I spent a total of fourteen months doing fieldwork in tissue culture facilities working at the intersection of biology, physics, art and anthropology. Immersive participant observation allowed me to focus on a set of practices, practices of movement which support an intimate human-cell relationship. It is the biotechnomedialogical apparatus and craft skills at play in labs which enable practitioners of cell culture to engage living materials with care and creativity. Described by Paxson (2013), craft is “located at the nexus of art and science”. Anchored in bodies and not disciplines, craft brings in question sensory knowledge and intuition as there is constant movement between what is practically apprehended and the protocol.
Craft is a useful point of entry to discuss anthropology as a discipline full of moving bodies. The idea of craft as moving beyond disciplinary concerns, brings me to the conceptualisation of anthropology itself as a crafting practice. A crafting multidisciplinary anthropology would bring theory and method together again by basing discussion in wonder and sensibility (Ingold, 2008, 2013). Engaging my research as an antidisciplinary (Ito, 2014) crafty experiment has led me to participate in the emergence of BioTown, a multidisciplinary non-profit which works towards the accessibility of biological knowledge and laboratory practices.
I am currently in the writing stage of this project to explore how relationships with (forms of) life (forms) in laboratory settings could be conceived as crafty, creative and affective coevolutions. I am also interested in how dialogues between disciplines but also between researchers and local community allow and/or hinder the development of ideas. The multidisciplinary framework of crafting allows me here to work through a critical reflection on anthropology as a practice.
Here are some presentations I gave as part of this 2-year research project!
- 2015-09, HAL, University of Ottawa: Des humains et des cellules
- 2016-03, HAL, University of Ottawa: C’est quoi une cellule? ou, Qu’est-ce que ça peut être?
- 2016-03, Western Anthropology Graduate Student Conference, University of Western Ontario: The voices of scientific knowledge production
- 2016-08, SymbioticA, University of Western Australia: An anthropological journey through cellular life
- 2016-09,. Anhtropology Fieldwork Symposium: La vie cellulaire en laboratoire, une perspective anthropologique
This research project has been made possible with the financial support of:
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Government of Canada
School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa
Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of Ottawa
You can find hosted online one of my previous projects. I conducted an autoethnomediapgraphy to explore the experience of silence on “new” mediatic platforms. Efforts of my research process can be found here. The final product, a French essay, Autoethnomedia[graphie]: où s’écrit le silence? is also available.