Week 3: 2/7
This class explores questions of how observational practices work, what different disciplines might learn from another’s approaches to observation—which methods are best suited to which subjects and why, and how observation itself can create communities and initiate a new view of our everyday reality. We believe that the understanding of the complexities everyday life can only be deepened through cross-disciplinary insights that transcend the boundaries of expertise. In that line of thinking, we will explore different methodologies of observation.

1. Sharing | Last week’s fieldwork
In groups, students will discuss their experience of the observational fieldwork. Which methodology did you select? How did you identify your three working objects? Which of these objects seemed to tell you more about your research topic during the observation? How did you integrate documentation into your observation?

2. Practicing | In-class workshop: writing Observation Scores
As a group, we will translate your practices from last week into instructions / Observation Scores. Sharing the way you look at things and creating a new experience for peers is a key element of this class. It takes some time—and a few iterations—to come up with Observation Scores that are precise and simple yet spark new ways of seeing.

3. Preparing | For next week
After using one methodology to observe three objects, you will now stick to one object and observe it using three different methodologies. For the first observation, you have to use the methodology you received by the end of the class from a peer (blue paper). For the following two observations, you are free to choose: use another methodology of a peer (you took pictures of them during class), select another methodology of the OBJECT AMERICA guest researchers or come up with something completely new.
After you conducted the observations, write them down as instructions / Observation Scores or take notes on how to improve existing ones. Please make sure that all observations include a visual documentation.

We will discuss Highmore and Daston/Galison next week:
Daston, Lorraine, and Peter Galison. Objectivity. Zone Books, 2018, pp19-27.