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CONSTANTLY VARIED/ FUNCTIONAL: AN EXPLORATION OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKING IN THE DIGITAL AGE BY NICHOLAS MANTING BREWER A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Social Sciences New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Maria D. Vesperi Sarasota, Florida April 2012
Dedication I dedicate this project to Frances Velasco, my second mother.
ii Acknowledgements T o Frances Velasco, I am eternally grateful for you nurturing bra nd of parenting For the constant reminders that school comes first. To Michele Manting Thank you f or the uncomp romising support of my pursuits You have no idea how much you have shaped my perspective. To Robert Brewer, Thank you f or you r honesty and confidence. You and Betty have always been encouraging to me. To Jeremy and Marla Brewer, Thank you f or the weekends you spent with me as a kid. You taught me what that determination is important. To Nijyl and Sacha Brewer, You two inspire me with your passionate curiosity. Alexander and Aron Zander, you are the funniest person I know. You're still my little brother, though. A ron, I try to emulate your work ethic and kindness.
iii Mar ia Vesperi, Your confidence in my abilities as a filmmaker/ethnographer has helped to build my own confidence Your classes have built my confidence in my understandings of writing and anthropological theory. Gabrielle Vail, Without your guidance and re assurance, I do not know where I would be. You are an inspiration, not only as an academic, but also as a person. Your tutorials have allowed me to explore my creativity with video. Erin Dean, You helped me tremendously as my academic advisor during my f ieldwork. I truly appreciate all of your advice and help. Jackie B ender and Ben Goodman, Jackie, your opinions on visual anthropology and ethnographic film have guided me more than you know. Ben, your passion for your music and your research are contagio us. We did it. I cannot think of anyone who I would have rather gone through this year with. Alexander Wilson, A gutsy filmmaker. A great friend. Your opinions always challenge my understanding of how to make a video. Thank you for everything.
iv Additional thanks to: Tony Andrews, Uzi Baram, Adria Bryant, Jan Wheeler, Arlene Manting, Vijay M., A. Wilson, Nathan, Paula, Sivens, Tian, Michael T. Michael L., Thayer, Alex W. Annie Gail F., Jessie B., Matt W. David and everyone at CrossFit Sarasota.
v Table of Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii Table of Contents v i List of illustrations vi i Abstract vii i Introduction: A place to begin 1 Chapter 1: This is and thi s is not 10 Chapter 2: Methodology 30 Chapter 3 Constantly Varied, Functional Movements at High Intensity 42 Chapter 4: A Model for Editing a Digital Ethnographic Film 65 Epilogue 81 Works Cited Texts 84 Film 89
vi List of Illustrations Figure Page 1. Final Cut Pro 40 2. The Deadlift 48 3. The Squat 49 4 Diagram of Snatch, Clean and Jerk 49 5 Ma p of CrossFit Sarasota 57
vii CONSTANTLY VARIED/HIGHLY FUNCTIONAL: AN EXPLORATION OF ETHNOGRAPHIC FILMMAKING IN THE DIGITAL AGE Nick Manting Brewer New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT Digital video has the potential to democratize the field of visual anthropology. The digital medium allows filmmakers to create and transmit their work at an substantial rate. I explore and defend visual anthropology as a subfield, looking to previous literature to examine some concerns that have plagued the fi eld. I reflect on fieldwork at CrossFit Sarasota, a local gym in Sarasota, FL, between September and December 2011 that resulted in my short ethnographic film Constantly Varied/Functional I separate my method into the three sections of video production: pre production, production and postproduction. In addition, I describe details that my film was not able to capture, in order to demonstrate the limitations of my ethnographic film. I examine the ethical dilemmas of ethnographic authority and representatio n. I delineate the editing techniques that I utilized to experiment with reflexivity. Finally, I demonstrate that affordable digital video production is a possibility at a small liberal arts college with little institutional support. While the digital medi um brings up new cause for concern, it has allow visual anthropology to be come more accessible as a sub field Maria D. Vesperi Division of Social Sciences
1 Introduction In 2001, at age 11, I decided that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Movies had always been an important part of my life. Before I could read, movies taught me a lot about the world. By and large, they helped me cope w ith my childhood. I do not say this to make it sound as if I have lived a great struggle. Su ffice it to say, I had a middle-class upbringing. In 2008 I came to New College of Florida, a nd simultaneously decided that fitness would be an integral part of my life. In 2009, at age 19, I decided I wanted to be an anthropologist. The question was: how coul d I reconcile these distinct passions? In "On Ethnographic Authority," James Cli fford states that "the predominant mode of modern fieldwork is signaled: You are there, because I was there'" (1983:118). I take this quote to mean that anthropologists have a responsibility to report on what they have observed, and also to report on what expe riences each researcher brings along with him. William Foote Whyte discussed the im portance of revealing the ethnographer's experience in "On the Evolution of Street Co rner Society" (1996: 1214). In order to examine my fieldwork, I must acknowledge wher e I have come from as an anthropologist and how my life has shaped th e current studies I have pursued. Anthropologists tend to argue for reflexivity in their work, that is, an acknowledgmen t of their role throughout the process. As Norma Mendoza-Denton put it, "I t is a responsibility of anthropologists to explain ourselves, who we ar e and where we come from, often with what read like embarrassing or distracting results" (2010: 43). In this section, I desc ribe my interest in film and a relatively newfound interest in anthropology. Through this introduction, I hope to illustrate the ways that movies and anthropology are meaningful interests in my life. In part, my introduction was shaped by
2 Walker Kahn's (2007) New College thesis, an ethnography of a Brazilian Jiujitsu gym in Sarasota, FL; I appreciate his approach to introducing his transiti on from wrestling to Brazilian jiujitsu and how both have oriented his worldview. In a very similar way, films have shaped my life and this thesis; my interest in visu al anthropology would not exist without my love of movies. Annette Lareau and Jeffrey Shultz s uggest that we bring something "new" to our studies: "At one poi nt or another in our lives, we are all beginners...We bring a great d eal to these new situations including our temperament, previous education, and family situations" (1996 :1). In that vein, this chapter explores where I've come from, in a effort to remain reflexive about what I bring to the field. I was born to a OBGYN, Michele Man ting, and retired Army officer Robert Brewer, on Febuary 11, 1990. A few months later, my mother joined the Air Force to repay her medical school loans, and I spent the first few y ears of my life on Yokota Air Force Base in Tokyo, Japan. My earliest memories are of Japanese children's television shows, particularly a cartoon series called Anpanman Bright colors flashing across a screen filled with figures with big round h eads and tiny bodies. Visual media has always been the best way for me to understand the world. While books definitely have a place and I sincerely enjoy reading, it never came me naturally; it was something I had to work at. Before I could read, though, I learned ev erything I could through movies, especially nature documentaries. My family moved back to the United Stat es when I was almost four. After about a year of living in State Colle ge, Pennsylvania, my parents decided that I should go to school. At age five, I began attending a loca l Montessori school. I hated it. Around this
3 time, I began watching movies much more frequently. Disney's The Jungle Book became a near-daily activity. My favorite nature show was Wild Discovery My grandmother and grandfather would record episodes on VHS tapes and send them to me on a regular basis. Every night, from about 8-8:30, I would watch Wild Discovery with my parents and learn about animals. Even if there was lag between when my grandparents sent the tapes, I would be content re-watching the episodes to be sure I memorized important details. Through this show I became obsessed with orca whales My parents caught on and my mom would read books about whales and dolphins to me on a regular basis. At this point I was sure that I was going to be a marine biologist, so I could study the sea creatures I loved so much. I was still struggling with reading by th e time I was in third grade and my mom opted to send me to a school run by the Soci ety of Friends. There I flourished with the help of the headmaster, who would personally help me by taking me into his office a few days per week under the ruse that I was help ing him make "Cassettes on Tape" for the younger students who needed to learn how to rea d. In retrospect, it is clear that this was an effort to help me play catch-up with my own reading. By fourth grade, I could read, but I st ill loved movies. I'd lost interest in Wild Discovery and shifted towards animated televisi on shows. I began to love children's shows such as Gundam Wing and Dragon Ball-Z I liked them because of their illustrations, and then I decided I wanted to be an animator. In all honesty, I was never that great at drawing. I kept watching movies and by ag e 10, my favorite was probably
4 The Matrix My parents divorced around this time and I began to watch even more movies. By the time I was in the fifth grade, my mom had decided to move from Pennsylvania and we ended up in the very smal l rural town of Hephzibah, Georgia. This was the kind of town that one sees in thos e old pictures, a place where people did not wear khakis because the Georgia red clay would stain them, a place where everyone knew everyone else and everyone had some kind of familial tie. At the time, this place was alien to me. I can remember vividly that the young kids in my cl ass made fun of me, mainly because I did not have a "Southern" accent at the time. I was a Yankee. Despite this initial rejection, I st ill consider Georgia home. I retreated to movies as a way of c oping. For my 11th birt hday my mom bought me two significant presents: a camcorder a nd Lego Studios, a computer program with a hardware camera that allowed users to create stop-go animation using legos. From that point forward, I was making animations using Le go Studios and filming fight scenes with my friends with my camcorder. By the time I was in the ninth grade, my br other and friends were all used to being in my short films. We had moved out of Hephz ibah and into the city of Augusta, Georgia. I had the good fortune of meeting Didiet R ubio, a teacher, who had fantastic taste in movies. He encouraged me to watch many and he said two of the best he had ever seen were Amores Perros and City of God While I Ioved City of God Amores Perros was far from my favorite. In 10th grade, Scott Gu inn introduced me to many films by the Coen brothers. Throughout high school, my weeke nds were not complete without the obligatory trip to Blockbuster, where I would raid the foreign and independent film
5 sections. I had a healthy diet of Pedro Al modovar, Takashi Miike, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuaron. I was a co-captain the first year my school had a swim team. After years of being a mediocre swimmer with club teams, I was s uddenly the fastest and most proficient kid on the team. By the end of the 10 th grade, I was Most Valuable Player. This was a major confidence-boost for me, and created a new interest in sports. In September 2007, my mom accepted a job at Florida State University. I moved to Tallahassee, Florida with one more year left in high school. For me, it was a rough move, but my younger brother, Zander, and I continued to bond through making short films together. For weeks after we moved, we only hung out together and made movies. To this day, I occasionally watch the bizarre m ovies we made as we were adjusting to our new environment. The weekly filmma king process solidif ied our friendship. During my senior year I had a decision to make: film school or a liberal arts degree? Fortunately, my parents never pressu red me to pursue a degree in anything, and encouraged me to do what I was passionate about. I visited New College of Florida midway through the fall semester of my senior year. My interview coul d not have gone better and the school seemed like a place I would enjoy. A few months later, I got a letter from North Carolina School of the Arts saying that I had made it through to the final step of the admissions process. The school accepted me and I was all but set to go to WinstonSalem. Then I realized that maybe film school was not for me because I found that I valued a holistic education over such a tech nical curriculum. I remembered that at New College, students could create their own track s of study with the guidance of professors. That's how I ended up at New College of Florida.
6 I found anthropology early on in my academ ic career. I was paired with Maria Vesperi as my adviser and she suggeste d that I take "Maya Women, Weaving and Worldview" with Gabrielle Vail. I really enjoyed it and later that year, after a tutorial with Professor Vail, she gave me a DVD with footage of a local Maya weaver. For the next step, we set up an interview that I film ed with my camera. I assembled a short film she presented at her exhibit at Wheedon Is land. The footage of this woman weaving as she narrates her life became the first time I had truly tried to blend anthropological fieldwork with the visual medium. That e xperience opened up a lo t of opportunities for me to explore video production at New College. Each following semester solidified my interest in anthr opology. In 2010, under the guidance of Dr. Vesperi, I learned that filmmakers could apply anthropological frameworks to their productions In a visual anthropology tuto rial, I decided to blend my interest in fitness with film and anthropol ogy for the first time by documenting a faculty member's career as a jiu-jitsu world champi on and instructor. The next semester, in an ethnographic methods course, I focused my research at a local non-profit boxing gym, also making a short film. While we had discussed visual anthropol ogy, my interest in the field was sealed after I watched Dennis O'Rourke's Cannibal Tours (1988). Each following semester solidified my interest in anthropology. My thesis project holds a special place to me, not only because I have dedicated eight months of my life to it, but because also I have managed to encapsulate a variety of interests: anthropology, film, fitness and nut rition. My fieldwork took place at a local gym called CrossFit Sarasota, located off Fruitv ille road in Sarasota, Florida. In Chapter
7 Three of this thesis, I go into detail about the specifics of the site, but I believe it is important to establish what CrossFit is at the outset CrossFit, Inc. was founded in 2000 by Greg Glassman and his then wife, Laurie Glassman. Greg, or "Coach Glassman," as he is commonly known, was a former gymnast who wanted to create a sport of fitness, that is to say, a sport that measure how well one can perform at a variety of inte nse physical tasks (Glassman 2007). The majority of my ethnographic research and analysis is reflected in the short film component of this project, Constantly Varied/Functional This title has multiple meanings for me. The CrossFit prescription is often referred to as "constantly varied, functional movements executed at high intens ity" (Glassman 2007). In one sense, my title captures this identifier; it also applies to every aspect of fieldw ork using digital video. Digital video is a practical approach to filmmaking that has the potential to allow filmmakers to work in various cont exts of anthropol ogical research. As I will discuss in my methodology s ection, I became interested in CrossFit Sarasota because it advocated a Paleo diet a relatively high-protein, low-carbohydrate. I went there originally to examine how the gym members had interpreted a diet that was supposedly based in anthropological resear ch. While I do touch on the Paleo diet, I became most fascinated with the constructi on of a community around the shared CrossFit experience of the Workout of the Day (WOD). With this thesis, I hope to achieve several goals: First, I want to demonstrate that digital video has provided a pos itive transition for visual an thropology; second, I want to support visual anthropology as a subfield of anthropology; th ird, I want to examine the stages of production and the ethical questions that arise from attempting to visually
8 represent someone else. Fourth, I want to demons trate that a student at a small liberal arts college with limited training in video producti on can create short ethnographic film. My overall goal is to demonstrate that digital vide o is a useful tool fo r democratizing visual anthropology and the filmmaking process. However, as with any new method of storytelling, it gives rise to et hical questions. In the follo wing chapters I attempt to reconcile these issues. In Chapter 1, I review previous l iterature on visual and anthropology and ethnographic film. My hope is that the reader will have an understand ing of where visual anthropology has been and where I plan to go with my methodology and fieldwork. I demonstrate that the subfield of visual anth ropology has often been marginalized in favor of written ethnography. In Chapter 2, I lay out my research methodology. I describe my fieldwork, discussing the adjustments in style that I made to film at CrossFit Sarasota to accommodate the highly active subjects. I describe my process of obtaining informed consent, also difficult in a gym setting. Additio nally, I briefly describe the editing process and I demonstrate that digital filmmaking is an affordable en deavor that requires minimal costs. In Chapter 3, I detail the findings from my fieldwork. I discuss the structure of CrossFit Sarasota and its status as an affiliate to the larger CrossFit, Inc. I elaborate on my filming experience and on findings I did not have an opportunity to examine with my video, in an effort to demonstr ate that video should not be considered an alternative to written ethnography. Additionally, I explore topics of space, place, community and habitus.
