April 30, 2013

City. Text. Laboratory

A small sample from my research on graffiti for social analysis in conflict zones. Sutika Sipus 2013.

Any casual reader of this blog is familiar with my obsession over social research methods.  Not only am I fascinated by the idea of measuring and quantifying the intangible, but I also question the general viability of most social research instruments.  In the areas that I work, it is not practical to conduct standard surveys or the usual data collection procedures do to security threats, so consequently I'm somewhat critical of the information that does surface.  

For the last two years I've used Kabul as an urban laboratory to experiment with alternative methods of social analysis, and one project has been the cataloguing of graffiti and social imagery throughout the city.  Almost one year ago I wrote about initial explorations in this area of critical cartography.  

More recently I've been able to break newer ground by merging this technique with other methods.  I will be presenting my work this weekend at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  I can't divulge much on the details till the finished publication comes out next fall but anyone in the Boston area is welcome to attend the conference MIT8: Public Media, Private Media.   

For anyone that can't make it, I do have a semi-related book chapter coming out in August (just submitted final draft yesterday!) and hope to publish on this particular project in the late fall.   Its been a busy last couple weeks, and the year is just getting started!