Visual ethnography and (photo) art projects

Upcoming! This page will be a summary of different past and ongoing visual projects (2013-)

2020-ongoing: Research-Art/Academia-Art Information upcoming

2012-ongoing: Resistance is natural – a posthumanist photo project (various places in Europe) – Information upcoming

2020: Karantäntider/Boxed in – Information upcoming

2010-2018 social moWEments

social moWEments is a collection of photographs taken between 2010 and 2018 and mainly in Sweden that captures the “we” of movements, that is, movements as collectives of belonging. It all started when I was abroad as a student. I was in a crowded capital and although I was not alone, I felt lonely and as if I did not belong to anything. One day, as I was strolling around, I found a crowd “within the crowd”, a group of people demonstrating for a cause. Even though I was not part of the group, I supported the cause and was in a way part of the movement. It made such a difference to walk with them. This is how I became interested in visual portrayals of movements and how the “we” is performed, how movements move from walks in the streets onto the built environment and the banners, from one city to another, across countries. Movements can also be still, as in sitting protests. They over time can also “move” into dissolution of groups and members. Some of the photographs are taken in feminist and anti-racist settings that I have been active in.     

2013 Space-Time Imaginaries in Reactionary Community Creations: Gentrification Resistance in the Area of Køpi in Berlin

When I was studying in the humanities at Utrecht University (08/2010–02/2011), I became interested in integrating sound and vision into my studies. In the following years, I started to take this interest more seriously. In 2013, I attended the course The City – Boundary Transgressions and Visual Expressions at Lund University. Together with two classmates, I conducted visual ethnography on gentrification in the city of Berlin, more specifically in Kreuzberg and the Køpi area. We explored the visual expressions of anti-gentrification politics. 

“WIR” interpellates the German-speaking population and people who have been in ”HIER” long “enough” to claim the space.
“The banner above, is a message that not only is put across in German language but also is on several levels linked to time. It is one of the most explicit messages where a self-definition of the squatters occurs and where a collectivist We-identity is staged. It reveals that the protesting “WIR” [we], as in Benedict Anderson’s notion of “imagined communities”, relies on the idea of a shared history (“HIER SIND WIR GROSS GEWORDEN”). In this case, it is marking the territory as one where “WIR” have grown up in. 
However, the nostalgic account also is reclaiming the future of the place (…) (“HIER WOLLEN WIR ALT WERDEN”). The message relies on fixity and resists change in terms restricting the Others non-belonging to the We-collective to access, change or invade the space…” (excerpt from an unpublished paper by Hoyvík, Knezevic and Vinogradova, 2013)

Green anarchism? Protection from outsiders looking in? Or a glorification of wilderness as opposed to modernity, capitalism and progress..?

2011-2012 Visual Ethnography: Military Training

In 2012, I did a visual documentation of a preparatory military training in a Swedish town. Although I was not the target group of the program, I was allowed to participate. I was convinced that I will use this experience for future research projects. The Swedish Armed Forces were open to my initiative and gave me the opportunity to run a blog on their website where I could document the training on a daily basis, for three months. Below, I give some examples, mainly carefully picked images that do not reveal the identity of the participants.  

I participated as everyone else but I was the only one with the permission to use a camera. I soon got the nickname “paparazzi” because of this role. 

I wanted to go beyond the mainstream representations of the military and was searching for something different: the “softer” side of it, the human beneath the uniform, the everyday and mundane rather than the sensational and spectacular. Also interesting was the spirit of community and belonging; how the military students cared for each other. The students learned about my “style” and I am sure this is the reason why many images depict hugs and acts of care.

The students shared their own images that they associated with the military ranging from video games, movies to the military as a peace-keeping mission, and warfare. I met many who were looking forward to using firearms from day one.

beneath-the-uniform-photo-courtesy-of-zlatana-knezevic

The military changed my views on hierarchies. Formal hierarchies suddenly made perfect sense, or at least there was a logic and function to them, unlike many other settings with a similar organisation.    

After having conducted several interviews with the students and the employees, and taken thousands of images, I was thinking that I had seen what I needed to see to get a grasp of a military training and the military from within.

We were in a forest on our last expedition/training. Here we learned all about survival in this beautiful, but cold environment. I also learned that my visual ethnography overlooked the power of sound. The firing range in this area echoed, with that exact distance and frequency, a sound I thought I had forgotten years ago. The sound of the omnipresent “war”. I did not think of it when seeing or even using the firearms, or the uniforms. Instead, it was here, and at the very end of the program, that I was reminded of how it sounds to be on the other side of it all: as a civilian.