9 In Chapter 4, I discuss the ethical questi ons that arise during the digital editing process. I examine issues of reflexivit y, authenticity, ethnographic authority and representation. I argue that the editing process is where most of these issues come to fruition, because the anthropologist is framing a narrative event that re-tells a series of events in a new, limited way.
10 Chapter 1: This is and this is not: Negotiating the Visual in Anthropology If films are distrusted or considered irrelevant by anthropologists, it's perhaps because they have too much meaning and yet not enough meaning. Not enough, since they appear to go only partway toward the distillation that anthropology requires. Too much, because they leave open too many possible interpretations. They leave too much to the viewer-too much to come to conclusions about. Writing on a page is, after all, a close c ousin to speaking, but images on a screen are nothing like that. If films were somehow translated into anthropological writing, the density of material they contained would make them seem exhaustingly descriptive. We'd be overloaded, unable to grasp an overall structure, whereas in images description is implicit. If film has any resemblance to writing, it's too narrative and poetic forms rather than too academic prose. David MacDougall (in Barbash, MacDougall, Taylor, MacDougall 1996) Introduction: In this chapter, I explore the history of visual anthropology and ethnographic film. Visual anthropology is an undoubtedly contested subfield and one which, at times, still struggles to define itself. As the chapter prog resses, the reader will notice that issues tend to re-emerge and some are never entirely resolved. Using a chronological approach, I hope to explore what people have writte n about visual anthropology and ethnographic cinema, highlighting what previous research ers have found important. I explore many of the relevant issues with regard to repres entation and genre, build ing on an understanding of what people have said "ethnographic ci nema" and "visual anthropology" are and where they can go. Many believe the value of the visual reco rd is that it is unbiased. In medical school classrooms, students are shown instruct ional movies on surgeries and procedure. While such films show specific procedures and students may choose not to question the representation, it is clear that through the processes of f ilming and editing the final products are creations by a pe rson or a group of people. Rather conveniently, filmmakers
11 will often present their creations as matter-o f-fact, especially documentary filmmakers. Therein rests the problem because film is inherently a constructed medium. There are questions about whethe r or not film has a place in the "study of man." I argue that visual anthropology has a place within anthropology. Some scholars have questioned this notion, claiming that ethnographic film is useless at best and damaging at worst (Bloch 1988). I believe this sentiment st ems from a bias for written text over film. This argument against film is misguided; so me claim that the issue is an either/or scenario: either anthropologists write or film but it is not that si mple. Film should never seek to replace the written ethnography; ethnog raphic texts are invaluable as a medium. Recent studies have tried to contextualize wh ere film fits in a field dominated by words (MacDougall 2006). David MacDougall states that the value of anthropological film is its ability to visually capture interpersonal events (2006: 58). I think he may be onto something here. Whereas the ethnographer is ab le to write from his/ her perspective about his/her relationship with inform ants, the camera can serve as a third perspective that can capture the interaction between ethnographer and informant. The relationship among anthropologist, cam era and informant has a long history that begins somewhere in the late 1800s, but the true history of visual anthropology may date back before the use of the camera. In retrospect, it seems almost natural that the study of people would come together with im age-making media. Anthropologist seemed always to have an interest in using the visu al as evidence and validation. Some argue that the beginnings of a formaliz ed combination of anthropology and visual media can be seen in the exhibitions of the 19th century, wh en anthropologists abused visual aids to validate colonialist and social Darwinist id eas. "Living exhibits" were constructed to
12 arrange human bodies into "evolutionary" hier archies (Baker 1998). While it is unfair to hold anthropologists from the late 1800s to our standards today, it is important to acknowledge the problematic pa st of anthropological re search and representation. Some have hypothesized that the current status of visual anthropology as a contested subfield orig inated out of the time lapse between the developments of film and the academic study of anthropology (MacDougall 2005). But as MacDougall points out, "Anthropology has had no lack of interest in the visual; its problem has always been what to do with it. This problem is historically related to another an thropological problem: what to do with the person" (MacDougall 1997: 276). MacDougall's discussion is in many ways a provocation for this chapter. Early Years : The late 19th century marked the beginning of the moving image, while anthropology was already an established field (MacDougall 2005: 230). Motion pictures were in their infancy in the 1890s. Emilie de Brigard (1995, originally 1973) constructs a timeline in which Felix-Lewis Regnault, who us ed film to analyze the movements of the human body, is the inaugural visual anthropolog ist. MacDougall seems to agree with this, also citing A.C. Haddon's work as early cont ributions to filmic anthropology (2005:217, de Brigard 1995). Whereas previously, anthr opologists resorted to bringing "exotic" figures to colonial exhibitions, by 1902 Walter Baldwin used photographs and films during his lectures (MacDougall 1997:276). Th e tradition continued with Junod, Rattray and Spencer; between 1908 and the 1920s, one can find great evidence of photographic use (MacDougall 2005:217). Edward S. Cu rtis, an anthropologists, produced In the Land
13 of the Headhunters (1914). By the 1920s, film had become an "expressive" medium, while anthropology had made a switch towards fieldwork-based research (2005: 230). Film's expressive nature lent itself to artists such as Dziga Vertov and Robert Flaherty, who both constructed masterful wo rks which inspired much later ethnographic filmmakers (Rouch 2003). Both of these film makers used the camera as a tool for inquiry. Robert Flaherty's Nanook of the North (1922), which re-enacts hunting behaviors of an Inuit family, attempts to construct a kind of anth ropological knowledge. To this day Flaherty's work is widely disc ussed and cited as the beginning of visual anthropology, however his lesser-known work, including Moana (1926) and Man of Aran (1934). In Russia, Vertov filmed everyday life in an effort to create a "Revolutionary Cinema." Kino Eye (1924) and The Man with the Movie Camera (1929) were early exercises in unscripted work, filmed outside of studios. These two silent films collected outdoor shots of people and crea ted montages to tell storie s. Ruby (1977) suggests that Vertov's work was one of the earliest examples of reflexivity in film because it attempted to raise the awareness of the viewer by ques tioning the role of the camera in his films. Walter Rutman's Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis (1927) also captured everyday happenings of the city and created jarring montages to create a commentary about city life. While not exp licitly ethnographic in nature, the film's clear attempt to capture everyday life leads me to believe that it could be an early influence. As one can see, it did not require an an thropologist to make an ethnographic film, but it certainly was helpful. Luis Buuel's Land Without Bread (1933) was inspired by the ethnographic text "Las Jurdes: etude de geographie humaine" (1927) by Maurice
14 Legendre. Buuel's surrealist take on ethnogr aphic research was la ter regarded as a classic among visual anthropologi sts. Buuel constructs a narr ative, staging many events based on the original ethnography, and adds a vo ice-over, which he orig inally read as the movie was projected (Rouff 1998). Jeffrey Rouff (1998) praises Land Without Bread for its ability to alter th e way viewers experience films. R uoff focuses on Buuel's film for an exploration of potential in ethnographic cinema. While Land Without Bread parodied the methods of nonfiction, Rouff refuses to ca ll it a mockumentary. He approaches the film as a criticism of Wester n ethnographic authority; the ofte n abrasive voiceover serves as the device for this critique (Rouff 1998). Ethnographic work was not limited to parody. Margret Mead and Gregory Bateson, to this day widely recognized a nd well-regarded, used photographs and footage to enhance their ethnographic work (de Brigard 1995: 26). Trance and Dance in Bali (released 1952, filmed in the 1930s) utilized the film format for ethnographic research and was definitely an integral moment in the development of th e genre of ethnographic film. The film captured the Kris Dance, one of the many forms of dance in Bali, performed in the village of Pagoetan (Mead and Bateson 1952). The dance becomes a play, which also manages to tell a nationa l story of the Witch and the Dragon. Mead narrates the events as the montage plays, while a soundtrack arranged by Colin McPhee plays in the background. It is not fair to hold this work to the standards of today; however, it is worth noting that external soundtrack is now widely frowned upon (See McDougall 1975). Nonetheless, what Mead a nd Bateson achieved remains astonishing. In the mid-1950s, French filmmaker Jean Rouch began experimenting with documentary forms and creating explicitly ethnographic films. His earliest film was
15 released in 1949; however, Rouch wa s most famous for pioneering the cinma vrit aesthetic with The Mad Masters (1955), Moi Un Noir (1958), and Chronicle of a Summer (1961). In addition to his films, Rouch later wr ote a series of influential articles. Beyond Vertov and Flaherty, it is very ra re that a filmmaker is so wi dely cited as an influential leader of early ethnographic film. Rouch's cinma vrit was at the very least controversial. He wanted filmmakers to be arbiters of truth who presented their subjects as completely as possible, and he wanted audiences to draw their own conclusi ons. While I admire Rouch's contributions, I take particular issue with film as an absolute tr uth. It is a visual reco rd of an event, but it is always crafted. As MacDougall notes, film is "always about something'" (2006: 3). Ethnographic film became a genre, with visu al anthropology as a subfield, in the 1950s (de Brigard, 1995: 14). John Marshall and Robert Gardner collaborated to create one of the most famous ethnographic films, The Hunters (1958). The film signified the beginning of an era in which educational instit utions facilitated the development of visual anthropology. This development was twofol d: 1) it caused more universities to fund anthropological films and 2) it t ook the form of academic critique within the subfield that actively questioned issu es of representation in ethnographic films. The 1970s By the 1970s people began writi ng and inquiring into the meaning of visual anthropology. The number of et hnographic filmmakers had so rapidly increased that the literature was quite vast. Throughout this de cade, authors such as Emilie Rahman de Brigard (1995, originally 1971), Colin Y oung (1995, originally 1973), Jean Rouch (2003, originally 1975), John Ma rshall (1973,1975), Tim Asch and Peter Spier (1973)
16 contemplated the meaning of ethnographic film. Stephanie Krebs (1975) commented on the film-elicitation technique. Meanwhile, f ilmmakers including Marshall, Rouch and Charles Burnett utilized ethnographic techniques to create their work. De Brigard (1995) resolves to l ook back on the history of visual anthropology to generate an idea of how the field had devel oped and what it means. He contends that films have always been ethnographic because they reveal cultural patterning, but some films are more successful at revealing this than others ( 2005: 13). I find this comment to be insightful and interesting, but almost a sl ippery slope. If every film is ethnographic, then there is no specific purpose for the genre. I do not believe that movies such as Blade Runner or Star Wars are ethnographic because they are based on patterned, but futuristic and imagined worlds. I would pose these films as an argument against his case. Asch, Marshall and Spier propose the fi eld of visual anthropology as an alternative to written ethnogr aphic research. These anthr opologists compare the camera to the note pad and draw similarities between their values as mean s of data collection (Asch, Marshall and Spier, 1973: 179). They propose that the goal of an ethnographic film is to preserve the structure of events it is recording as interpreted by the participants (1973: 179). The authors seem to agree with de Brigard, in that ethnographic films can also be fiction films. This statement is sl ightly more believable, however, because it is more restricted. It is easier to accept because it does not make the assertion that all films are ethnographic. Colin Young explores the development of a film genre called "observational cinema." He says that observational cinema is an attempt to create a solution to false notions about film, such as objectivit y (Young 1995: 100). Young criticizes social
17 scientists for believing in the objectivity of film, ignoring its "selectivity and subjectivity." He asserts that the camera manuf actures a sense of plausibility, but film, even unedited film, could not stand alone for context (Young 1995: 100). While I am not sure that observational cinema is the answer, I agree that even uned ited film is biased; the very act of pointing the camera requi res some editorial decision-making. Film elicitation is a fantastic techniqu e that I have used in my own work. Stephanie Krebs (1975) writes that this tec hnique requires the rese archer to show an edited product to the group being studied. The theoretical origins of the technique derive from ethnoscience and linguistics. The technique is valuable because it can establish how the subject organizes hi s/her cultural knowledge. Jean Rouch (2003) examines the cr eative responsibilitie s of ethnographic filmmakers. He believes that th e issues with creative respon sibility in the 1970s mirrored those of ethnographic film in its earliest years with filmmake rs such as Robert Flaherty and Dziga Vertov (Rouch 2003: 31-33). The early equipment was inaccessible, mostly immobile and bulky. The rise of new tec hnical developments in the post-WWII era facilitated a reinvigorated ethnographic film as cameras became much more mobile (2003: 39). Rouch believed the camera shoul d be operated handheld so that the filmmaker can penetrate the scene, instead of letting it unfold before the camera (2003: 39). He did not believe film should be heavily edited. While I disagree that all f ilms could be ethnographic, as de Brigard states, I do believe that ethnofiction is a re al category. I define it as a fictional film that relies on ethnographic methods to tells its story. One ex ample of a fictional ethnographic film was Charles Burnett's The Killer of Sheep (1977), which followed the everyday life of a small
18 group of African-Americans in Los Angeles. Th e film incorporates realist techniques to appear almost like a documentary. Filming in black-and-white, Burnett paints a picture of people in a contained space at a moment in time. Its episodic structure allows the film to tackle a range of issues. I argue that The Killer of Sheep is one of the few truly great examples of the fictional ethnographic genre. The 1970s was an extremely important decade for visual anthropology because people were starting to writ e about the possibili ties of ethnographic film. While some writers resolved to define it, using inclusiv e terms, others comment ed on the potential for techniques, such as film elicitation. These tr aditions carried into the future. The 1980s The 1980s were another transition period for ethnographic film, a time when directors became more experimental in their approaches while continuing some of the traditions established by Rouch. Prin (1997) emphasizes that filmmakers began to preoccupy themselves with the idea of reflexiv ity. In this section, I highlight a flagship article by Jay Ruby and three examples of this reflexive approach in movies. Notably, writers began to use new terms to discuss the relationship among th e filmmakers, their products and the audiences. Jay Ruby (1980) made early use of the term reflexivity to explore this relationship. Films such as Cannibal Tours (O'Rourke 1988), Broken Noses (Weber 1987) and Vernon, Florida (Morris 1981) highlight experimentation with ethnographic authority. Ruby explores the relationship between reflexivity and film. He acknowledges that he does not believe in an objective scie nce and that all research ers must be reflexive in their pursuit of knowledge; it just so happened that he was an anthropological
