anyone, and you can participate by submitting photographs, videos, audio, artwork, blog entries, tweets, or any other kind of digital media, about your mornings (or the mornings of people around you).
Tell us: what you do in the mornings? What do mornings mean to you? Have you got any morning rituals? Email us or upload your entries on your blog/ Tumblr/ website, and tag it with “morning museum”, or tweet about it with the hashtag #AMmuseum.
Looking forward to your entries! :)
Jeremy Sabloff, speaking to anthropologists about popularizing and promoting anthropology. (via casipajaros)
I think there is a space in the world for non- academic anthropological exploration.
Anthropology doesn’t have to be a full- time job. It doesn’t even have to be a job at all, and it most definitely doesn’t have to be a job only a qualified academic can hold. Just as art and oral history can be experienced and practised by the members of the Art House Co-op and StoryCorps respectively, anthropology too, is an experience. Participant observation provides the lens through which one can perceive and understand the world, and (to borrow the words of Margaret Mead) “to wonder that which one would not have been able to guess”. And everyone who wants that opportunity to do so should be able to do that without having to worry about getting into university, or keeping their job.
For the members of The Art House Co-op, they don’t have to be professional artists, or trained in art, or have had prior experience. They don’t even have to be artists at all; complete noobs have the same opportunities to pursue that particular experience of creating, participating, being part of a bigger community that also creates art, and having an equal opportunity to have their work exhibited. If something greater comes out of it, like the discovery of a previously- hidden talent, or a new project is birthed because like- minded individuals have found collaborators in each other, great! If not, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the art was made, the creation process experienced, the satisfaction felt.
Members of The Participant Observatory can have any extent of previous exposure to or understanding of anthropology, participant observation, or ethnography. It doesn’t matter. You’re welcome.
In the long run, I don’t see The Participant Observatory as a monolithic entity, but a part of an organic change in the way people think and value the world. More questions, more insight, more reflection. Less preconceived notions, less generalisations, less assumptions.
Perhaps some day we might even reach a world where contextless statistics and recycled “facts” are no longer passed off as “knowledge”; where qualitative, lived experiences are valued more than the content of our textbooks.
Ah, education. I’ll get to that in a bit.
if you want to study but don’t know what, you should study (social) anthropology.
That has honestly been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entire life.
I guess my fascination with the subject has come from egocentric reasons. Being mixed ‘race’ (if I can use that term) I was quite confused about my identity growing up. Being half Filipino and half British I was always on the periphery of both cultures, never really belonging to either. In England I was far too ‘exotic’ to mix in effortlessly with other children and too ‘British’ in the Philippines. I am sure many people feel like this in an age where borders, identities and cultures are at a much higher rate of integration and confrontation. It was Anthropology that helped me to understand these inward preoccupations; a type of intellectual therapy in a way.
Viewing concepts as ‘race’, ‘identity’ and ‘belonging’ as cultural constructs it helped me to come to terms with some of the prejudices I grew up with. I do find it a shame that Anthropology as been pushed aside to the intellectual playground by the bigger and bolder intellectual disciplines (forgive the metaphor). I think that Anthropology’s aims and concepts are central to all personal and interpersonal ideas of life. Look above at that photo; yes it’s quirky, weird, strange and I guess that is what many people view Anthropology as, the strange cousin of Sociology. However, Anthropology is much more than the eccentricities of each culture. It encompasses human difference and similarity that everyone should benefit from.
Nuns enjoying some food at a house blessing in Manila, Philippines.
Have you ever heard of The The Art House Co-op? It’s brilliant. On their About Page, it states that the whole thing started with the goal of bringing art to the masses. They create projects and communities, and anyone is welcome to participate. There are free projects that participants can sign up to online, and there are also projects where participants need to pay a small fee to be part of, and the fee goes towards the running of the project (e.g., exhibition costs, operation costs, shipping costs, etc). They host exhibitions for their projects, and all this fresh, new art that would otherwise have never even come into existence or been exposed to the public eye comes into being, and gives all the participants the chance to create something, present it, and feel like they’ve been part of something (which they have).
Like I said, it’s brilliant.
“StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve their stories. Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.
The heart of StoryCorps is the conversation between two people who are important to each other: a son asking his mother about her childhood, an immigrant telling his friend about coming to America, or a couple reminiscing on their 50th wedding anniversary. By helping people to connect, and to talk about the questions that matter, the StoryCorps experience is powerful and sometimes even life- changing.
Their goal is to make that experience accessible to all, and find new ways to inspire people to record and preserve the stories of someone important to them. Just as powerful is the experience of listening. Whenever people listen to these stories, they hear the courage, humour, trials, and triumphs of an incredible range of voices.”