“You have been told to go grubbing in the library, thereby accumulating a mass of notes and liberal coating of grime. You have been told to choose problems wherever you can find musty stacks of records based on trivial schedules prepared by tired bureaucrats. This is called “getting your hands dirty in real research.”
Those who counsel you are wise and honorable; the reasons they offer are of great value. But one more thing is needful: first hand observation. Go and sit in the lounges of the luxury hotels and on the doorsteps of flophouses; sit on the Gold Coast settees and the slum shakedowns; sit in the Orchestra Hall and in the Star and Garter burlesque. In short, [ladies and] gentlemen, go get the seat of your pants dirty in real research.”
– An unpublished 1920s quote by Robert E. Park, recorded by Howard Becker.
For the workshop we focused on methodological approaches and tools that might be able to generate ethnographic data on the practice of the urban everyday life. How to capture the invisible? The unspeakable?
To find new approaches and to bridge theoretical concepts with interdisciplinary research methods, we invited the mapping Artist Diana Lucas-Drogan and the author Sebastian Bührig, to share insights on how they – through their vey own artistic, poetic and creative practice of doing research – find access to the complexities of urban settings. During the fieldtrip the participants were ask, to look for wonders, and surprises, for possibilities of promissing observations in the urban field – to collect first memos, writings and mappings at Leipziger Straße in Berlin.