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Workshop: DIY Internet Celebrity and Ethnographic Walk
PhD workshop with Crystal Abidin
Tuesday Jan 28th 10am–2pm
To date, internet celebrity has been theorized as labour (Abidin, 2016a; Duffy, 2016; Wissinger, 2015); identified in branding (Booth & Matic, 2011), linguistic practice (Page, 2012), academia (McMillan Cottom, 2015), and activism (Tufeci, 2013); and studied among mainstream media celebrities and social software developers (Marwick, 2013). Shifting away from Anglo-centric, English-speaking, global North-platforms, some research is emerging from national scapes with distinctive internet governance and platform politics, like China (Meng, 2014) and Indonesia (Rahmawan, 2013). In this workshop, we will be introduced to some of the different forms of internet celebrity cultures around the world. You are required to actively engage in our class discussion, and identify and take notes on the celebrity strategies mentioned. Following this, we will break into groups to construct your very own DIY Internet Celebrity, with the opportunity to develop a backstory using some of the strategies covered in class, for a short presentation at the end of the workshop.
This workshop will lead into a second event after lunch: An exploratory ethnographic walk. To illustrate the value of sensing your environment by using your body as an interface to feel and understand the world, in this workshop we will go through some ethnographic-snippets of visual resources and narrative accounts to discuss the networked self, and talk about how to develop empathy towards your sensorial environment. To illustrate the importance of socio-cultural context, power dynamics, and personal politics in one’s emplacement and embedment in a local environment, we will review select videos to explain the relationship between body, demographic, place, and space. Following this, you will break into groups and station yourselves in one spot on campus, to observe your surroundings and take notes on the groups of people and types of activity unfolding at the location. Using only visual analysis, identify the communities that exist in that spot on campus. Are these networks visible or invisible to you as an outsider? What forms of tacit knowledge do you require in order to make these assessments? You will take notes to assist you in your group discussions and a short presentation at the end of the workshop.