Things are stirring at the once little-trafficked intersection of art and anthropology. On the one hand, the ethnographic turn in contemporary art, exemplified by world-class Biennale exhibitions handed to indigenous curators, has brought anthropological knowledge into the whitewashed spaces of the art world. On the other hand, experimental urges in ethnographic knowledge-production are pulling academic output away from established formats such as scholarly writing and ethnographic documentary, towards practices variably defined as relational aesthetics, sensory ethnography and transmedia arts. This is not an entirely new convergence – art has consistently been a central concern of anthropology, and anthropological knowledge has consistently been in the backdrop of art production – but the most recent rapprochement of these two domains of practice has been articulated with an explicit emphasis on collaborative production and experimental sensibilities across both established and innovative media formats.
Sensefield, in Chinese 感野 gǎnyě, literally ‘field of senses’, is a pioneering exhibition designed to bring experimental ethnographic art to Taiwan. In spite of the country’s long tradition of anthropological practice and its bustling contemporary art scenes, the recent articulations of these two domains haven’t yet been coherently showcased, with the result that the generative possibilities of ethnographic experimentation remain largely opaque to both artists and anthropologists. Organized in collaboration with the 2017 edition of the Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF) and supported by both the National Culture and Arts Foundation (NCAF) and the Taiwan Association of Visual Ethnography (TAVE), Sensefield 感野 brings together five artworks by internationally recognized artists and anthropologists from the USA, UK, France, Australia, Italy and Taiwan, all of whom are experimenting with new configurations of ethnographic knowledge and sensory mediation. By combining the classic ethnographic idea of uncultivated field (野) with the experiential idea of sense (感), sensefield 感野 offers a field of sensory stimulation through which audiences can engage, interact and resonate with five audiovisual installations showcasing the current, exciting exchanges happening at the intersection of anthropology and art.
Director: P. Kerim Friedman
Curator: Gabriele de Seta
Location: Rooms 153 & 155, Bopiliao Historical Block (Guangzhou Street), Wanhua District, Taipei
Opening time: October 6th-15th, 10:00 – 18:00
For more information, visit sensefield.org