Consumer culture research aims to explore consumption as an element of contemporary culture that is intertwined with social life and its patterning, thus influencing our day-to-day lives and the logic of our reality on a fundamental level. 1 To explore consumer culture as it is experienced by individuals, researchers have been developing a variety of so-called “alternative” research methods that allow for approaching knowledge and understanding from perspectives that have a different form and logic than the traditional academic research process and the traditional academic text that is its end-result.
One of the the most popular “alternative” methods in consumer research has been videography. Simply put, videography uses the medium of video to conduct research, gather data, and present findings.
Being an avid proponent of non-textual research methods, such as art-based research 2 I have found the use of videography a thrilling aspect of consumer research! 3 Yet, in engaging this method, I found that the audience is often left out in the process of creating and presenting research through video. Audiences tend to be approached as a passive entity and their experiences are largely shaped and guided by the researchers. Yet, non-textual media, such as video, have enormous potential for creating lived, co-created experiences for both researchers and their audiences, which would allow for engaging in bodily, sensory understanding of phenomena as well as activating audiences to reflect and take action.
To explore this potential, I have provided a perspective on using videography as a means of creating live performances and thus engaging the audience in active meaning-making. To do this, I first develop the notions of performance and performativity in the context of videography. Moreover, I contextualise videography historically as a recording medium, thus exploring the form of the medium through its position in contemporary Western culture and its connections to other recording media.
I suggest that videography as performance allows researchers to activate their audiences by creating video work that does not directly provide information, but rather creates a basis for interaction, meaning-making, and contemplation through open-ended stimuli. The result in a deeply contextualised, multi-sensory, co-created experience that focuses away from the video itself, and emphasises engagement, reflection, and interaction.
The approach causes both researcher and audience to step out of their comfort zone. Neither has a template to follow, but both are rather asked to make sense of things as they go. This is exactly what allows for heightened reflexivity and engagement to take place, activating individuals to make meaning. The approach is further useful for reaching wider audiences beyond limited academic contexts through foregoing delimiting aspects, such as the use of jargon, and tapping into the visual literacy individuals already possess.
The paper provides practical suggestions for creating videography as performance as well as for evaluating such work within an academic context.
Slater, D. (1997), Consumer Culture and Modernity, Oxford, UK: Polity Press.
This blog was originally posted on the author’s own website on September 27, 2017 and is reposted here with their permission.
Read the original research article: Seregina, A. (2017). Engaging the Audience through Videography as Performance. Journal of Marketing Management. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0267257X.2017.1377753
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