Across Artistic and Ethnographic Practices: The Study of a Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue

By Harika Esra Oskay.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies

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The shifting axis of art from a “medium specific practice” towards a “discourse specific” one marks the expansion of the field of art towards culture (Foster 1996, 199) and consequently the emerging dialogues with disciplines that study culture. In 1996, art critic Hal Foster defined the shifting position of the art within the expanded field of art as “ethnographic turn”, which primarily manifested itself in the peculiar appropriations of ethnographic methods and tropes by artists. Meanwhile, the practitioners of ethnography seem to be willing to open their disciplinary boundaries to the undisciplined means artistic practices deal with cultural issues (see Marcus 1995, 2008; Schneider and Wright, 2006, 2010). In this paper I explore the dialogue between these distinctive practices of inquiry by teasing out the parallel trajectories as well as the incommensurable differences that stand as resistance points between the practices of art and ethnography, in order to investigate the possibility of a new kind of inquiry that could emerge at this juncture.

Keywords: Artist/ethnographer, Transdisciplinarity, Ethnographic Turn

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies, Volume 8, Issue 2, October 2014, pp.47-53. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 325.498KB).

Harika Esra Oskay

Ph.D Candidate, Drawing and Painting Department, Edinburgh College of Art, Edinburgh, UK

Harika Esra Oskay is a practicing artist and researcher. Her fields of interest include ethnographic turn in contemporary art, auto-ethnography, orientalism, and artist books.