19 filmmaker (Ruby 1980: 152). He argues that film takes a serious role in the communication of anthropol ogical knowledge; film ha s great potential for anthropological communication and thus s hould exhibit a reflexive nature. To be reflexive, he proposes the "Producer->Proc ess->Product" model ( 1980:156). This model is valuable because it reminds me of the ev ent/narrative event/narrated event model in sociolinguistics, but also pr ovides the key players (Bauman 1986). The model asks that filmmakers acknowledges that they are re sponsible for revealing themselves, their process, and, finally, their product as a constr ucted piece. This article gave me a fairly comprehensive look at a nebulous term that I believe it over-use d. I think sometimes authors and filmmakers will claim to be reflexive, but their work just becomes autoethnography. Ruby's model for reflexivity hi ghlights that it is not only about the anthropologist, but a bout his/her process. Reflexivity, according to Ruby, is not only autobiographical, self-referential, and self-consciousness (1980:156). To be reflexive is to structure the product in a way that the audience presumes the model is ev ident (1980: 156). Ruby adamantly argues for acknowledgment of the film form at as a construction. He stat es: "1) Most anthropologists consider themselves social scientists and their work as being scientific 2) To be scientific means that the scientist is obligated to syst ematically reveal his methods and any other factors which might affect th e outcome of his research. 3) Most ethnographies lack an adequate and integrated me thodological statement. 4) T hose methodological statements that do exist are most frequently not attached to the ethnography" (Ruby 1980:160). Erroll Morris, while not explicitly a vi sual anthropologist, constructed a montage of images that became Vernon, Florida (1981). While the film was originally intended to
20 expose insurance fraud in the small town of Vernon, Florida, Morris d ecided to re-cut it. What the viewer sees as the final version is an assemblage of interviews. The film has been criticized for its portrayal of its subj ects; many have commented that they though Morris was mocking the people of Vernon. I would attribute this to the lack of narration, which does not explicitly tell the viewer what the movie is about. Instead, it allows the subjects to speak for themselves, which is certainly admirable. I think Morris was attempting to emulate some of the teachings of cinma vrit in an attempt to present the subjects as openly as possible. Bruce Weber's Broken Noses (1987) overlays images of boxing with voiceovers and jazz music. The film does not claim to be ethnographic, but it portrays a small group of people in a very localized setting. I would argue that We ber strongly borrows elements of ethnographic cinema. The ma in subject, Andy Minsker, sp ends much of his screen time explaining to Weber his philosophy on boxing and life. The audience never gets the impression that Minsker is speaking to them; instead that it is accepted that he speaks to Weber. There is plenty to criticize about this film, for instance, what do jazz and boxing have in common? At no point does Minsker even suggest he is a fan of the genre. It is a purely artistic choice that may trouble some vi sual anthropologists, but I think the value of the film is its temporal presence, local setting and moderately reflexive nature. I enjoyed this film because it gave me an id ea of how one director approached sports. Stylistically, I have no desire to emulate this film, but I do see value in its structure. Other work by Weber demonstrates additiona l ethnographic influence. For example Let's Get Lost (1989), similar in many ways, records the struggles of a jazz musician,
21 Dennis O'Rourke's Cannibal Tours (1988) follows a group of tourists across Papua New Guinea. The film is brilliant in its not-so-subtle inversion of colonial ideas of "savagery." In presenting Western tourists as the "other," the film accomplishes the task of making the stange known and the known stra nge. Interviews with villagers from the many different areas reveal that these are peop le with real concerns, who are more than willing to play into caricatures for their own gain. Whereas ethnographic film may have previously been criticized for its obs cene voice-overs and racist ideology, Cannibal Tours was clearly an effort to cha nge pace within the field. The villagers speak directly to O'Rourke throughout the film and occasionally viewers hear him asking questions. Many questions are left unanswered with regard to the process of making this film, but it does appropriately invert the id ea of the racial "other." The 1990s Faye Ginsburg (1994) proposes that anthr opologists should analyze all media as fair game, including ethnographic film. Sh e claims that new technology, including analogue video, would democratize the field be cause it would allow the public to become filmmakers (Ginsburg 1994:5). Furthermore, Ginsburg argues that all film requires context and lists some successful attempts to create context through additional written documents. In many ways, she seems to agre e with MacDougall (2006) in the assumption that ethnographic film can never replace writt en text. I happen to agree, but I think Ginsburg takes this a step further in sugge sting that these two mediums may be codependent (1994: 6). She also contends that more anthropologists should study visual media techniques from around the world (1994 : 7). Ginsburg's disc ussion continues a
22 tradition of reflexivity that Jay Ruby (1980) began, one in which anthropologists must acknowledge the entire f ilmmaking process and its implications. Leslie Devereaux (1995) explores the problematic power of photographs and films, due to their: 1) apparent authen ticity, 2) capacity fo r construction and 3) dependence on context (1995:1). She notes th at visual anthropology should critique photographic works from various perspectives ( 1995: 2). Films could imitate real life, but remain cultural products (1995: 3) The filmic is infused with fictional influences (1995: 4). She claims that ethnographic film is a medium, whose construction was dictated by Euro-American cultural forms of "self-repr esentation (1995: 5). Traditionally, there had been massive inequality in who represen ted whom, with men representing women and the rich representing the poor. She suggests th at ethnographic film should seek to become comparable to texts, with appropriate criticis m and relevance. I would argue that there is adequate criticism, but not comparable to literature. Meanwhile, writers such as Prins (1997) and Rouff (1998) reflect on the history of the field. Prins attempts to synthesize th e movements of visual anthropology into a coherent temporal arrangement, which he dubs "ambilineal," tracing the field from the 1950s to the 1960s. He notes the 1950s as the point when ethnographic film ceased to focus on colonial subjects. David MacD ougal coined "observational cinema"(1975), which embraced neorealist ethics with long unc ut shots and actual sound from the site. This was a response to the claims of objectivity. However, as Prins points out, filmmakers became more self-conscious a bout their role. The 1990s saw a rise in reflexivity in the field. MacDougal then m oved towards a participatory cinema that claimed subjects as primary producers.
23 The 2000s MacDougal (2001) highlights the switch fr om film to video, emphasizing the cost-effective and portable nature of the camera (2011: 15). He examines the opportunities of "[making] a professional-looki ng film largely on your own" (2001: 15). MacDougall is emphatic about digital video bein g a positive change within the field; to demonstrate its growing popularity he lists a vari ety of films that make use of the digital video medium. He emphasizes the interpersonal relationshi ps that can be developed because a single filmmaker can often establish closer rapport than a crew (2001:15). Furthermore, publishing on the Internet fr ees the filmmaker from big budgets and restrictions, while funding from private donor s, educational institutions and governmental bodies may engender restrictions. MacDougall says that the digital format allows him to treat his projects as investig ations, similar to an ethnograp hic text, as opposed to films (2001: 17). Furthermore, the compactness of the camera allows him to communicate with people more easily (2001:16-17). The digital medium allows easier editing with nonlinear computer editing and DVD authoring (2001: 20). MacDougal' s was perhaps the first article written on the topic of digital video and ethnographic film and it began to shape discussion about how the medium could be used. Anna Grimshaw (2002) revisits Young (1995) to suggest th at "observational cinema" was an overused term a decade ago. Sh e argues from both sides, with believers claiming it as an epistemology and detractors believing it to be nave and damaging. She explores McDougall's position within the debate, pinning him down as a paradoxical figure who, while leading the movement, remains cautious. She focuses on Young's (1995) contribution, which attempted to negotiate the film aesthetic with anthropological
24 insights. Grimshaw sees the debate as rich ly benefiting from changing paradigms within the subfield, specifically with regard to a "phenomenological approach, the emergence of sensory perspectives, and a reconsideration of the quest ion of mimesis" (2002: 82). Grimshaw discusses "authored collaboration" and the idea that it enhances knowledge (2002:90). She concludes that while observa tional cinema has moments of greatness, most works are flawed. Ruby (2005) analyzes the development of the field from 1985-2005. His goal is to demonstrate the anthropologist's role as interp reter of the visual, as well as a creator of images that are commonplace in the present, whereas before this was not the case. Ruby briefly argues that ethnographic films, while st ill analyzed an educati onal tools, should be considered on their own merit and are capable of conveying complex meaning (2005: 161). He also suggests that ethnographic film fe stivals have become crowded with social documentaries that exoticize the racialized "other" and do not properly examine Western culture. He cites what he considers the crea tion of an "ethnographic film ghetto," stating that visual anthropology has been rejected by mainstream anthropologists. Ruby also discusses the anthropolo gy of pictorial media. He argues th at as a result of reflexivity, the subfield generates an ethnohistoric perspectiv e that holds critical analytic views towards images. He concludes by discussing digita l technologies and thei r growing prevalence within visual anthropology. He s eems to champion this direction. In 2008, Ruby rearticulates the idea that et hnographic film is a contested genre. He says that ethnographic film must distingu ish itself from documentary by creating "no commercial potential" (2008: 6) He criticizes the academic documentaries that only serve as study aids; he does not consider thes e films to be "ethnographic" (2008: 6). He
25 proposes hybrid projects that combine image and text, breaking the limitations that each discipline presents (2008: 67). Ruby believes that many audiences are not actively critical while viewing movies in classroom or theater setti ngs (2008: 7-8). As a result, most audiences will not understa nd a filmic subtext. He propo ses using a computer, as an office environment would demand more strict attention towards the presentation (2008: 7). For these reasons, he created a CD-ROM series, Oak Park Stories in which he attempted to avoid the "exotic" and emphasize reflexivity by analyzing the researcher/native perspective, as he hi mself grew up in Oak Park. He created Oak Park Stories as an interactive digita l project. He argues that ethnographic films should reach beyond documentary templates and remove themselves from film festivals, public television channels and distribut ion companies. He writes that : "film is too important to anthropology to allow filmmakers to control it" (2008: 14). Wilma Kiener criticizes what she call s the fetishization of the camera, and promotes the indigenous film movements. She takes the opportunity to discuss her editorial choices, the cutsor the places be tween shotsand montages, the compilation of footage. Keiner seeks to answer questions about the ways cuts can "speak" about the world (2008: 394). She proposes an ethnographi c cinema of montag e to answer this question. She argues that montage is not neces sarily a fictional device, that it may be applicable in documentary. I agree to an ex tent; I think editing t echniques in visual anthropology should remind viewers that they are watching a construction. The montage, or edited non-linear footage, adds textur e to filmic language (2008: 396). Editorial choices become both an expr essive and manipulative tech nique. Flashbacks and flashforwards indicate absences of time and bi ographical information. Crosscutting jumps
26 between simultaneous events. Parallel editi ng causes multiple images which previously occurred in completely separate temporal and spatial contexts to be connected. Ultimately, Kiener suggests that montage a nd editing are important aspects of engaging the audience. Nicholas Rombes (2009) ar gues that digital cinema is looking for imperfection, now that picture quality has b een perfected by the digital form at. I'm not sure I agree that the digital image is perfect; I think perfect copies can be made, but many things beyond the digital format, such as lighting an d angle, account for picture quality. One aspect of Rombes' work that I enjoy is that he refers to digital videos as films; the argument for the term "film," as opposed to "digital videos" stems from the common history that they share (2009:3). Rombes also addresses additional con cerns within the new technology revolving around the permanence of digital images and the distribution of c ontent. Issues of duplication plague the field, as images can be duplicated countless times with no loss of quality. This suggests that digital images do not disappear. The physical film format is missing with digital, the concrete form is not used (2009:31). Furthermore, digital films are released on a variety of platforms, not ju st in the multi-plex theater. I believe Rombes acknowledges the benefits of the new format but his point fleshes out the questionable implications of some of these bene fits. I attempt to delve further. The 2010s: Gareth Davey examines the strength a nd weaknesses of visual methods in anthropology. He concludes th at visual anthropology leaves more to be desired, even though it has come a long way in terms of its recognition as a subfield. Darvey suggests
27 that the flagship journal of th e Society of Visual Anthropology, Visual Anthropology Review helps solidify visual an thropology's position (Davey 2010). He defines visual anthropology and its goals as anthropological research that utilizes visual methods and analyzes the epistemology of visual research (Davey 2010: 347). The interdisciplinary nature of the field allowed it to bridge theory with real-world issues and problems. Yet, Darvey argues, vagueness can arise from the many different foci. The dominance by American researchers is also a point of contentionsomething I agree with. Finally, Darvey points out that a lack of job opportunities e ndangers the field. Sarah Pink (2011a) traces the beginnings of digital visual anthropology to the 1980s. She continues to discuss that while the digital format can achieve maximum access, the anthropologist loses the monopoly on message, and the content is subject to countless interpretations. Pink examines sugge stions that anthropol ogists should include short presentations to contex tualize their work. She explor es how digital anthropology can be collaborative and bridge the gap between written and visual anthropology. She interprets anthropology as a "f ive-strand set": 1) the study of nonlinguistic forms, 2) the study of visual products, 3) the use of the visual to present findings, 4) activism, and 5) pedagogical projects (2011a: 212-214). She explores how th ese unfold in the digital medium. Early work examined by Pink includes kinship software (2011a: 215-16). She points to Alan MacFarline as an innova tor in anthropology and computing. MacFarline began using input cards in the 70s and 80s, then video discs, Wi ndows and analog video in the 1990s, when he was able to use a di gital video camera and laptops, then moved into the 21st century with the development of the Internet and Web 2.0 (2011a: 216-20).
