Art Term

Experimental ethnography

Experimental ethnography is an approach to studying and interpreting the cultures of everyday life that uses the techniques of experimental filmmaking, like montage, found footage and surrealism, to create new ways of seeing the world around us

Chantal Akerman D’Est 1993/1995 Five-channel video piece

Chantal Akerman D’Est 1993/1995 Five-channel video piece

As opposed to traditional ethnographic film, which tended to divide the world into those ‘out there’ being watched by those ‘in here’, experimental ethnography searches for new ways of representation that reflect the complexities of the multicultural world in which we live.

An example of this is Chantal Akerman’s feature-film D’Est, 1995 which featured a continuous montage of images and sounds of everyday life in Germany, Poland and Russia privileging the personal over the national or the political, in reflecting a post-communist world.