De mentaliteit is van plastiek, january 2019
Appendix: ‘Autoethnography: subjectivity and experimental strategy in the social sciences’
Self-published book by Jakob Van den Broucke and Topo Copy
169 copies
62 pages + 19 pages
18,5 x 25 cm
Order: vandenbrouckejakob@gmail.com, Copyright Bookshop Ghent, FOMU-shop Antwerp, RIOT Ghent and Zwart Wit By Zebra Mol

At the end of 2017, sociologist/photographer Jakob Van den Broucke embarked on a project without a particular end or calculated goal in mind. Intrigued by the phrase “the mentality is plastic” – confided in him by a complete stranger during a hazy night out – these simple but enigmatic words became the starting point for a visual and conceptual investigation now bundled in a self-published book: de mentaliteit is van plastiek. Initially using the phrase as a guiding principle to make a thematic selection of his personal archive, he quickly began supplementing existing work with new images. When these photographs later gradually started relating to quotes, strands of texts and social observations, what began as an artistic exercise slowly developed into an in-depth and structured exploration of the mysterious statement. As a result, words and images now interlinked in a perpetual flux of semi-deliberateness, offering endless takes on the elusive concept, never fully conceding to either the word or the image.

While working on the book, Jakob’s artistic process became subject to scientific self-reflection, leading him to approach his own project from the perspective of a social scientist. Questioning and exploring his role as a creator producing a cultural artefact, his formal training as a sociologist offered a framework to disentangle the constitutive elements to what he was doing. Critiquing the artificial distinction between sociological and artistic representation, between the merits of objectivity and subjectivity, these epistemological issues presented opportunities to understand the fundamental ambiguity of all imaginaries – whether visual or written – and the potential value of photography for sociology. Consequently, the auto-ethnographic dimension of his work became an explicit quality to the project: self-reflection and academic writing collide with valuing immediate experience and spontaneous evaluation. Relating these conflicting dispositions to contemporary methodological discussions in auto-ethnography in an article, de mentaliteit is van plastiek establishes an explicit link to the scientific practice wherein Jakob was formally trained. Highlighting the continuities between artistic and traditional research practice in the social sciences, the essay offers an interdisciplinary contribution to the theoretical and epistemological underpinnings of auto-ethnography. While certainly complementary to the book itself, the essay does not provide any answers to the questions raised, nor does it explain any hidden truths in the work. Rather, the scientific appendix adds to and stresses the particularly sociological reflection and imagination meandering the artistic project itself.  

Text by Florian Vanlee

Selected images:









Selected words:

graag even uw aandacht
ik ga het berekende risico nemen om niet volledig begrepen te worden
daar begint de pret
bovenal vereer het geschreven woord
tegen beter weten in
en toch onderbouwd met empirisch bewijs
zwevend tussen subjectiviteit en objectiviteit
een mobiel leger van metaforen, metonymia’s en antropomorfismen
complexiteit omarmen dan maar
want zonder orde is er chaos
en soms verwar ik de dingen met hun namen
de v staat voor verkavelingswijken
volgens een iteratief proces
opdelen-om-op-te-lossen
met de oneindige vermeerdering aan categorieën en objecten als gevolg
pluche Iphone hoesjes
potten haargel
pitspoezen
jetski’s
nek tattoos
mini-hotdogs
valse bloemen voor valentijn
alles wat je maar wil
letterlijk en figuurlijk
een poel van verwarring en verwondering
extreem
ambigue tijden
ketamine moet bogen ontspannen
de glijdende schaal
links, rechts, op en neer en allemaal nog een keer
want hoe werkelijk is ‘werkelijk’?
jammer genoeg is er geen juist antwoord op deze vraag
De woorden en de dingen
Het probleem van een methode
dat we nooit precies kunnen zeggen wat we bedoelen en nooit echt weten wat we bedoelen
24/24 en 7/7
voortdurende onzekerheid
om te lachen en om te huilen
zo kom je wel tot een zeer dialectisch resultaat
ik weet het ook niet, nooit echt zeker
in het gouden tijdperk van de onverschilligheid
kiezen tussen 108 televisieposten
streamen op multiple beeldschermen
de nietigverklaring van de realiteit
voetbal a.k.a. opium voor het volk
elektrische fietsers spelen vals
lekker passief sportief doen
gewoon ongewoon
neostijlen
de maakbaarheid ervan
wat met universele onwezenlijkheid?
kicken toch
postmodern gedrag
mijn gedacht!

Appendix

Autoethnography: subjectivity and experimental strategy in the social sciences

Abstract:
This article is the result of a search for rendering the sociological reflection and imagination meandering the artists’ book de mentaliteit is van plastiek. In itself, the book consists of an indepth visual and conceptual exploration of the mysterious statement “The mentality is plastic!” During the process of making the book, the author turned to autoethnography in order to include both process and product in the final representation of the project as a whole. As an upcoming qualitative research method, autoethnography allows researchers to write in a highly personalized style, drawing on his or her experience to extend understanding about a societal phenomenon. The intent of autoethnography is to acknowledge the inextricable link between the personal and the cultural and to make room for nontraditional forms of inquiry and expression. The first part of this article presents a broad introduction to the social sciences and builds up to a contextualization and discussion of autoethnography’s status as a social scientific method. The second part consists of a subjective narration of the project de mentaliteit is van plastiek and discusses the relevancy of auotethnography therefor. This narration then gets linked to autoethnography’s argument for revealing and interrogating the process of research. In conclusion this article argues for autoethnography as a useful method for inquiring the subjective experience of the artistic process for artists themselves, and for the sociology of art in general.

Read the whole article on https://www.academia.edu/38372849/Autoethnography_subjectivity_and_experimental_strategy_in_the_social_sciences
or
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331163217_Autoethnography_subjectivity_and_experimental_strategy_in_the_social_sciences

Exhibition views (Gouvernement 23/01/2019):

Bibliografie

Analyse

Grondplan

De vlag en de lading

De vlag en de lading (detail)

De vlag en de lading (detail)


All exhibition images by Zoë De Bock