Monday, November 15, 2010

Tide pool bubbles: The little things in the Harbin pools, A kind of Harbin cultural code, Comfortable, open, and relaxed with each other

Harbin ethnography:

... Disagreements and differences about such will potentially be understood in relation to actual Harbin and its waters, as kinds of grounding assumptions (Boellstorff 2008:65) and especially as {counter}cultural codes.

The little things in the Harbin pools – both actual and virtual – fascinate me, as ethnographer, informing a kind of Harbin, cultural code. As method I take the anthropological approach of engagement with people, place and milieu for learning's sake, via the methods of field work and participant observation, FURTHER, via the methods of 'pool play' and immersion, literally and virtually, into Harbin's waters. Harbin's 'fluid codes' find expression in its waters in ways that invites people – Harbin residents and visitors – to become comfortable, open, relaxed, and sometimes intimate, in the pools and with each other, which can then lead to further explorations of openness. As roots of the Harbin experience, the logic of these countercultural codes are further informed by what happens in the oneness of the moment in the pools – which seem to bring people 'there,' even 'virtually' - emerging loosely out of hippie explorations from the 1960s. In this actual / virtual ethnography, I examine ways in which implications of the 'virtual,' as concept, are not only in the digital - in virtual Harbin, for example - but in the immersion of experience, here mediated by both actual and virtual Harbins. The Harbin community, its oneness, and then, what Ishvara has called the Kundalini experience (Ishvara 2002) vis-a-vis, may find new forms in virtual worlds. These countercultural codes, as roots, which logics involve being at Harbin in the now, now potentially virtually and digitally, are given new form in anthropological explorations of immersion, now in relation to multimedia virtual worlds. Virtual Harbin thus, for example, rewrites anthropological and ethnographic methods in new ways to engage both multimedia-virtuality – where representations are at a physical and actual distance from the end-user – on the screen - focusing immersively on the little things, as well as on actual Harbin virtuality, drawing on a myriad of actual, Harbin experiences (e.g. of oneness in the pools) since 1972, to inform complementary methods.


As method, I engage ethnographic processes as main, ongoing approaches to data gathering at both actual Harbin, and in virtual Harbin. Ethnography here is both an interpretive practice and a body of social scientific writings (Cerwonka and Malkki 2007). ...

( - November 15, 2010)

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