Ethnography – Animation – Art. A Methodological Defense

The purpose of this text is to answer the question: how to introduce elements of art to rural areas, without establishing at the same time relations of superiority and domination. To this, the author reconstructs the project Prologue. Unrecognized dimensions of cultural development from 2011, and then its extension, Ethnography / Animation / Art, from 2012. Both projects were led by a team of animators, artists and ethnographers in the villages in the vicinity of Szydlowiec, in areas of unprofitable, small-scale agriculture, affected by local, endless unemployment.

Ethnographic research gradually enrich and ground animation, while animation brings about quasi-experimental research situations, in which ethnographic reality becomes „thick” and dynamic. The author shows how ethnography combined with animation reveals what is the most important in the life of the community – an implicit dimension of creative work, bottom-up, spontaneous self-organization. It is in this way that a new methodological perspective on action comes about. Its aim is not so much to induce „mechanical” social change as to construct common, creative event with unpredictable and emergent effects.

Released: Replika 110, 63–81.