Installation Ethnography: Conceptual Vocabulary of Visualizations

View essay

Mercury's Multivalences

A Visualized Concept

"This image employs montage to illustrate how to think about global toxicants, such as mercury, in their multiple and shift- ing forms valences. My intent with the design of this montage is to keep the affinities and curious sensibilities of mercury left open, using these juxtaposed images—as valences—to draw out how artisanal gold miners, indigenous communities (in- termingled or the same), and sex-workers (a companion in- dustry to natural resource extraction around the globe) con- tribute to epidemiological toxicity and 2) the kinds of "toxic" or volatile assets of neo-colonial resource extraction."

Lead Dust Storms

Visual Evidence

"This image contests the state-corporate technocratic ap- proaches for evaluating and dealing with the lead issue. In recent years, residents were actively excluded from the munic- ipal government's Technical Committee of Lead, which de- clared them lacking in sufficient technical expertise for con- tributing to official decision-making. Thus, the image focuses on the expertise of residents like Camila, who have a deeply embodied understanding of the port's material flows, who can offer visual evidence of contamination and exposure that challenges the Technical Committee's claims that the port's toxic problem is already contained."


All rights reserved.


Created date

August 21, 2020

Cite as

James Adams. 21 August 2020, "Installation Ethnography: Conceptual Vocabulary of Visualizations", Center for Ethnography, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 21 August 2020, accessed 26 September 2021.