28 Pink identifies leaders in th e field, including the Centre fo r Anthropology and Computing (CSAC) at the University of Kent and Digital Anthropology Resources for Teaching Project (DART) (2011a:217-23). She looks to Hart Cohen for a new approach to digital anthropology: "the visualization and digitiza tion of cultural constr uctions, the cultural underpinning of information society" (Cohe n and Salazar 2005, in Pink 2011: 215). Pink points out that digital anthropology can also be a political tool ; it can be public anthropology capable of making criti cal interventions (2011a: 228-29). Laptop computers, digital cameras, non-linear editi ng suites and portable projectors can make shared anthropology an efficient endeavor. Pink believes that most visual anthropologists are using digital media to produce and disse minate their work; however, innovations are much more narrow (2011a: 231). Furthermor e, Pink suggest that hypermedia has an important role to play in the futu re of visual anthropology (2011a: 232). Pink (2011b) also discusses the advancem ent in methods within the field of applied visual anthropology, as well as her reach towards a public anthropology. Citing Gubrium and Harper (2009), she demonstrat es that digital technologies can involve participatory research. She argues again th at anthropology should be an applied and public discipline, with an emphasis on colla boration. She states th at anthropology should seek exposure for people who are normally i nvisible and whose voice s and feelings are rarely heard (2011b: 450). Spence and Navarro (2011) trace the begi nning of cinema back to a desire to capture lived reality and the animated spir it. They argue that there is no objective actuality, because every documentary is edite d, it is textual. They analyze concerns including authenticity, evid ence, authority and responsib ility. The problem with
29 authenticity is that filmic stories are rarely left intact; Spence and Navarro explain that they are edited to create a meaning (2011: 32). They say that documentary is an aesthetic that seeks to capture reality, but cannot neces sarily do so because a film's claims to authenticity are predicated on the fact that it is constructed by cinematic conventions. Evidence can be marshaled to convince the au dience of an interpretation of an event. Some documentaries will intentionally mislead the audience, but a reflexive documentary reveals the process (2011: 51). Spence and Nava rro urge viewers to remember that films are authored, and to be critical of the ar gument (2011: 59). Documentarians, by the same token, are responsible for the representations they facilitate (2011: 83). While audiences should pay attention to all of these concerns, documentary filmmakers should be accountable for acknowledging them. Different wa ys of structuring allow for different ways of viewing the world. Epilogue : Through this chronological approach, one can begin to see the recurring issues of authority, representation and reflexivity emerge as chief concerns within the field. I have established that films are now understood as constructions upon which filmmakers impose meaning. While coming to concise definitions for visual anthropology and ethnographic film remain difficult tasks, this chapter has attempted to grapple with what others have said constitute the genre and the subfield. While some authors have noted the potential of the digital medium, I will examine its more problematic elements in Chapter Four.
30 Chapter 2 Methodology Ethnographic research requires a ri gorous methodology. Fieldwork was a mandatory component of producing my ethnogra phic film. As one of the aims of this project is to be reflexive and to demonstrate an understandi ng of the anthropologist's role as researcher, outlining the process of fieldwork is im portant. In "On Ethnographic Validity," Roger Sanjek challenges anthropologis ts to demonstrate their reflexivity. "Our problem is to make this method visible," he writes, suggesting a chal lenge to notions of ethnographic authority (Sanjek 1990: 385). In this chapter, I take Sanjek up on this task. I lay out the methodology of my ethnographic fieldwork from be fore bringing the camera into the field to the aftermath in the editi ng room. I hope to achieve ethnographic validity through this documentation of the process. The goal of this chapter is threefold: I wa nt to demonstrate th at filming on digital video was extremely adaptable, valuable and affordable for me as a filmmaker conducting ethnographic research. Small digita l camcorders make f ilmmaking a versatile endeavor, and modes of editi ng footage are highly mobile. One day I could be editing in my dorm in Sarasota and the next day I c ould be editing at my mother's house in Tallahassee. I conducted ethnographic fieldw ork at CrossFit Sarasota from September 2011 to mid-December 2011, just over three months. Fo r the first month and half, I utilized participant observation, without the camera, meaning that I participated in CrossFit workouts. For the second part of my fieldwor k, I filmed various CrossFit classes over the course of a month and a half. In order to garn er interviews, I used a wide-net approach in
31 which I would initially talk to everyone, but slowly begin to narrow my informants to people I regularly saw at the gym. My work for this thesis did not end with my fieldwork, however. For the next several months, from December until April, I pieced together a short ethnographic film which serves as the ce nterpiece of my resear ch. For this reason, I have split this chap ter into three sections that ut ilize film production jargon: preproduction, production a nd post-production. Additionally, I draw fr om methodological frameworks discussed by Jay Ruby(2005), Clifford Geertz(1973), Walker Kahn (2007) and William Whyte (1996) to support my approach to fieldwork. The resu lt is a combination of improvisation and established filmmaking/anthropological methodology that results in my film, Constantly Varied/Functional Pre-production: Pre-production is the period where a script is finalized, the shots are coordinated and the locations are scouted. My peri od of preproduction followed a similar methodology, in that I was required to attain pe rmission at the site, engage in participantobservation and acquire informed consent before I began filming. Additionally, I gathered my materials, including a camera, tr ipod and external hard drive. The following section is an overview of my pre-production process for making this film, which I had to alter to fit the needs of the site. Step 1: Approaching informed consent: I first visited CrossFit Sarasota in Apr il 2011. I did not see a designated building; instead I saw a business center that housed many companies. I walked in to find Matt, the owner of CrossFit Sarasota, slumped on a couc h in the office area. Matt stood up to greet
32 me and I was shocked at his presence. At a bout 6'3", he was quite a bit taller than me, something I do not often run into. He was also a lot bigger; he looked like some of the CrossFit coaches I had seen on Youtube. He wa s very friendly and respectful, but also sarcastic and opinionated. The entire scene remi nded me of when I interviewed at North Carolina School of The Arts. I was given a pict ure and told to write a short story around it, then I had to pitch the story to several faculty members. So, here I was sitting in a room with a man who was not only clearly taller than me, but pretty physically intimidating and I had to pitch my project. I was very nervous that he would say "Hell no, get out of here!" He seemed skeptical to a degree, but curious. I explained that CrossFit as a part of fitness culture interested me, and that a Pale o Diet based in "nutritional anthropology" was fascinating because it c ould demonstrate how members of the public had internalized anthropologica l research. He seemed very interested in where this could go. Sitting in this office space, I wonde red where do these people work out? This is tiny. I asked him if I could get a tour of the facility. We we nt through a door in the back of the room that led to another warehouse space split in two by a wa ll with the opening to pass between the sections. There were large ga rage doors on either side. To me, it had a garage-gym aesthetic and it appe ared pretty minimal. I quick ly identified the pull-up bars, but noticed multiple climbing ropes and an assortment of barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells all scattered throughout the space. Additionally, there were multiple gymnast rings hanging from the pullup bars. I had ye t to see this space occupied; all I could wonder was what it would l ook like with pe ople in it. Step 2: Hanging out at the site
33 I had originally planned to focus on the Pa leo Diet as a fascinating lens for public interpretations of anthropologica l research. I soon realized th at not everyone participated in a Paleo diet, and that this approach to inquiry would limit my scope for interpreting the going-ons at CrossFit Sarasota. In this section, I describe th e day to day activities at CrossFit Sarasota during my planning phase. I mention these details to illustrate that filmmaking and anthropological research are rarely cut-and-dry endeavors, and often require a malleable approach to fieldwork, something that Geertz (1973), Whyte (1996) and Kahn (2007) have all elaborated on in their writing. I see full acknowledgment of methodology as an important aspect of reflexivity. Initially, I planned to go into th e field with my camera almost immediately. Instead, Dr. Erin Dean suggested that I just hang out for a while and engage in participant observation as a way to establis h rapport. She also suggested that I try the "Paleo" diet that the gym prescribed. I took her up on bot h suggestions and went into the field the following day. As Kahn (2007) notes, the observation part of participant observation can be difficult during participation in exercise ( 2007:21). In his case, Kahn was discussing the impossibility of taking fieldnotes during Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I was not grappling with other people, but I was actively running around and lifting weights most of the time, with very little opportunity to st op for fieldnotes. Unlike me, Kahn had a suitable fix for this problem and took a few hours a week just to take notes during class time. For my research I would occasionally jot down notes after workouts, but I found by and large even this was difficult to maintain. As I have mentioned, one of the princi ples of CrossFit is that it is "Constantly
34 Varied, High-Intensity, Functional Movement s,"; this is often called the CrossFit Prescription (Glassman 2007). Workouts are not bound to a single struct ure. Most of the workouts I did included: a brie f jog, stretching, a gymnastics warm-up, either skill work or weightlifting, and then the Workout Of th e Day (WOD). In total, a workout usually lasted 45-50 minutes. This al lowed an hourly structure to the workouts from 4:30-6:30 every week night. These hours fit nicely into my class a nd work schedule. For the first month and a half of my research, I pa rticipated on a semi-regular basis in the classes. Classes included from fi ve to fifteen people, depending on the day, time and workout. I regularly alternated between 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30, depending on the day so that I could try to meet and interact with as many people as possible. I disclosed to everyone that I met that I was working on a short film and write-up as part of my undergraduate thesis in anthropology. Anthropologists have discussed pa rticipant observation in great detail; perhaps most famous is Clifford Geertz's rapportbuilding police chase dur ing his research for "Deep Play: Notes on a Balinese Cockfight ,"(1973). Fortunately for me, however, breaking the law was not cr itical in establishing ra pport at CrossFit Sarasota. Instead, I found guidance in wisdom imparted by William Whyte in "On the Evolution of Street Corner So ciety." Whyte mentions that every situation may require a slightly different manner of participant-obser vation, "To some extent, my approach must be unique to myself, to the particular situation and to the state of knowledge existing when I began research" (1996: 12). Reassura nce from Whyte's writings allowed some creativity on my part. When I did try the classes, I was initially discouraged. It seemed as though
35 everyone else was head and shoulders beyond my capacity. Initiall y, Matt would not let me complete the WOD; I was given an altern ate workout, instead. We often played catchup. Matt suggested that I had multiple mobility issues in my shoulders, hips and ankle. This seemed common throughout the gym. The bottom line seemed to be that everyone had mobility issues, meaning that their range of motion was not ideal. Nobody was perfect and that always left room for improvement. The same was true with technique; it seemed that everyone had a lot of room to work on it. These themes of constant improvement have a place in a larger analysis of CrossFit. If there is always room to improve, one has to wonder where that ends. If the stated goal is to create the allencompassing athlete, then one should ask the question: When is the ideal met? I quickly made connections with seve ral informants, who made it a clear goal to make me feel comfortable. Matt, the owne r, was always accommodating with me. He did his best to make himself av ailable and free. He would c onstantly joke with me and discuss his thoughts about all things CrossF it and Paleo. Gabriella and David were a married couple that helped me along the way as well. Unfortunately, my presence for the fi rst two months was not consistent. I had a personal crisis, which took me out of the field for a week and a half in October. When I returned, I was really worried that any rapport I had built up would be gone. Fortunately, almost nobody seemed to miss me. It made me realize my rapport was not as solid as I thought it had been. Matt was skeptical and seem ed a little upset that I had been gone, but once I opened up and shared that some th ings had come up and apologized for my absence, he seemed to understand. In the end, I was able to build more relationships and, eventually, friendships.
36 Step 3: Materials Before I began filming, I needed to be su re that I had the co rrect equipment. I used a Sony Handycam HD 16 GB Hard Drive Disk Camera to record my footage. It is considered consumer-grade camcorder, whic h can sell for almost $275. This camera has very high-resolution and its inte rnal hard drive is capable of holding more than 16 hours of HD footage. I prefer the hard drive camer a to the miniDV tapes because I do not have to constantly buy new tapes and turn the camer a off to replace them. With digital video, I was able to leave my camera running for exte nded periods of time. This helped to facilitate longer shots. However, the downs ide of the high-resolution footage is that it requires a lot of memory for storage. On average, a minut e of raw HD footage takes up about a GB on my computer. As a result, I had purchased an external hard drive for earlier projects, in this case, a 2 Terabyte Western Digital Elements External Hard Drive, which I continued to use for this project. I spent $120 on th is hard drive in 2011. Between the built-in hard drive and the external, I was able to guarantee that the quantity of footage I obtained would not be a problem. While the camera has an internal mi crophone, a quite good one, I found benefits in utilizing a shot-gun microphone. Additionall y, I rented a ManFrotto Tripod from the New College Academic Resource Center. I also purchased a Lenssee MidX Camera Stabilizer for $100 with funds from the anth ropology program. While I attempted to use it during shots where I moved around, I found be tter results with hand -held techniques. II. Production: Though I have had some prior ex perience in filming in terviews, the idea of
37 filming a group of people exercising together was entirely new for me. As Ruby (2005) suggests, the value of the camera lies in its ab ility to capture visual data regarding human bodies: "Movement, space and time are the cultural variables for which the camera is best suited" (2005:47). For this reason, filming at CrossFit Sarasota was important, as most of my points of inquiry were related to the so cial constructions of space, place and the human body. As Ruby suggests, the camera is suited to a study of embodiment; however, the lack of technical proficiency within th e field leads to a probl em of method (2005:51). With methodology in mind, I moved fo rward in my research, conscious of the fact that, as Whyte had suggested for writte n ethnography, the task of constructing an adequate methodology is dependent on the cont ext of the research and the conscience of the researcher. What follows is a discussion of my approach to filming both classes and interviews at CrossFit Sarasota during the s econd month and half of my time on site. I have decided that since I employed very di fferent techniques between interviews and classes, such a division is fitti ng. In addition, this structure w ill allow me to more clearly examine the methodology I utilized throughout the production process. Filming Classes: My entire production process took place on site at CrossFit Sarasota. I have chosen to split this section into two, in or der to discuss my evolving method for filming classes, as well as my established method of conducting interviews After attending the site for so many weeks on end, it became clear that production would necessitate two different style of filming. Uncomfortable is th e most appropriate word that I can think of to summarize the initial experience of filming at CrossFit Sarasota. There is an inevitable lack of comfort in being the only other pers on besides the coach who is not working out.
38 Classes at CrossFit Sarasota require a styl e of filming that matches their intensity. Initially, I was content to ju st leave the camera running on th e Manfrotto tripod as events unfolded in front of it. However, as I becam e more interested in capturing the frantic pace, I began to move around with the camera, so as to elicit a similar feeling. The handheld footage I got was interesting, but I al so began to experime nt with carrying the tripod around with me as I filmed. This helped to stabilize shots at times. When I brought the camera in initially, people seemed a little concerned and confused, although I had told most of them when we first that I would be using the camera for research. For me, this became a challenge, but one that I was able to overcome when Matt helped me out. Everyone asked what the film would be about. My response was that I had no real agenda; I was not proor anti-CrossFit walking in. I just thought CrossFit was interesting and I was cu rious about why people made it a routine part of their lives. I filmed classes and tried to let everyone know beforehand. Yet, people still would ask me what I was doing and who I was. Eventu ally, Matt helped me by pausing at the beginning of class and asking me to introduce my self. This was very helpful. I think Matt could tell that I was nervous and that I was not always the best at communicating my presence. It almost felt as if I had to prove my pr esence at the site. I di d not want to be just the awkward college kid who was filming his thesis. Unfortunately, I do not think I was successful in avoiding that id entifier. When I look back on it and consider that these people paid a lot of money to exercise in a group setting, it may have been bizarre that somebody wanted to film this activity. When I asked people to sign my consent forms,
39 however, they were always en thusiastic and expressed grea t interest in my project. As I have mentioned, classes at Cros sFit Sarasota were organized by increments of an hour. I tried to center my fieldwor k around the 5:30-6:30 time frame. Prior to filming, I would show up for an hour a few times a week in the after noon to make myself a familiar face around the gym. After I began fi lming, some days I would work out at 5:30 and film at 6:30. Filming Interviews: My final few days of filming focused solely on interviews. All inte rviews took place at CrossFit Sarasota. With the exception of my conversations with owner Matt Wilmoth, I conducted most interviews in a storage r oom on site. The location allowed me to interview people in a private space, but at a time that was convenient for them. My process for asking questions was always free-form. Occasionally, I will write down some ideas for questions, but I tried not to read from a notepad or paper because I believed that this might serve as an unnecessa ry barrier. Furthermore, as an ethnographer I very rarely walk in with an established seri es of questions. In most cases, I asked people to tell me their names and from there, I began to ask them to "tell me a little more about [themselves]." I asked each individual what br ought him or her back to CrossFit Sarasota, and depending on the answer. I found that c onversational approaches to interviews allowed me for great interviews. III. Post Production: Materials: In addition to my external hard drive, th e post-production process required a computer. I used my MacBook Pro, as it has both iMovi e and Final Cut Pro installed.
