New publication, International Handbook of Sensory Ethnography

Kate Hennessy, Trudi Lynn Smith, Steve DiPaola, and Amineh Ahmadi Nejad published a chapter “Sensing the Cloud: Research Creation as Sensory Ethnography”.

Working image 3, “white clouds in blue sky”, 2019. Kate Hennessy, Trudi Lynn Smith, and Steve DiPaola

Link to Publication

“In this chapter, we describe the large-scale video projection artwork that we eventually created from this first video recording, titled White Clouds in Blue Sky (Hennessy et al., 2021). Through the lens of this work, we consider how our use of AI systems as sensing tools for this project led us to our critical engagement with the cloud—as metaphor, as image, as ubiquitous and resource-hungry. It leads us toward a less foggy vision of the cloud not a mute infrastructure, not a single virtual object or symbol (Hu, 2016), but as a deeply sensory phenomenon, entangled with human labor and intuition (Monserrate, 2022). Somehow our pile of virtual reality detritus and our experiment with machine vision brought us to a view of the so-called cloud as an infrastructure that cannot function without rivers and rain, wires and rare earth minerals, massive amounts of electricity, or landfills. We position White Clouds in Blue Sky as an extension of our sensory research-creation work with fugitive archival col- lections (Hennessy & Smith, 2018) and the material politics of anthropological documenta- tion (Smith & Hennessy, 2020). Improvisation and collaboration are deeply relational and sensory modes for art-making and ethnography. Here we extend our emergent practice as artist–anthropologists to generative interaction with AI systems as a method for sensing the cloud.”