Mariko Smith

 
Mariko Smith
IVSA Board Member

I undertake an interdisciplinary practice in academic research and the GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives, and museums) sector, specialising in visual sociology, contemporary art, museology, epistemology, and public history. I am currently the First Nations Assistant Curator at the Australian Museum in Sydney, Australia and an Honorary Associate in the School of Literature, Art & Media of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney; having previously been a Wingara Mura Fellow and Associate Lecturer at the University’s Sydney College of the Arts.

I completed my PhD at the University of Sydney’s Department of Sociology and Social Policy on the topic of the socio-cultural phenomenon of Aboriginal tied-bark canoe making for south-eastern Australian Aboriginal communities. My thesis involved visual-based methods, namely documentary photography and photo elicitation studies. I demonstrated that visual sociology has the capacity to promote empowering, culturally-appropriate research methodologies and methods which reflect the sensory-based, collaborative engagements in Indigenous ways of knowing.

I won a 2019 Rieger Paper/Project Award for my PhD’s contribution to sustaining and documenting cultural practices of Aboriginal communities through visual story telling of place-based learning. I use the camera to produce photographs which communicate powerful visual statements about strong communities and cultural resilience. As a Koori woman of the Yuin Aboriginal Nation on the New South Wales South Coast, who also has Anglo-Australian and Japanese heritage, I am passionate about including First Nations perspectives, experiences, and insight in the fields of visual sociology and visual methods.

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  • Photographers learn to interpret photographs in that technical way because they want to understand and use that ‘language’ themselves (just as musicians learn a more technical musical language than the layman needs). Social scientists who want to work with visual materials will have to learn to approach them in this more studious and time-consuming way

    Howard Becker

  • Give us adequate images. We lack adequate images. Our civilization does not have adequate images. And I think a civilization is doomed or is going to die out like dinosaurs if it doesn’t develop an adequate language for adequate images.

    Werner Herzog

  • We never really know what’s around the corner when we’re filming – what turn a story will take, what a character will do or say to surprise us, how the events in the world will impact our story.

    Barbara Kopple

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    There are dignified stupidities, and there are heroic stupidities, and there is such a thing as stupid stupidities, and that would be a stupid stupidity not to have a camera on board.

    Werner Herzog

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    Every photograph promises more than it delivers and delivers more than it intended.

    Steve Harp

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    The task for sociology is to come to the help of the individual. We have to be in service of freedom. It is something we have lost sight of.

    Zygmunt Bauman

  • Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.

    George Lucas

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    Visual culture is now the study of how to understand change in a world too enormous to see but vital to imagine.

    Nicholas Mirzoeff

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    If it’s far away, it’s news, but if it’s close at home, it’s sociology.

    James Reston

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    Reality changes; in order to represent it, modes of representation must change.

    Bertolt Brecht

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    The function of sociology, as of every science, is to reveal that which is hidden.

    Pierre Bourdieu

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    Sometimes one picture is equal to 30 pages of discourse, just as there are things images are completely incapable of communicating.

    William S. Burroughs

  • I believe that we face incredible obstacles in our attempts to see the world. Everything in our nature tries to deny the world around us; to refabricate it in our own image; to reinvent it for our own benefit. And so, it becomes something of a challenge, a task, to recover (or at least attempt to recover) the real world despite all the impediments to that end.

    Errol Morris

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    One advantage of photography is that it’s visual and can transcend language.

    Lisa Kristine

  • Watching a documentary with people hacking their way through some polar wasteland is merely a visual. Actually trying to deal with cold that can literally kill you is quite a different thing.

    Henry Rollins

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    For any picture, ask yourself what question or questions it might be answering. Since the picture could answer many, questions, we can decide what question we are interested in.

    Howard Becker

  • You try your hardest to give people their space, but at moments you know you’re capturing their image in ways they may or may not be okay with. It’s that rocking back and forth between respect and betrayal that I feel like is at the heart of the film.

    Kirsten Johnson

  • If you want to tell the untold stories, if you want to give voice to the voiceless, you’ve got to find a language. Which goes for film as well as prose, for documentary as well as autobiography. Use the wrong language, and you’re dumb and blind.

    Salman Rushdie

#Visualsociology

Patricia

RT @VisualScholars: Manon Ott has received the #IVSA #Riegeraward 2020. Shot during a five years immersion research, “Ash and ember” (De c…

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