40 Editing: I began editing footage in early December, 2011. The result was an extended process that lasted all the way until April 2012, as I e xperimented with various techniques. Final Cut Pro: New advancements of software in post -production have allo wed filmmakers to edit from their computers. In this section, I briefly discuss some important aspects about my mode of editing, using a softwa re for Mac called Final Cut Pro. A whole series of non-linear editing systems have been created so that filmmakers and consumers can edit their footage on computers. Non-linear refers to the ability to scroll through film, without having to watch it sequentially, essentially one can access any frame at any time throughout the timeline. In the case of Figure 1, Final Cut Pro, the editing suite, whic h I used throughout the editing process, offers a non-linear workst ation. The entire screen allows the viewer to see a project. The upper left hand corner is the Browser where audio, video and image files have been imported into the project. The center screen is the Viewer where the user Fi g ure 1: Final Cut Pro workstation a nonlinear editin g s y stem.
41 can see a selected scene from the browser. The bottom half is the Timeline where clips are aligned as part of the project. There is a Toolbar to the very right of the timeline, where the editor can select tool s to sync audio and cut clips into usable components. The Canvas is the upper right hand screen, which th e viewer can review the timeline. In Figure 1, one can see the scene I am currently editing in Final Cut Pro. Vimeo: I bought a $10 per month account with Vimeo so th at I could store a lot of video online. I was also able to regularly use Vimeo to soli cit feedback from my peers by asking them to view password-protected material I posted on th e site. These experiences helped me to decide on appropriate avenues for expressing reflexivity.
42 Chapter 3 Constantly Varied, Functional Movements at High Intensity Introduction Constantly Varied/Functional captures the majority of my ethnographic research. Nonethless, written ethnogr aphic content is important to my study. As David MacDougall has established, written ethnogra phy has clearly different aims from ethnographic film, including the property of explicit examination (MacDougall 2006). For this reason, this chapter provides an in-depth look at CrossFit as a brand and organization, providing an explanation of te rms and key concepts regarding the workouts and organization. According to Bloomberg Bu siness Week, CrossFit Inc. is an online company that focuses on fitness (2012). In th is chapter, I dig slightly deeper and take CrossFit on its own terms. The brain child of Greg "Coach" Glassman and his ex-wife, Lauren Glassman CrossFit was founded in 200 0. To this day, there are many affiliates. CrossFit.com went live in 2001. Headquarters, or HQ, refers to the core group that licenses out the CrossFit name to Affiliate s. CrossFit Sarasota is one of almost 3500 affiliates. In this chapter, I address the limitations of my ethnographic video by providing additional background on CrossFit and CrossFit Sa rasota. I use text to explicitly tie my fieldwork to establish anthr opological theories. What follo ws is a brief map of this chapter. I begin with a discussion regarding cont ext on multiple levels. On the first, I discuss the Laura Nader's (1972) theory of studying up, arguing that my work is a modification of this kind of analysis. I conc lude this section by establishing early assumptions that I had, before I began my fieldwork. I explore CrossFit's program and structure in its own terms to facilitate a di scussion that additionally addresses external
43 criticisms of the program. I then identify wh at differentiates CrossFit Sarasota from the larger CrossFit Structure. In a final sec tion, I bridge my observations from CrossFit Sarasota to larger anthropological ideas of the construction of place, community and habitus. Context for Research I saw my research CrossFit Sarasota as a manner of "studying up," a term that Laura Nader (1972) employed to explain a critical examinatio n of the middle-class within their own society, a component that was often missing from anthropology. In deciding to conduct my fieldwork, I knew it would be proble matic and perhaps controversial to focus on a group of middle-class people working out I would like to acknowledge that many anthropologists carry on a trad ition of conducting research within the United States and I would argue that this is an importa nt, if not essential area of study. The details of Nader's theory force me to qualify my use of it. Nader (1972) proposed that student interest scientific adequacy, and democratic relevance were important reasons to "study up," (1972: 284). Nader noticed that most of her students seemed interested in examining institutions and businesses that dir ectly or indirectly affected their lives (1972: 284-9). While CrossF it Sarasota did not qualify as something that directly affected my life, I was drawn to it due to my interest in fitness and nutrition.. Through CrossFit Sarasota, I approach the prefer red manner of exercising for a relatively wealthy group of people. I do not claim that Nader's interpretati on of "studying up," in which she proposed examining the power stru ctures within the United States, is met verbatim, but through my research, I demonstr ate that "studying up," can be achieved by identifying exclusive communities, conducting re search within them and subjecting them
44 to the same anthropological sc rutiny that is often directed elsewhere. While not everyone at Cross-Fit Sarasota is wealthy, the middleclass is still a group largely left unexamined by anthropology. I felt my research was an important opportunity to examine a small, relatively exclusive group within my own culture. As a student of anthropology it is important that I acknowledge what expectations I brought with me into the field. I have always been interested in the relationships that some people create with exercise, which is why I have done ethnographic projects at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and boxing gyms. I even briefly took up both of these activities and what I found in both instances was that the people I interviewed had developed something deeper than a desire to be fit. CrossFit, Brazilian JiuJitsu and boxing are all dangerous activities. With Br azilian Jiu-Jitsu, a grappling system based on submission holds, the holding of a single submission for too long can result in unconsciousness or broken limbs. A rough sparring session in boxing can results in concussions. An intense CrossFit workout can result in muscle strains and tears, as well as a risk of dropping weights on yourself or others. My initial assumptions were that CrossFit was a dangerous way of exercising that wealthy people particip ated in. I thought that a combination of weightlifting, running, calisthenics, gymnastics, all done at a ridiculously fast pace for anywhere from 3-25 minutes coul d not help but be dangerous. What is CrossFit? In this section, I explor e concepts that create a foundation for the CrossFit Program. To start with, perhaps a definition is in order, and for that I return to what Greg Glassman, the co-founder of CrossFit, refers to as the CrossFit Prescription: "Constantly varied, High-Intensity Functional Movement (2007: 1). The vagueness of this term
45 requires that I analyze each clause. In a sens e, I am analyzing the concept of CrossFit in its own terms. For help with this, I employ The CrossFit Journal a publication from HQ with numerous articles related to training/ programming methods, nutrition and CrossFit success stories. I hope to provide readers with very little understandi ng of weight-lifting a lens through which they can address the rest of this chapter Additionally, I want to explain that CrossFit is a cont roversial way to exercise. Constantly Varied: The clause "Constantly varied" signifies multiple simultaneous meanings. First, it refers to the constantly ch anging structure and duration of workouts on a day-to-day basis. Second, the clause reflects the alternation betw een exercises as a workout progresses. For instance, a workout may be gin with a run and end with an Olympic Weightlifting component. The clause "Constantly Varied" while very to the point, covers many details about CrossFit. The varying day-to-day structure is embodied through the Workout of the Day. There is a claim that one will rarely, if ever, see the same workout twice. According to "Coach" Glassman: "We sought to build a prog ram that would best prepare trainees for any physical contingencyprepare them not only for the unknown but for the unknowable" (Glasman 2007). This notion of th e unknown is meant to be the issue that the constantly varied nature of workouts answers. The term "Constanlty varied," has gene rated a lot of criticism among fitness experts. However, CrossFit does have indi cators for performance improvements, or benchmark workouts. In addition to servi ng as indicators of progress, benchmark workouts tend to be named after women (Gla ssman 2003). While Glassman suggests that
46 the names originated from the Hurricane system he then elaborates with a joke about sex, "Anything that leaves you flat on your back and incapacitated only to lure you back for more at a later date certainly deserves na ming" (Glassman 2003: 5). The joke has an obvious target audience, a stra ight male population, which may in fact be a significant point. However, it also addresse s that the framers of this system are themselves, straight males. In fact, most of the prominent na mes associated with CrossFit HQ are males. However, my experiences at CrossFit Sarasota do not necessarily re-e nforce this narrative of overbearing sexism. While I may be taking one joke a little too far, I do think that it reveals something about who is meant to CrossF it. There are certainly relevant arguments to be made regarding the exclusivity of CrossFit, but the sexist sentiment runs contrary to what I found at CrossFit Sarasota where I saw people of all ages, male and female exercising. High Intensity The next clause, "High-Intensity," refers to effort exerted throughout workouts, the idea being that WODs are meant to be very difficult. CrossFit has generated what I argue is an inclusive definition of High-Inte nsity. The inclusivity of the program is evident through its use of scali ng--that is, the ability to modi fy the weight and intesnsity of a workout, which is something that Gl assman preaches. We've used our same routines for elderly individuals with heart disease and cage ghters one month out from televised bouts. We scale load and intensit y; we don't change pr ograms" (2001: 10). The claim to inclusivity allows people of many different age groups and conditions to participate in workouts; howev er, every workout is written with an Rx (as prescribed)
47 weight or intensity, and while some may stri ve towards a goal of Rxing workouts, the argument for scalability does lend credibility to the idea of inclusive workouts. But this paradigm is not free from criticis m. In fact, the intensity of CrossFit, in conjunction with the physical techniques of th e exercises within WODs, has caused some to question the safety of the workouts. For ex ample, such combinations led to the injury of a man named Makimba Mimms in Bristow, Virginia (Mumollo and Davenport 2008). In a lawsuit, Mimms argued that due to the in tensity of a CrossFit workout at an affiliate gym, he acquired a disorder known as rhabdomyolysis-where muscle fiber breaks down and leads to a release of myogl obin in the bloodstream, which can in turn leads to severe kidney damage (2008:1). As a result, Mimms lawyers argue he will not be able to participate in exercise or sports. CrossF it HQ has responded with an another article written by "Coach" Glassman, which acknowledg es the potential of the disorder from prolonged workouts at High Intensity. Functional Movements Glassman emphasizes the development of gymnastics, weightlifting and Sprinting, which is in the end the goal of CrossFit. Th e gymnastics element is only partially related to the Olympi c sport, but more importantly it refers to bodily control (2002: 5). These movements can include all cal isthenics: pushups, pullups, situps, dips and rope climbing (Glassman 2002: 5). Weightli fting, meanwhile, refers to two separate kinds of weight lifting, Olympic Weightlifti ng and Power Lifting. Olympic Weightlifting specifically focuses on: the deadlift (Figure 2) the squat (Figure 3) the clean (Figure 4), the jerk (Figure 4) a nd the snatch (Figure 4) (Glassman 2002:7). Power lifting refers to
48 the movements that include: The bench press, the deadlift and the squat. (Glassman 2002: 7). Sprinting includes any activity at inte rmittent duration, with a set rest period. (http://www.catalystathletics.com/ media/photo/photo.php ?photoID=1489) Figure 2: The Deadlift
49 (http://www.catalystathletics.com/ media/photo/photo.php ?photoID=1882) (http://www.coachr.org/weightlif ting_in_training_for_athletics.htm) Figure 4 : Diagram of the Snatch, Clean, and Jerk Figure 3 : The Squat
50 The Zone: CrossFit HQ advocates a diet known as the Zone. Barry Sears, a research biochemist created the diet and wrote an accompanying book (Sears 1995). This diet emphasizes adequately measuring and weighi ng all foods. Macronutri ents are broken up into blocks, as opposed to calories. The Z one advocates a near equal ratio of Macro nutrients with 40% carbohydrate 30% protein and 30% fat (Sears 1995). While the Zone protocol is standard for CrossFit HQ, I descri be later in this chapter that Matt does not advocate this diet, and instead refers to a di et that is predominantly grain-free and soyfree. The CrossFit Games: Additionally, one thing that unifies all CrossFit gyms are the CrossFit games, a competition that takes place once a year wh ere every person who pays a $20 fee can participate, regardless of whether he or she participates at a Cro ssFit affiliate or a home gym. The qualifying workouts begin around Marc h and last for five weeks, with one different workout per week. The participants post their times on the Internet. The United States is divided into a se ries of regions. In 2011, th e Reebok CrossFit Games were broadcasted on ESPN 3. On The Ramp: An Introduction to CrossFit Sarasota When I first went to CrossFit Sarasota, I began working out with regular classes. As time progressed, both Matt and I realized that I was somewhat over my head in my method of participant observ ation. I did not know some t echniques for the fundamentals of CrossFit Sarasota. He recommended that I go to an introductory course that was held in October. During these classes I learned we ightlifting techniques that were integral to
51 the WODs. In this section, I illustrate the da ily procedures of CrossFit Sarasota in detail; I describe the programming at Cr ossFit Sarasota, with the init ial warm ups, the skill work and then the Workout of the Day. By the time this section has concluded, the reader will have an understanding of the basic day to day structure during my time there. WOD : Matt Wilmoth, the owner of CrossFit Sa rasota, programmed the Workout of the Day. The Workout of the Day at CrossFit Sa rasota encompassed up to three potential elements: a brief calisthenic warm up, a skill which was usually a weight lifting technique, and a small workout. After an initi al run, members would typically participate in additional stretching and gy mnastics exercises. The skil l could be a hand-stand, pushup or another gymnastics movement, but was mos tly a weightlifting technique, such as variations of the Squat and Deadlift, as we ll as the Snatch, Clean and Jerk. The workouts that followed encompass what is referred to as metabolic conditioning. These workouts attempted to physically tax the participan ts. Like CrossFit HQ WODs, these workouts often had an RX weight. Paleo: Whereas CrossFit prescribes the Zone diet Matt at CrossFit Sarasota offered a nutrition seminar, which emphasized that peop le avoid "agents of disease." Among this list, Matt included gluten, wh eat, soy, fructose and polyunsaturated fats, specifically Omega 6 fatty acids. The result was a diet that has been referred to as a "Paleo," diet. This term was not always used at CrossF it Sarasota; however, it was important. Matt demonstrated that he was wary of the term, but other people used it frequently. In this section, I describe the Paleo diet at CrossF it Sarasota. I hope to demonstrate in this
52 section that the diet is an important inte rsection between anthr opological research and public interpretation. Additionally, I provide a critique of the term "paleo." "Paleo is a dirty word," Matt told me afte r I asked him about the diet. This was in September, one of my first days of hanging out and participating at CrossFit Sarasota. "You can't hunt sabertooth tigers," he told me at a later date. What is the paleo diet? It was introduced to me as: Avoiding grains, legumes, seed oils and most dairy. Some people argue against all dairy, others accept it as a reasonable compromise. So, I did what any decent researcher would do. I tried a paleo di et as prescribed, to see if I felt better. My standard diet was already very sim ilar and had been previously inspired by "Paleo" diets I had read about online, just because I found that it was something I could stick to and enjoy. While I canno t regularly afford grassfed b eef or pastured eggs, I did my best to keep my budget so that I could do these things. I kept my carbohydrate intake relativel y low and focused on eating grassfed groundbeef, liver, eggs from pastured or cag e-free chickens and coconut oil. For vegetables, I would eat plenty of spinach and mushrooms, as these were my favorites, but I did not go for starchy tubers, mostly because I had a hard time enjoying them. I would learn afterwards would be a major mistake. I aimed for about 2500 calories per day, while weighing approximately 175 lbs. That would be enough to maintain my weight. My weight made no noticeable adjustment durin g the thirty days that I maintained this diet, but after the two-week mark, I felt in credible. By the third week, however, I was sick. Very sick. I missed multiple days of class and fieldwork as a result. I cannot attribute my illness to the diet, I'm fairly certain I know why this happened; I am just reporting my results.
