Alison Young – Visual documentation in hybrid spaces

Published on Dec 14, 2016

Visual documentation in hybrid spaces: ethics, publics, and transition
Alison Young

This presentation focuses upon research in two ‘hybrid spaces’, the museum and the street. Urban places are conventionally understood by means of a distinction between ‘public’ and ‘private’ spaces. Such a distinction has never been taken for granted by critical geographers, ethnographers, lawyers or cultural theorists, who have complicated the public/ private spatial divide by means of categories such as ‘privately owned public spaces’ or ‘privatised public spaces’. To speak of hybrid spaces takes up these complicated categories and extends them by considering places where the relations between public and private are unclear or shifting. Hybrid spaces usually present themselves as public or private, but combine aspects of both, either in their legal or commercial arrangements or through the mode of interactions and conduct permitted in their locations. In this paper, I will draw upon my research on the street as a hybrid space, and upon research done by me in conjunction with Dr Lachlan MacDowall, in studying modes of design and governance within the space of the museum. In each of these hybrid spaces, digital-visual technologies have been a crucial aspect of our research, prompting consideration of issues around the archiving of transient encounters, selectivity in the analytical process, the truth-values and claims of visual records, and our relation to the image.

We investigate how people experience the digital in everyday life, By researching from the ground up we bring fresh insight to a constantly changing world. The Digital Ethnography Research Centre DERC focuses on understanding a contemporary world where digital and mobile technologies are increasingly inextricable from the environments and relationships in which everyday life plays out. DERC excels in both academic scholarship and in our applied work with external partners from industry and other sectors.
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