Culinary Practices in Shared Kitchens
Collaborative Ethnobotanical Film Project
There are four stages of this project, which will overlap to a considerable degree:
- Recruitment and Consultation:
Because this project is essentially collaborative in nature, the first key part involves
gathering together a group of researchers. A couple of EWC residents who are doctoral
candidates in ethnobotany have expressed interest in something like this, and I think that
others in Anthropology, Geography, and other departments will be interested in joining.
Once an initial proposal has been reviewed, the project can be publicized through a website,
flyers, presentations and word-of-mouth. Participants will be sought at two levels, as either
fully involved collaborators (participant-filmmakers), or as consultants (culinary practitioners)
who are willing to demonstrate and discuss their culinary practices.
While organizing participants I will also contact people and institutions within the
community to see whether they are interested in participating or advising. These
may include faculty within several UH departments, the Language Documentation Project,
and the East-West Center itself. At this point I will also make sure that the project has
funding to cover anticipated needs. I may investigate whether it is possible to set up a
training program with the Academy for Creative Media, the UH Communications Department,
or ‘Ōlelo Community Television, which could give us access to some of the equipment and
facilities these institutions have.
- Training and Preparation:
I have several times in the past presented workshops on ethnobotanical filmmaking,
which have run between two and five hours. Due to the short time of these events,
participants have had a limited opportunity to get experience with the equipment. This
project is designed to redress this problem by continuing training throughout the project in
the form of a workgroup which will allow participants to engage with the activities as we
progress and work together to develop skills and a sense of the field. Although
I will continue to be present during filming sessions throughout the project, as skills
develop I will encourage collaborators to increasingly control the production.
As a group of collaborators assembles and training gets underway,
we will be able to reassess the goals and methodology of the project to make
sure that areas of interest to all the participants have been included.
This may involve refinement of this working plan as well.
Once we have gathered together a team and done some initial work on the methods, we will
begin filming interviews with other EWC residents. I anticipate that this stage of the project
will take several months, since we will need to work at the convenience of consultants and as time
allows for the collaborators. I expect that we will do a major interview (kitchen presentation)
two or three times a month, which will involve several hours of work from a team of collaborators. We will
probably need to do a couple of individual interviews every week as well, which will be easier to film.
Once we have filmed a couple of the major interviews, we will begin working on the next stage, so
we will have a chance to apply anything we learn in the process to the later interviews.
- Editing and Analysis
The final stage of the project will be the assemblage and analysis of material, and the
process of editing it into presentations. Because this stage will be used as a training
tool, an initial set of presentations will follow a fairly structured script. Probably we will work
on extracting a 10-15 mintue "story" of a particular food or set of foods from each of the
food events we filmed, building the narrative by interweaving the event footage, individual
interviews, and b-roll. Where possible we will produce parallel sequences in multiple
languages. Once collaborators have acquired editing skills they may develop other presentations
out of the material.
I plan to use the material to examine the ways in which discourses of food are built in
ongoing interaction. This will entail applying analytic techniques from traditions of conversation,
discourse, and narrative analysis. I hope to find sequences that illustrate the usefulness of
this approach, and include them in a video presentation about food discourse.
Digital technology provides not only new means of creating film, but also new means of
presenting it, allowing viewers to customize their experience through a selection of options.
Little, beyond the choice of languages, has yet been made of these possibilites, but I think
there is room for innovation and I hope that collecting together materials and collaborators
will encourage creative exploration of this technology.
David Strauch |
P.O. Box 62223 | Honolulu, HI 96839
Revised 20 Nov 2006