53 As I have suggested, there are severe pr oblems with term "Paleo." For starters, there was no one diet th at all gatherer-hunters 1 consumed. Such a view risks perpetuating myths. Furthermore, The Paleo diet conflates Paleolithic gatherer-hunt er diets with those of gatherer-hunter diets of the very recent past. This is all the more troubling as it perpetuates ideas about the "noble savage." Stanley Boyd Eaton, Melvin Konner and Marjorie Shostak (1996) attempted to demonstrate that a replica of a Paleolithic diet may be beneficial. Their research, however, does not avoid conflating Paleolithic gather-hunters with contemporary gatherhunters (Eaton, Konner and Shostak, 1996). These authors believe that while contemporary inquiry is important, they can be enhanced by looking at the past: "The science of nutrition must ultimately be based on animal, laboratory, clinical and epidemiological investigati ons, but the value of information derived from these approaches might be enhanced by correlation with evolutionary a nd paleoanthropological principles" (Eaton, Konner, and Shostak, 1996: 1732). Some versions of the Paleo diet, as mark eted today are relatively low-carb (See: Sisson 2009, Wolf 2010, Cordain 2010). As reflected in Constantly Varied/Functional the diet at CrossFit Sarasota was not nece ssarily fixed. Some people consumed milk, while others used butter. This only blurs the line about what the diet truly means. Additionally, not ever yone followed it. Theoretical Concerns with CrossFit Sarasota: While I wanted to let my video speak for itself, I would be missing an opportunity to generate further anthropologi cal understanding of CrossFit. When I screened some of 1 I prefer this term because its implications are more gender neutral and it reflects that most often gathering was more often the case.
54 my footage, one member of the audience que stioned a scene in which a WOD was taking place. The footage shows a group of men work ing out inside, while a group of women work outside. This brought up a whole set of issu es that I felt were important to address. The audience member asked about gendered space. In this section, I briefly look at questions of the body, class, gender and race at CrossFit Sarasota. CrossFit Sarasota emerged as a site wher e people were trying to adjust their bodies. Every person I interviewed wanted some adjustment, be it strength, weight loss, muscle gain. CrossFit Sarasota presented an interesting opportunity to look at how people cultivate their bodies in order to create idea lized bodies. While some have focused on the creation of the perfect body (see Johannson 1996), I believe that CrossFit Sarasota was a place where people seek to improve on some aspect of the body and performance, but nobody I talked to mentioned perfection. I thi nk this is encompassed within a larger belief that CrossFit athletes wi ll never be perfect, just we ll rounded. This presents an interesting paradigm shift from bodybuildi ng, which many have demonstrated urges the building of a perfect body (1996). When the viewer asked about gendered spac e, I promised it would be something I would explain in further detail. Upon review of my work, I have determined that gendered space does not seem to exist at CrossFit Sarasota. I had remembered that there were often times that men and women worked out inside, some times that some men and women worked inside, while other worked out side. What the viewer was seeing in this instance, was that the class was full and not ev eryone had space to work inside, so some people chose to work outside. Another inte resting note is that everyone shares one bathroom.
55 In addition, I believe CrossFit Sarasota de monstrated an inversion of the gendered space to which Johannson refers (1996). In hi s work, he suggests that weightlifting gyms have traditionally been male gendered spaces (1996). Yet, interestingly, CrossFit Sarasota members were over 70% women. Matt s uggested that men were lazy and full of pride and could not let go of ego in order to complete a WOD. This was an interesting image, and perhaps a more inclusiv e model of what fitness meant. Perhaps the only place I can think of as a potentially gendered space appeared during Skill Work. Matt separa ted the classes into groups according to height and strength. This meant that women were groupe d together and men were grouped together; however, the positioning of "stations" was so mewhat complicated, in that he would not consistently assign women to one area and me n to another. Instead, we were assorted throughout the space. Another potential issu e of gender is that the Rx weight for women was often significantly less than that for men. For in stance, in Fran, one of the benchmark workouts, the Thruster 2 Rx for men is 135 lbs and for women it is 95 lbs. The case seems to be that physiologically men can handle more stress and resistance, or typically can. I, however, will be the first to note that on various occasions, women outlifted me. Also, because these weights are scalable it makes a solid analysis a little hard, but it does suggest that CrossFit assumes a paradigm that men should be stronger than women, though this was not always the case. With regard to race, I remember at one point when I mentioned I was working on an ethnographic film, a few participants laughed because they assumed that it had 2 A combination of a squat and an overhead press.
56 something to do with studying racial diversity. They claimed that there was a lack of minorities at the site. This point touches on tw o things the lack of racial diversity at CrossFit Sarasota and the importance of my research. Racial diversity was not largely missing at CrossFit Sarasota and perhaps this reflects the larger demographics within the Sarasota area, a largely white area. While I met a handful of people who were non-white, most of my informants were Caucasian. There was no stated animosity towards black people or any other race, as far as I could tell. My video attempts to illustrate that th e exclusivity of CrossFit Sarasota could be construed to cover race as well. Though CrossF it Sarasota may be racially exclusive, I would argue it is probabl y unintentionally so. Class, however, was an additional focus of my research. CrossFit classes cost between $129 and $150 dollars per month, depe nding on how often one wanted to go. As a result, the people who come have disposable incomes. This distinction is important to make. CrossFit is open to those who can afford it, meaning the site was an economically exclusive place. The issue of exclusivity was ti ed mostly to socioeconomic class. When I brought this to Matt's attenti on, he suggested that mostly white-collar workers came the gym, but that participating in lessons wa s a matter of budgeting. He openly rejected my notion that CrossFit was socioeconomically ex clusive. The result was an enclave of middle-class people who worked out on a regular basis together and formed a community around the CrossFit classes. In this section, I approach the site Cro ssFit Sarasota as a place filled with meaning where community is established around id eas of fitness, self-modification and competition. As Margaret Rodman suggests, "Place is problem in contemporary
57 anthropology," (640). Numerous previous au thors have dealt with the construction of space and place across societies. In this sec tion, I attempt to grapple with issues of CrossFit Sarasota exclusive space and wh at that means about who can and cannot workout there. My analysis is broadly c oncerned with what I see as contradictory sentiments between what CrossFit aims to do in being an "open-source" workout, with an understanding that it takes a lot of money to participate. I examine CrossFit Sarasota as a closed-off community that is accepting of new members, but not necessarily an economically viable option. Community, Place and Habitus at CrossFit Sarasota Now that I have established key te rms surrounding CrossFit and CrossFit Sarasota, I will analyze CrossFit Sarasota's spatial layout. I argue that the community aspect of CrossFit Sarasota causes the sp ace to become an identifiable place. In his study of proxemics, Edward T. Hall (2003) determined that the space that people utilize for activities conveys symbolic meanings. Additionally, researchers have Figure 5 : CrossFit Sarasota, courtesy of Google Maps
58 suggested a concept of inscribed spaces, where humans write meaning onto space and create place (see Low and Lawr ence-Zuniga 2003). As a result I argue that participants at CrossFit Sarasota make "space" into pl ace through a process of creating a community through shared experience, the experience of the WOD. That is to say that the site becomes a place, not only because it houses a bus iness, but because its members establish a community. This reflects two different im aginaries about what CrossFit Sarasota means. But before I elaborat e on this point, I will begin by explaining the spatial layout of CrossFit Sarasota. Low and Zuniga (2003) emphasize that spatia l analysis is important in examining sites in urban centers. While I did not approach CrossFit to conduct a spatial analysis, I can briefly examine the spatial geography of th e site. CrossFit Sarasota occupies a space just off I-75, very close to resi dential area. It is housed in a complex that is referred to as a series of "business condos." The desi gn of this gym houses both an office and warehouse area. However, I would argue that the geographic location of this is perhaps least important to my analysis. In this sect ion, I approach the idea of analyzing CrossFit Sarasota as a space where social meaning is constructed. Before I can engage in a deeper analysis of CrossFit Sarasota as place, I must acknowledge the glaring fact that its status as a place of business makes it a place. It functions as a capitalist firm, in which its owner, Matt, aims to generate a profit. However, larger meanings are inscribed onto th e site. I propose that there are two ideas of place at work: a) a physical place of business and b) a space on which meaning has been inscribed by participants, w ho identify it as a place where members of a community meet
59 and partake in the shared experience of CrossF it. The later idea will be the focus of my argument. Constantly Varied/Functional captures many subjects discussing the closeness they feel to their peers at the site, due to a shared expe rience. While members identify a sense of community around ideas of fitne ss, it is my job to explore the implicit suggestions that outline that community. As a result, the remainder of this section will focus on observations and discussions I had regarding issues of ability, gender and class at CrossFit Sarasota. The sheer intensity of CrossFit WODs seem to promote a tight community. People are able to relate to each other through their fascinati on with fitness, hard work, and competition. The shared experience of WODs further cements this relationship. David informed me of his first CrossFit expe rience in which he came to love CrossFit: David: This would be the be st example: I was in the last round of a group and I was doing a workout and I was finishing at the end and I was doing it pretty intensely. So its me and this one guy a nd we're the last ones up there and I just had a circle of 12-15 people behind me. They didn't know me, alright? Someone must have told them my name because th ey all knew my name But, they're all like Let's go, David! Two more, you got it!' And I was dead, I was fried and I was like Well if they say I can get it, I guess I can get it!' You know? And I pushed out those two more and I get down and everyone is cheering and highfiving you Having experienced WODs regularly duri ng my research, I will acknowledge that I felt a major relief knowing I was capable of completing the task and a pride in the sense that my peers were able to do the same. I felt, at times, as if I was part of the experience. It felt very similar to being on the swim team in high school. In the case of CrossFit Sarasota, a community is formed which dedica tes itself to the modification of the human body in order to become better athletes.
60 I have identified CrossFit Sarasota as a place where people came together to work out and that workouts help so lidify a community which brings meaning to the space. In turn, people generate an understanding of CrossFit Sara sota that simultaneously acknowledges it as a business as well as place where a comm unity meets. The location of CrossFit Sarasota in a relatively suburban area of Sarasota, off the interstate, facilitates an escape for many participants. Within this spa ce, many members have constructed an idea of community that is not open. Entry to th e community requires a dedication to one's physical fitness, and also tim e and money to participate in CrossFit workouts. In this section, I argue that while CrossFit is homoge neous in terms of race, the exclusionary process is subtle. The community maintains itself as a middle-class enclave where people are dedicated to their fitness; the monthly f ee and time commitment to participating in the activity is, in and of itself, a self-limiting factor. At CrossFit Sarasota, $150 guarantees that an individual can workout up to six times per week. The $129 guarantees that that a participant can trai n three days. Neither package is affordable for people working a mi nimum-wage job. On top of this, CrossFit classes last an hour. As a result, it requ ires a free time, which many working class individuals may not be able to accommodate I hesitate to over-generalize in my approach, as I have interviewed people who we re students and had part -time jobs at retail stores. What I want to suggest, however, is that economic class does appear to be a barrier to entry into the community at CrossFit Sarasota. Habitus At CrossFit Sarasota: Most contemporary discussions of capitalism discuss neoliberalism as a model of global capitalism and overuse what was on ce a useful piece of jargon that conveys
61 specific meanings. I steer clear of this debacl e; instead, I choose to focus on ideas of American capitalism and liberal individualism, which promote the value of hard work for success, productivity, efficiency and competition. In order to frame my discussion, I rely on Pierre Bourdieu's theory of habitus to discuss the physical embodiment of cultural values, in this case American capitalism, to provide a perspective on CrossFit Sarasota. As a theory, Bourdieu's appro ach is not without its limitation s, and this is certainly not the only way I could characterize my analysis. It is, however, an extremely useful tool. In order to make this theory work, I mu st juggle the ideas of individualism that are prominent to America's brand of capitalism with Bourdieu's theory of practice, which negotiates the tensions of the individual and the struct ural. While habitus gives more credence to the structural, I do not find this contradictory. I am framing the idea of liberal individualism as a cultural value that is embodied at the site. As such, I do not necessarily treat this theory of individualism as a truth, but an idea that permeates. Habitus perhaps can best be described as the individual's em bodiment of cultural values "Habitus are generative principles of distinct and di stinctive practices what the worker eats, and especially the way he eats it, the sport he practices and the way he practices it" (1998: 8). But perhaps even that explanation does not go far enough to explain the nuances of Bourdieu's point, ad ditionally he poses the problem that the human mind is "socially bounded, socially struct ured," also calling habitus a "socialized subjectivity" (1992:126). I have used habitus to explain an observation I made, that the values of CrossFit, those of progressive im provements of constantly varied, functional movements, executed at high intensity, cause participants to embody broader capitalist concepts as cultural values.
