One wonders about the seriousness of anthropology in giving weight to alternative approaches, or whether art and creative practices that depart from the ethnographic representations of the “real” could be seen as valid epistemological investigations. In The Artlessness of Anthropology (1992), anthropologists reflect on Joseph Kosuth’s (2008) model for anthropologized art and lament anthropology’s continued “allegiance to the abstract” and love for “discovering its potential strictness,” which make it difficult for the “anthropologist as artist” paradigm to be accepted. Experimentation continues to clash with canonical ethnographic representation, and there is arguably a rift between the practitioners of the ethnographic and experimental genres in visual anthropology. Efforts to expand the conversation continue. The Society of Visual Anthropology Film and Media Festival, for example, now encourage the submission of films under five minutes – quite a bold move after Jay Ruby’s series of critiques on and expressions of frustrations about the lack of ethnographicness of works emerging from visual anthropology and ethnographic film practice.
ANTHROPOLOGIFS begin with: animated .gif from fieldwork, mundane, spectacular + annotation. From there, the possibilities are endless. ANTHROPOLOGIFS seeks to participate in the continuing conversation about ethnography, ethnographic representation and knowledge production. ANTHROPOLOGIFS respond to Ruby’s claims that ethnographic film is dead, and therefore, .gif. ANTHROPOLOGIFS present possibilities for anthropologists to engage more intimately even with a few seconds from their many of hours of footage gathered from the field. ANTHROPOLOGIFS encourage ethnographies to leap from our texts, and escape the walls of our classrooms and it hopes to expand discourse by engaging with the online public. More than Jean Rouch’s concept of shared anthropology (anthropologie partagée), ANTHROPOLOGIFS want to share anthropology.