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Ethnography of the New 19.1.2005
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Ethnography of the New 19.1.2005


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  • 1. Ethnography of the New
    • 19.1.2005
    • Goetz Bachmann
    • Goldsmiths College, Centre for Cultural Studies
    • [email_address]
  • 2. Content
    • 1. The Broadband Project
    • 2. Ethnography and the New
    • 3. Researching the New
    • 4. Some Results
  • 3. 1. The broadband project
  • 4. Basics of the project
    • Topic: Non-linear media in a cross-platform environment
    • Technologies: IPTV and 2nd generation broadband
    • Approach: Produce a pilot. Research production and usage.
    • Coalition: Video Networks (HomeChoice), Hildebrand, Archangel and Goldsmiths
    • Started 8/03. Will last till 1/05
  • 5. HomeChoice: Technology
    • ADSL-based TV -> full and immediate backchannel
    • Server-based -> one to one network
    • Simple set-top boxes -> TV and VoD is streamed, not downloaded
    • Connections of 4-6 MB/s –> TV-quality
    • Own Exchanges -> limited availability
  • 6. HomeChoice: Current offer
    • On the computer:
    • Broadband internet with up to 2MB/s (guaranteed)
    • On the TV-set:
    • Digital TV-channels, VoD (e.g. Hollywood and film archive) and some TV/VoD hybrids
  • 7. User research
    • “ Laboratory” of everyday life
    • One year, 21 households, 68 members
    • All: IPTV, 1 MB internet
    • Some: Selected other technologies (e.g. 3G mobiles)
    • Ethnographic, wide mix of methods
    • Extensive and intensive phases
    • Interconnected household
  • 8. Production
    • Producing and broadcasting of a cross-platform interactive object
    • Archangel: Concept, filming, editing
    • Hildebrand: Brand, design and website
    • Video Networks: Coding, EPG and broadcast
    • Goldsmiths: Research, consult and project management
  • 9. Production: Goldsmiths role
    • GS provides data on users (consult), based on user research
    • GS researches interaction in the project network, gives feedback on this (consult) and researches reactions to feedback
    • GS researches the reception, gives feedback on this to the producers (consult) and researches their reactions
    • Project management
  • 10. 2. Ethnography and the New
  • 11. What is Ethnography? Meet people 
    • Observe and participate and experience and ask ( and reflect)
    • Understand
  • 12. What is Media Ethnography?
    • ‘ Proper ethnography’
    • Accumulated ethnographic miniatures
    • Virtual ethnography
  • 13. Why is the new a problem in ethnography?
    • Most ethnographies are about everyday life -> the field/object must have existed for some time
    • The classical ethnographic holism tended to stabilize (this is nowadays much less so)
    • Ethnographies of practice tell stories in the aftermath -> danger of over-theorizing practice
  • 14. Why is the new a problem in media ethnography?
    • Ethnographies contextualize -> they produce an inherently conservative attitude?
    • Most media ethnographies are about audience/users
    • Ethnographies that research media products by researching the producers are often about the conditions that constrain the product
  • 15. The new and the future
    • New phenomena
    • The emergence of new structures (a future that is ‘present in the present’)
    • The actual virtual
    • The ongoing process of change
    • The indeterminate becoming of the present
  • 16. 3. Researching the new
  • 17. Research right form the start
    • A topic close to the “cutting edge”
    • An (auto-)ethnography of how the cutting edge is constructed
    • Research production/R&D and usage
    • Ethnography on forming the coalition (project networks with a history)
  • 18. “ Real participation” in the production
    • Share a responsibility for the product
    • Participate in the virtual of the creative process
    • Use hindsight to identify decisive moments of the process and alternative routes
    • Compare this with how the situation looked at the time (the virtual of the creative process)
  • 19. “ Experimental” elements in the audience ethnography
    • A before-after scenario via new products/technologies (one year)
    • Stimulate change in everyday practices: stimulate realistic dreaming, nurture innovative ideas
    • Concentrate on innovative practices
    • Spread innovative practices
  • 20. 4. Some results
  • 21. The product: Iwant2 be comedy
    • A Reality TV show, seven episodes over 7 weeks
    • Competing sketch comics (beginners, 2x2 candidates) are being mentored
    • Interactive? Voting for topics and candidates, order tickets on IPTV and online
    • Multi-path? Full versions of interviews, sketches etc.
    • Cross-platform? A website, a live-audience
  • 22. The engineering of enthusiasm
    • Formation of a project network: Hype
    • Interaction in the project-network: (Shared?) visions
    • The production of the material: producing the Reality of Reality TV
    • Inscribed enthusiasm in the digital object: Cross-platform users
    • Audience and broadcaster feedback: Denied and reconstructed enthusiasm
  • 23. On-demand Media-time
    • Self-scheduled media rituals
    • Co-viewing: Less but more intense?
    • The series: Condensed but more intense?
    • International times: From tuning into the national audience to tuning into the New.
    • Aliveness instead of Liveness?
    • Temporal instead of synchronized communities?
  • 24. Practical experiences and ideas
    • Do’s and Don’t’s for the EPG in a multipath formats on IPTV
    • “ Live” production for IPTV and cross-platform
    • Cooperation in the production of cross-platform content for IPTV: From clearly defined roles to overlapping roles
    • Possibilities of closed and open multi-path narratives
    • Possibilities for VoD/TV hybrids (like non-linear channels)
  • 25. The new and the future
    • New phenomena
    • The emergence of new structures (a future that is ‘present in the present’)
    • The actual virtual
    • The ongoing process of change
    • The indeterminate becoming of the present