62 In this section, I grapple with an idea of American individualism that is inherently tied to a myth of capitalism. While capitalis m is the economic model that shapes our country's political structure, I argue that the American interpreta tion of capitalism reenforces the status of the individual. L ook no further than the writings of Ayn Rand (1967), who pushed a deeply individualistic slan t. I argue that capitalism promotes values of productivity, efficiency, competition and pr ogress. All of these characteristics are embodied through particip ation in CrossFit. Historian Eric Foner (2009) suggest that the term individualism "entered the language in the 1820s to describe the pur suit of personal advancement and private fulfillment free of outside inte rference" (2009: a-40). Furthe rmore, myths of American individualism are propagated in our contemporary political di scourse (see Romney 2012). Authors such as George Lips itz (2005) have grappled w ith the idea that the myth of liberal individualism is capab le of hiding larger structur al issues, including racism. While I am less interested in disproving the idea of liberal individualism, I am interested in revealing it as a cultural value that plays out among th e participants at CrossFit Sarasota. By placing a large emphasis on its partic ipants, who come to see their success and failure as generated from their own input, Cr ossFit Sarasota's community manifests these individualist values. Members of CrossFit Sa rasota begin to embody ideas of hard work, progress, productivity, efficiency and competition, in their quest to become more successfully fit. Certainly, it ta kes a lot of "hard work" to be good a CrossFit, as it is a rigorous workout, but the point is that these ideas have a point of origin that should be revealed and examined.
63 For some, success may mean some form of body modification, through weight loss or muscle gain. In this sense, success can be dependent on the individual's goal, but nonetheless, the assumption is that a strong Cr ossFit work-ethic will lead to one's goals, so long as the individual fulfills the required i nput, in this case participation in CrossFit workouts and the Paleo diet. The idea of a short-cut to success does not fit into the narrative to which CrossFit Sarasota's members subscribe, nowhere is this more clear than in an interview when I brought up the potential i ssue of steroids: Matt: There is no shortcut to CrossFit, you just have to come in, work hard and get good at it. I can't take steroids an d get good at CrossFit, because while your lifts might go up, everything else will suffer. This instance demonstrated not only a re jection of a "shortcut," but additionally, a concerted emphasis that CrossFit requires hard work, which is explicitly stated. The result is a clear demonstration of the manne r that individualist ideology has permeated the CrossFit narrative and, thus the bodies of the particip ants, who embody this value through their consistent dedica tion to completing workouts. Additionally, CrossFit Sarasota's workout s embrace an idea of efficiency. As I have suggested earlier in the chapter, workouts are structured to provide a broad base of fitness, perhaps an efficient way of prepar ing for the unknown. As Ken, a participant, put it, this efficiency may be one of CrossFits strongest points: Ken: ...Dude, just exercising this way, in an all-encompassing way, you're not going to be, you know, the best lifter or you're not going to be the best runner, so in a way people will joke about you be ing mediocre at ev erything, but I can guarantee you, as someone who is exposed to many different things, is going to be fitter across the whole broad spectrum than anybody else that you will come across...
64 The narrative of efficiency is not lost on members of CrossFit Sarasota; Ken believed that the "all-encompassing," manner is more e fficient than another approach. Members seemed to view themselves as particip ating in an efficient workout system. The discourse of competition is also important. Participants not only compete with their own records, but with each other. As Ken told me: I love getting someone that's close to your fitness level and being able to compete with them everyday. Whether it is lifting for max weight or whether it is a conditioning workout. That's a huge motiv ator for being able to push yourself further than you thought possible. The assumption in this statement and others lik e it that I've gathered is that competition breeds success. Conclusion With this chapter, I have demonstrated the limitations of Constantly Varied/Functional as an ethnographic narrative. I have utilized a supplemental text to provide additional insights in to both CrossFit HQ and CrossF it Sarasota. Additionally, I examined issues of exclusive community and the construction of place at the site. What follows is a examination of the editing process.
65 Chapter 4: A Model for Editing a Digital Ethnographic Film "Filmmaking is afterall a question of framing reality in its course," Trinh T. Minh-ha (101) Introduction The digital medium has opened up comple tely new opportunities for filmmakers. As George Lucas points out, editing in th e digital medium has become significantly easier "[Digital Video] is much more open, offers you more options and enables you to manipulate the pictures more," he notes, "The re's a lot of freedom and malleability that didn't exist before. It's easy to move things ar ound in the frame, to change various visual aspects of the film, which just wasn't possi ble before" (in Magid 2002). Director Robert Rodriguez excitedly proclaimed that digital was the future, far before film critic Roger Ebert was ready to admit it: "You don't wait six hours for a scene to be lighted. You want a light over here, you grab a light and put it over here. You want a nuclear submarine, you make one out of thin air and put your char acters into it" (in Ebert 2005). Ebert had previously written an essay proclaiming that film would outlast digital (Ebert 1999), but if one looks at many of the movies currently released, they rely on digital video and digital projectors. Editing in the digital age evokes excitement for obvious reasons; it completely changes the cap abilities of storytelling. While Hollywood has greatly benefitted from this development, digital simultaneously raises new ethical questions about documentary filmmaking. I argue that American society places great emphasis on the visual record for proof; the American justice system utilizes video and images as evidence. In this chapter, I attempt to dist ill the problems that digital video may pose for ethnographic film, then disc uss potentia l solutions.
66 As I have established, film is a construc tion, even when it may appear unbiased. Sometimes by appearing to be nonexistent the authoritat ive subtextual voice of ethnographic film remains hidden, but looming. It highlights the concer ns of authenticity, ethnographic authority, and representation sh ared by anthropologists working in all media. My primary focus in this chapter is to examine issues re garding the ethnographic film editing process, including representa tion and ethnographic authority. I will also describe how I have dealt with these issues throughout the editing process. As a secondary function, this chapter aims to point someone who is not familiar with visual anthropology or in media studies in a useful direction for analyzing documentary footage. I identify the flaws of claiming authenticity, a term I find questionabl e. I explore ethical issues regarding representation and et hnographic authority, suggesting that a comprehensive reflexive approach can alleviat e a lot of problematic elements from both concerns. For me, Constantly Varied/ Functional, became an exercise not only in creating a short ethnographic piece about a place at a point in time, but also an exercise in exploring the meaning of au thority in digital film. First, a caveat: Bauman is a sociolinguist a nd folklorist whose in terests are in oral performance. As I mentioned earlier in this chapter, Bauman's model sets up the process of framing events into three distinct segments: the narrative, the narrative event and the narrated event. This model demonstrates th at an event occurs, which an individual observes. The individual, in tu rn, organizes the story within a narrative event, a mode of storytelling. The original observe r then performs the story fo r others, who internalize the performance and create their own narrated event. These three phases demonstrate a gap between what has actually occured and what is reenacted.Similarly, as an ethnographer, I
67 was there, I witnessed a series of events, de cided where to point my camera, recorded the footage, edited the footage and screened it. It is my responsibility as an anthropologist to acknowledge that a process ex ists, that the issues it cr eates are real, and that I acknowledge my role. I was there and I chose to point my camera at different places at different points in time, crea ting a narrated event on video Dispelling myths of authentic ity: film is a construction. In a period of virulent racism, D. W. Griffith cast his narrative [Birth of a Nation] about White supremacy as an "authentic" re flection of the historic record for White Americans who were groping for answers about the current state of affairs. Both works should be viewed as pieces of American popular culture that resonate with contemporary fears about people of color. -Lee Baker (1996) As Baker points out, claims of authenticity have a problematic historical context in anthropological endeavor s. Nonetheless, anthropology ha s had a longstanding concern with claiming authenticity, utilizing the visu al as evidence. "Authe ntic" representations become particularly tricky matters when one begins talking about f ilm. "Authentic," has become what I refer to as a packaging term, a word that tries to encapsulate a lot while remaining very vague. In this section, I criti que the idea of "authenticity" in ethnographic film by arguing that it is misguided. As a packaging term, authenticity remains problematic because films are constructed narrative formats. Referring to them as authentic always begs the question: authenti c to whomthe audience, the subjects, both? One might argue that authenticity is related to the audience's desire for the truth. If films are constructed narra tives, then how can filmmakers rectify this desire? Can a film ever be "truthful" if a director has actively controlled what is shown? I am not the first to grapple with these issues, but I believ e authenticity is a moot point. Bill Nichols suggests that documentary should not seek to tell the truth (1986 ); it should operate
68 between what I refer to as the event and the na rrated event. In this section, I attempt to reconcile an obsession with authenticity in f ilms with my belief that authenticity is not the larger issue, and may distract from cons ideration of more important concerns. Often, it seems to me that authenticity is used by both filmmaker and audience to categorize the experience of the subject as presented in the ethnographic pr oduct. Therefor e, I believe that the entire pursuit of authen ticity is inhere ntly problematic. Richard Schechner (1985) provides a thorough analysis of authenticity in performance, suggesting that it is a contra diction because the ""authentic" content is heavily constructed. Tying it b ack to Claude Levi-Strauss's arguments about the raw and cooked, Schechner suggests that determining wh at is authentic is fraught with problems because: "...authenticity' is often a highly edited, refined, idealized (or brutalized) version of raw experience" (1985:309). Sch echner's analysis rings true because it addresses a relationship between the actual ev ent and narrated even t. Nonetheless, I believe that the audience's desire for auth enticity comes from a quest for the truth. Essentially, the audience does not want to be lied to; likewise, the people whom the anthropologist studies do not want to be misrepresented. What's left is a grey area, a void that th e anthropologist has to work within. Karl Heider attempts to reconcile this grey area by insisting that visual anthropologists play dual roles: on the one hand, as filmmakers w ho want to craft narratives, and on the other as anthropologists, who appr oach the film process from a scholarly perspective: A basic problem... that runs through all consideratio ns of ethnographic film concerns the nature of truth. Filmmakers and ethnographers, when they thin k of it at all, take quite different positions on truth. Certainly everyone subscribes to truth. No one really advocates untruth. (Those who deny the very possibility of truth remove themselves from this discussion.) But filmmakers can comfortably take the artists' position that they manipulate reality through a series of falsehoods in order to create a higher truth. This appeal to higher truth has been made in more or less epigrammatic form, by all sorts of artists. Anthropologists, as scientists, assume that they must challenge the legitimacy of these facilitating lies. (Heider 2006: 10)
69 While I largely agree about the dual roles that the anthropologi st faces, I take issue with some of Heider's finer points because he regards the anthropologist as a positivist scholar. This paradigm is highly problematic be cause it ignores that the anthropologist is interested in qualitative analysis. Regardle ss, the pursuit of any form of knowledge is subject to the biases and disc retions of the researcher; therefore, an objective positivist approach seems unlikely, at best. Suffice it to say, the anthropologist is in a difficult position once authenticity is claimed. I have discussed digital video is a ma lleable medium. An audience should be skeptical of the way events are framed, but th is conversation should be redirected to a consideration of whether or not visual anthropologists have adequately explored their sites, and whether or not they have acknow ledged their role as arbiters of cultural knowledge and creators of images. The topic of authenticity is an issue I confront in everyday conversations. Friends often ask about the issue of authenticity in my film and I find myself remembering that the 19th Century exhibitions clai med to present visual examples of racialized "others" as authentic. For me, this term will always have such connotations. Particularly, I am reminded of a section in From Savage to Negro in which Baker, a historian of anthropology, describes the exhi bits of Negritos and Ikarots in the leadup to the Philipine occupation. "The president demanded that shor t trunks replace the na tive loincloths...The anthropologists protested the president's attemp t at over night civiliz ation.' Starr warned that forcing the savages to don western at tire would compromise the scientific authenticity of the exhibit and might kill th e natives. By forcing the Filipinos to wear
70 traditional garb, the visitors would have perceived these savages as unable to progress toward civilization" (1996: 71). This exam ple illustrates the point that claims to "authentic" representations are packaging terms, ways of selling a narrative to the audience. In the past, these narratives ha ve often been racist and ethnocentric. Many discussions about authenticity lead to di scussions of colonialism; for instance, KeyanTomaselli discusses the problems of manufacturing authentic ity to recreate a "performative primitive" (2001:173, see also Ba ker 1996). As a result, I believe it is time to abandon the term authentic. I do not believe it should be regarded as a goal; it is meant to reaffirm the audiences expectations. In my own work, I simply decided that I would be truthful to my experience and my role, but not claim authenti city. There are for more pertin ent discussions to be had in visual anthropology, which I pursue in the follo wing section. With this clarification in mind, it becomes easier to addr ess the ideas of ethnographic authority and representation. Editing Footage and Ethical Dilemmas The aim of this section is to interrogate issues of representa tion and authority in ethnographic cinema. To examine ideas of repr esentation, a paramount area of concern in the subfield, I draw upon Ruby (1986, 1991), Trinh (1993), and MacDougall (1998, 2001, 2006). I discuss ethnographic authority in conjunction with Bauman's sociolinguistic model of even t, narrative event and narrated event in hopes of adding to the conversation. I believe visu al anthropologists could bene fit greatly from Bauman's research. I also advocate for an actively re flexive model as a way to address these concerns. While there are many other ethical i ssues in ethnographic film I have chosen to
71 focus on these because they are most pertinent to my concerns. In th e next section, I will discuss how I reconcile these issues using Final Cut Pro and othe r digital features. With this concern out of the way, I can m ove onto the more pertinent issues that this chapter examines, I will eventually util ize some of these terms in describing my approaches to reflexivity that I utilize in my film. I have framed the representation of real ity as a construction in films, but what remains are questions about the representation of subjects. This point has been a major topic of discussion in visual anthropological theor y. As I pointed out in Chapter 2, films, photographs and exhibitions were originally objectivist/positivist illustrations in which the anthropologist dominated representati on. Contemporary visual anthropology of the last 40 years especially has concerned itsel f with the representation of the people it studies, acknowledging multi-vocal interpretation s of reality that attempt to represent people in a culturally meaningful way. Similar to the debates that developed w ith regards to writ ten ethnographies, Ruby suggests that ethnographic film has under gone a crisis of representation, "People formerly the object of our gaze and dissident filmmakers from within the system challenged the right to represent anyone but yourself." And further, "Among the many results of this upheaval was the realization that cultural ident ity is not eternally fixed but something that has to be regularly re negotiated" (Ruby 1991: 53). Ruby continues by discussing his belief that giving a voice to subjects may have gone to a far extreme because "People seldom understand their own motivation" (1991:54). The statement is hard to accept because it positions the anthr opologist as an omnipresent observer, a point I believe anthropologists should move past. I th ink the implications of Ruby's statements
