Anthropology in the Arts

I find it fascinating to consider the different ways that people could potentially approach the same thing, given their own specific background and expertise. I approach anthropology, for example, through the lens of a music theorist, which proves to be confusing and changes the experience of learning a social science. In the same vein, Kat Jungnickel, in her article “anthropology + design: kat jungnickel”explores how her background in anthropology has shaped her place in the world as a creative artist (or “maker” as she refers to herself). This background, fascinatingly, changes her process and vision, but also makes her analyze her work with endless ethonographer-esque questions. The end products of her creative endeavors are a hard to categorize mixture of maker-ness and ethnographic research.

For example, Jungnickel’s most recent project has been “Enquiry Machines”: a mish-mash of bicycle scraps repurposed to seat two people, facing opposite one another. Each person then interviews the other about interviewing as a process through an anthropological lens. (I can’t say I completely understand the project) In this, Jungnickel combines the art of making, performance art, and an anthropology-rooted inquiry systems. Jungnickel also states that she “makes to understand”, which I resonate with. I use the creation and performance of music much in the same way. I think especially with less immediately personal subjects such as anthropology, finding personal meaningfulness dramatically enhances your understanding of that subject. 


Jungnickel, Kat

2014. anthropology + design: kat jungnickel, Savage Minds.