En plein air—literally painting outdoors—was a polemic against the white walls of the studio articulated by the French impressionists in the mid-nineteenth century. French sociologist Marcel Mauss took up the cause, calling for practitioners to leave the atelier in order to observe life out in the open and formulating this as a fundamental requirement of ethnology. The ethnologist was supposed to come face-to-face with conditions in the field and in the process train their way of seeing. What would it mean to transfer this method into the digital realm? The digital is not constituted in opposition to the analogue, nor does it simply create an algorithmic structure. Its boundaries are constantly at stake, and digital practices are in a continual process of reinventing themselves. Engaging with the digital En plein air, the book brings together essays outlining the author’s experiences in interviews, recordings, poems, and collages working on semi-fictional and scientific texts.
Authors: Dirk Baecker, Samuel Gerald Collins, Bryana Fritz, Orit Gat, Christiane Heidrich, Martina Leeker, Ariane Müller, Anna-Verena Nosthoff, Leslie Thornton, Max Wallenhorst a.o.