Ethnography: a prototype
What happens to the ethnographic method when it goes open source? We are delighted to announce that an article describing our long term collaboration with ‘free culture’ architectural collectives, artists and activists in Madrid – Zuloark, Basurama, lagaleriademagdalena, Ciudad Escuela – has just been published by Ethnos.
We leave you with the article’s abstract below, as well as links to the paywall and pre-print versions.
The article describes a long-term collaboration with a variety of free culture activists in Madrid: digital artists, software developers and guerrilla architectural collectives. Coming of age as Spain walked into the abyss of the economic crisis, we describe how we re-functioned our ethnographic project into a ‘prototype’. We borrow the notion of prototype from free culture activism: a socio-technical design characterised by the openness of its underlying technical and structural sources, including for example access to its code, its technical and design specifications, and documentary and archival registries. These ethnographic prototypes functioned as boundary objects and zones of infrastructural enablement that allowed us to argue with our collaborators about the city at the same time as we argued through the city. Providing a symmetrical counterpoint to the actions of free culture hackers elsewhere in the city, our anthropological prototypes were both a cultural signature of the radical praxis taking place in Madrid today and its expressive infrastructure.