72 in this work are a bit dangerous because th ey may threaten to silence the voices of subjects. Ruby has been critic al of the idea of collabora tion and shared anthropology as well, questioning why the anth ropologist is even necessa ry if people are actively contributing to their own representation. Shar ed anthropology is cer tainly subject to criticism, but collaboration, I believe is im portant. Ultimately, it does not appear that ethnographic filmmakers followed Ruby's suggestions. The American Anthropological Associat ion's Code of Ethics suggests that anthropologists first and foremost have a re sponsibility to their subjects (AAA 1998: 2). I take this to mean that I am accountable to my subjects for the ways I represent them. One way I attempted to provide adequate representation in Constantly Varied/Functional was to guarantee that they could have final say-so over the content I included in the final film. This may give rise to a problem, if the subjec ts decide they do not like the way my film portrays them, but I am convinced that this effort holds me as a filmmaker accountable to them to the fullest extent possible. I do be lieve that the balance lies in a space between remaining true to the lived experience as an anthropologist and to the way the subject sees herself/himself. Whereas Ruby has established a framew ork to give the ethnographer more authority (1991), I disagree with his model. In this case, I agree w ith Larry Gross, who states that subjects of film have a right to "...speak for themselves" (Gross 1991:197). In order to be logically consistent, though, I have to interrogate this perspective, because ultimately Constantly Varied/Highly Functional exists only on the screen, as a construction, and I am the author. These ideas will be expanded upon in the following section. As MacDougall suggests, the ultimate authority resides with the filmmaker: "If
73 ethnographies now incorporate other voices, wh at textual independenc e do these voices actually have? In an absolute sense, all texts used in this way are subordinated to the text of the author" (1991: 5) In spite of this recognition, I still believ e attempting to allow subjects to speak for themselves is importa nt. MacDougall continues, "The shape of the text may be said to take on char acteristics of the subject by virt ue of exposure' to it, like a photographic plate" (1991: 6). In this case, I am mostly intere sted in the way that films narrate events and how the anthropologist's voice remains present through that process. Revealing Filmic Ethnographic Authority: The filmmaker/anthropologist must be sure that when the audience watches a film, they are conscious of its existence as a construction of different narrative events into a cohesive order. In this section, I tie together Bauman's sociolinguistic approach towards narrative events with "On Ethnographi c Authority" by James Clifford (1983). I argue that these con cepts, though not intended for film, ar e useful ways to get at the ethical issues of reflexivit y and ethnographic authority. In the context of my method, I argue that I observed events through the lens of a camera, and arranged these events according to a reflexive theoretical model, creating a narrative event. I believe Baum an's model is applicable--wh ile acknowledging that it was intended for sociolinguists and folklorists--b ecause filmmaking is a similar form of storytelling. Once I present my f ilm, it will live on as a narrat ed event that others talk about with each other. I want to explore the implications of Ba uman's model. First, as I mentioned in Chapter 2, it incorporates all of the key actors in ethnographic film screenings: the subjects, the audience and the ethnographer. This model furthers an understanding that
74 film undergoes a process of narrative construc tion. In applying Bauman's analysis to the filmmaking process, I attempt to demonstrate that the ethnographic voi ce is ever-present. Bauman's model becomes a condition through whic h one can begin to re veal concerns of ethnographic authority. In "On Ethnographic Authority," James Cli fford reconciled the issue of textual authority on the part of the ethnographer. He states, "The textual embodiment of authority is a recurring problem in ethnogra phic texts" (1983, 147). While Clifford's concern was with written works, one can certainly see that similar issues come to light in visual anthropology. I argue that filmmakers have long been dealing with issues regarding ethnographic authority, and rightfully so. In the pa st, the narrative voices of European men overlaying images of et hnic "others" blatantly embodied this authority. MacDougall suggests that the authoritative voice codified the notion that film could be a positivist endeavor (1998: 88). Postmodern paradigms, however, have called this embodiment into question. Ethnogra phic authority in film goes beyond blatant narration. Thus, if visual anthropology is to be successful in altering audience perceptions of how to watch videos, it must subvert the authoritative status of film as evidence. The authority of digital vide o as evidence is problematic. This new format allows almost seamless editing, in which shots can be altered on a computer to create continuity both within and between shots. For some Hollyw ood films, this has the potential to create exciting new effects. For ethnographic films, however, I argue that new questions arise. With the possibility of creati ng a more perfect image, how ca n one achieve the reflexivity that Jay Ruby (1980) discussed? If this is im portant as MacDougall ( 2006) says it is, then perhaps this new age of filmmaking calls fo r new ways of grappling with ethnographic
75 authority. I argue that filmmake rs using digital video should strive to explore innovative ways of revealing reflexivity--beyond techni ques suggested by other filmmakers--through experimentation with the techniques that the medium allows. It is my belief that exploring new, more reflexive methodology can help to decenter tacit claims to authority. In acknowledging my role throughout the film, I declare to the audience that I am responsib le for how the represen tations are organized. Many anthropologists have used reflexive me thodologies in their ethnographic films, and many have theorized about how to approach reflexivity. Ruby explains that to be adequately reflexive require an analysis not only the ethnographic f ilmmaker's voice, but of the process of making a nd screening a film, which in corporates all people who experience the narrated event (Ruby 1986). I agree and build on this approach. Trinh T. Minh-ha advocates a reflexive a pproach in most of her work. Her film Reassemblage (1983) is well-known for her voice-ove r at the beginning that explains exactly what she plans to do and how she appr oaches it. Interviews with Minh-ha often serve as additional reflexive components to he r work. From my research, this seems to be her preferred way to communicate about film. Trinh (1993) demonstrates that reflexivity in her work allows it to reach beyond trad itional understandings of meaning: "A Work that reflects back on itself offers itself infi nitely as nothing else but work...and void. Its gaze is at once an impulse that causes the work to fall apart and an ultimate gift to its constitution; a gift, by which the work is fr eed from the tyranny of meaning as well as from the omnipresence of a subject of meaning" (1993: 105). The quote demonstrates Trinh's belief that a reflexive methodology can allow for new meanings to emerge in ethnographic films. I entirely agree with the sentiment.
76 Constantly Varied/Functional is a constructed narrative event. As a ethnographic filmmaker, I must uphold my ethi cal duties to the subjects th at the event represents. The best way I can think to do this is by ac knowledging my active role in the production of the narrative event, my imposition of ethnographic authority onto the video. The following section builds on the previous component, to ex amine how I have grappled with becoming more reflexive in my work. My Approach To Reflexivity in Constantly Varied/Functional : Ruby argues that ethnographic film ought to avoid dogmatic scientific formats and embrace non-positivist and fictional devices for storytelling (Ruby 2000). I completely agree and I struggled with util izing unique approaches to reflexivity throughout the entire process. Of particular conc ern to me is the editing capabilities that digital allows. I have not found a ny literature that truly delves into the implications of this for ethnographic film, beyond a handful of sugges tions that editing software is valuable (see MacDougall 2001). Editing is an additional filter through which the narrative ev ent is told. It helps to generates meaning for the film, thus it is a prominent concern. Even basic transitions between shots can re-orient the viewer or cr eate continuity and may be misleading as a technique. Gifted editors can mask a cut to su ch a degree that a sequence can seem as if it were one long take. Such techniques create fl uidity that blend shot s together and create continuity; if viewers do not pa y attention, they may only see th e film as a whole, without maintaining an actively critical eye. The techniques may open up new opportunities for ethnographic cinema as it looks for new, creative ways to express reflex ivity. I do not find myself overly cautious
77 of them. While I understand that I am capable of severely altering images in ways that film would not previous ly allow, I see it as an opportuni ty to play with new devices to expose my ethnographic presence. I have attempted to follow my own advice and experiment with the possibilities of editing on a digital format. As I have pointed out in the previous section, my goal is to have my audience aware th at the narrative they view, Constantly Varied/Functional is separate from the even ts that took place during my fieldwork. I am embarking on the task that J ean Rouch set out, attempting to alter the way people experience films. This endeavor requ ires a bit of creativity on the part of the editor. In this section, I a pproach three techniques that I utilized during the editing process: The first is a textual block; the second is a screen capture technique; the third is the inclusion of my voice during captured inte rviews. While I used more devices than these three, I have decided that they warra nt a textual explanation because they will generate the most attention from audiences. In a similar step to Trinh's Reassemblage my film begins with an acknowledgment of my presence. The opening block invokes the principle of ethnographic research, immediately identifyi ng me as a filmmaker/anthropologist and specifying the duration of my research: I filmed the footage in this video between November and December 2011. This is where I chose to point the camera. stark black screen, as David narrates an anec dote, the following text fades in bit by bit: Cross*Fit Sar*a*so*ta noun To be determined. This text block establishes that this film will takes place at the site CrossFit Sarasota, immediately identifying that my research is place based, as well as complicated. The text
78 fades out. After a quick clip of David, there is another moment of darkness, the new text fades in: Eth*no*graph*ic film noun. 1. a style of filmmaking from an anthropological framework 2. The visual narrative product of visual anthropology. 3. Subject to further inquiry. The first definition establishes that this film will take place at the site CrossFit Sarasota, immediately identifying that my research is local, as well as complicated. The text fades out. With this second text block, I have probl ematized the definition of ethnographic film. The first point covers a very broad and lit tle debated definition. An ethnographic film requires that filmmakers employ anthropological theory in the creation of their work. The visual narrative product of visual anthr opology acknowledges that it is a structured retelling of a series of events. The third de finition reveals that my movie hopes to shed new light on what this research can mean in the digital age. This text technique immediately establis hes two things: that I am researching a site, and that the final product of that research is, in turn a construc ted narrative event. I want to be sure that the viewer reads the film not as a series of unfolding events at a gym, but as a construction with a subtext that reveal s the process. It takes a while to learn to read texts critically and to parse out informa tion, but it is the goal of this work to create an innovative paradigm for watching films. In this paradigm, the viewer is constantly reminded of the film as a construction. From the moment this text ends, a sequen ce begins with a voice-over of Matt, the owner of CrossFit Sarasota, describing the Cr ossFit system and the gym. This leads into the next technique, a screen captu re effect that reveals the ed iting process in fast-forward.
79 I first discovered this technique afte r watching tutorials for Final Cut Pro on Youtube. Users in real-time will edit footag e in order to demonstrate how to use an effect. The result is a view inside the timeline. I think this revelation of the timeline does more to illuminate the process of editing, and I began to consider that it might be interesting for people to see ex actly what editing looks like. The footage from inside the gym continues and slowly fades into a CrossFit Sarasota Workout Of the Day as Matt narr ates. The scene follows Matt through the gym as the members exercise. As the workout comes to a close, I freeze at the last frame of the sequence. The viewer can suddenly hear the click of a mouse and the video begins to rewind. The result is meant to be initially disorienting. Then the video stops again and jump cuts to video I captured of me editing th e scene in Final Cut Pr o in fast-forward. As a result, the viewer sees the scene co llapse on itself and then re-construct. Immediately, this technique establishes that I have authorship over the rest of the video in a way that viewers may not have previously acknowledged. With this tactic, I have put them in an uncomfortable situ ation that hopefully makes them reexamine everything they have previously seen. Utilizing this technique, I attempt to reveal something about the construction of a text and play with reflexivity. Additionally, to further reveal my presen ce as a filmmaker, I have decided to include my voice in the interviews. This ma y serve as a step that guarantees fair representation. It allows me to contextualize the quotes one hears, which may otherwise be left in vacuum. While I do not always employ this tacticmostly due to the time constraints I have placed on my videoI have chosen to include it throughout. Additionally, it reflects the informal manner of my interviews.
80 I justify my use of these ed iting techniques as an attempt to achieve reflexivity in my project by problematizing the defin itions of ethnographic film, acknowledging my role as an editor of the narra tive event and my presence on si te as an ethnographer. In doing so, I illustrate the importance of the anthropologist/filmmaker/editor acknowledging his or her presence. Conclusion Editing in the Digital Age has allo wed for innovation within the Hollywood system of film production. As I have discussed earlier, th e films seen now are largely projected digitally. While di gital technology may offer pristine images (See Rombes 2009)depending on the resolution of the camera these images are always subject to analysis beyond mere aesthetic qua lity. In this secti on, I have laid out the key concerns in editing ethnographic cinema. In this chapter, I have argued that vi sual anthropology should abandon claims to authenticity, in favor of exploring issues of representation and ethnographic authority. I want to challenge the assumed authority th at ethnographic film ma y hold as a result of being the product of academic research. Th e result however, leav es the ethnographic filmmaker somewhere between an anthropolog ist and a filmmaker. Regardless of how I construe it, Heider's (2007) remark holds so me truth. As an anthropologist, I want to show my audience that my film is a constr uction that attempts to represent a group of people. As a filmmaker I am interested in creating a narrative event that the audience enjoys. I am trapped somewhere in the middle and everywhere in between.
81 Epilogue Before I even begin to reflect on my wo rk, I would like to state that I never thought I was capable of writing almost 100 page s of semi-coherent original research. For me, this thesis has provided an incredible opportunity to acknowledge that I am capable of this. I do understand my limitations as a writer and it is something that I continue to build confidence in. My time at New College has greatly helped me in this effort. In this thesis, I have demonstrated th at an undergraduate st udent with a solid foundation in visual anthropological theory can go out into the field and create ethnographic shorts. All it truly requires is a mode of transportation and a curiosity to explore the community to find topics in line with one's interests. This research model requires a small budget. With the rapid development in technology of cellular phones, many people are beginning to record movies and send them to their computers. While I chose to us e a non-linear editing sy stem, which tends to be expensive, students could use a free pr ogram such as Windows MovieMaker or iMovie to edit their footage. Furthermore, the explosion of Web 2.0 sites, including Youtube, demonstrate not only that an audi ence exists, but that people are actively engaging in this method of production Digital video provides exciting new opport unities for visual an thropology. This thesis has demonstrated that while the medium has opened up more avenues for fieldwork involving video produc tion, it also requires an understanding of ethical concerns. As it stands now, I can only hope that more New College students will decide to experiment with digital video. I am not cl aiming to be in a position to teach at this point in my life, but hopefully this thesis will inspire a younger student at New College.
82 If it only succeeds in piquing someone's inte rest in visual anthropology, I will call it a success. My dream is to continue to explore the intersection between filmmaking and ethnography. While I believe that status of ethnographic film will continue to be on the margins of anthropological re search, I am hopeful that a th esis like mine, Jacqueline Bender (2012) or Ben Hodges (1999) can inspire a student who is perhaps only tangentially experienced with film. My plan is to continue my education in visual anthropology and to earn my doctorate in anthropology w ith a certificate in Media Studies. But in the immediate future, I am interested in giving back to my community and my school. I would like to help organize programs at New College whereby students can do community outreach through media production. I would not simply advocate giving students cameras and turning them loose to make film s. I think the first step is to share an understanding that images are constructions that are capable of conveying meanings and reaffirming assumptions. Once the student has a solid founda tion in the ethics of visual anthropology and documentary filmmaking (and IRB approval, of course!) then I would want them to go into the field. I am also interested in strengthening the coll aborative process of ethnographic film, so I would suggest that a program like this would require students to edit the footage with their subjects present. This step comes from my concern for reflexivity, representation and ethnographic authority in the digital age. This is where Ethnographic film can go.
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