Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hydra: Chapter 3 - Harbin in its own terms - Anthropological participant observation – Interviews, pool work & virtual field work in the pools

Harbin ethnography:

... How does the virtual generation of the generative virtual here, now, vis-a-vis Harbin communication & language, especially in relation to floating in the warm pool, emerge?

Chapter 3: Method

Harbin on its own terms - Anthropology and ethnography – Participant observation – Interviews, pool work and virtual field work in the pools – Ethics – Claims and reflexivity – Actual Harbin and virtual Harbin compared and contrasted – In warm waters - Virtual world, countercultural communication in a virtual Harbin – What flows between, observationally – Soaking in the waters – Watsu

Harbin on its own terms

Fascinated by the freedom-seeking movements of the 1960s, and the alternative living developments in Haight Ashbury and elsewhere, Bob Hartley (now called Ishvara) moved to Berkeley in 1966 at the time to study, with a dream to start a community vis-a-vis Summerhill (Klages 1991:281). When Ish first arrived at Harbin in 1971(?),

“His first view of the property was the bullet-riddled car and, as he made his way up the road, while he saw the abandoned buildings, the roads rutted by run-off from heavy rains, and the obscenities painted on the sides of the buildings, he also saw what he'd been looking for. The place was a wreck, but it met everyone of the ten criteria on his wish list” (Klages 1991:283).

Ishvara's wish list of ten attributes for the ideal property were: “reasonably priced; not too far or too close to a town; good road access, but no through traffic; no close neighbors, so that nudity would not be a problem; phone, electric and water lines; within a two hour drive of the Bay Area; existing housing and - definitely an ideal but no a necessity – a hot springs” (Klages 1991:282).

Ish's continuity and longevity at Harbin, in addition to his having bought Harbin in 1972, and then sold it to Heart Consciousness Church in 1975, are defining in terms of Harbin's ongoing vision.

To engage Harbin on its own terms, the ethnographic methods I develop here involve reading Ishvara's first impressions in historical record, as actual place and emerging milieu.

What can ethnography tell us about actual and virtual Harbin in the present vis-a-vis method? …

( - October 23, 2010)

No comments: