The artist in the field: investigating tourist performativity and ethnographic methodology through art practice

Simpson, S.A., 2008. The artist in the field: investigating tourist performativity and ethnographic methodology through art practice. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.


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This research centres on an artistic exploration of ethnographic methodologies whilst investigating tourist performativity and the presentation of self within tourist documentation. Central to this presentation is the performance of the documented smile. The materiality of this research comes from documentary evidence (video, sound, photography, interviews, fieldnotes and diaries) recorded during a fieldtrip around popular tourist destinations in Europe. Data gathering methods, such as participant observation, reflexive writing and informal interviews with tourists, were employed not just to capture the tourist experience of others, but also to explore the multiplicity and variability of the researcher self within the field. The representation of the researcher within the research findings has become one of the issues that this project has sought to address. Two practical outputs, a primary case study entitled Smile: Formaggio con Queso (a randomly configuring computer networked installation) and a secondary case study (an interactive kiosk), interface a database constructed from the field data. Both case studies support research into how ethnographic methods might be used to inform the production processes of an art project, and, additionally, how digital art practice might contribute to the presentation of post-paradigm ethnography. The practical issues of data collecting and the implications of using the self as part of the data source are highlighted. This will be of interest to artists working in field environments where the self and 'other' is synonymous. Furthermore, the primary case study challenges conventional representational ethnographic modes in order to facilitate new kinds of qualitative and ethnographic insights. A reflexive autoethnographic approach to writing the thesis has been utilised to validate my personal narrative as a line of inquiry.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Simpson, S.A.
Date: 2008
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author, and may also be owned by the research sponsor(s) and/or Nottingham Trent University. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, of if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the first instance to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 09:35
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2015 09:35

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