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Lana Z Porter

MA work

Ethnographies of the Imagination

The Ethnographer of Imagination constructs worlds to interpret our own.

My practice draws from cultural anthropology, critical theory, and the formal sciences to reveal contradictions and particularities in human behaviour and cognition. 

The tension between the rational and the irrational, the objective and the subjective, and the real and the imaginary in everyday life provides a backdrop for examining how we cope with, make sense of, and invent our own worlds.

In this context, memory and imagination are of particular interest as strategies for managing uncertainty. Mediating between the past, present, and future, memory and imagination play a crucial role in both individual cognitive processes and collective social realities.

By reconfiguring existing concepts and placing them within alternative contexts, my work aims foremost to create new ways of looking at the subject matter. The projects, therefore, are at once explicit and ambiguous, invoking a Brechtian distancing effect to make the familiar 'strange'.

I take a research-based approach, combining ethnography with methods borrowed from computer science, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and design to identify subtle absurdities and unconscious logics. My work aims to engage academic and creative audiences through a variety of forms, from critical writing and web-based media to objects, short films, and graphic design. 


Info

  • Lana Z Porter Headshot
  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Design

    Programme

    MA Design Interactions, 2014

  • The Ethnographer of Imagination constructs worlds to interpret our own.

    My practice draws from cultural anthropology, critical theory, and the formal sciences to reveal contradictions and particularities in human behaviour and cognition. 

    The tension between the rational and the irrational, the objective and the subjective, and the real and the imaginary in everyday life provides a backdrop for examining how we cope with, make sense of, and invent our own worlds.

    In this context, memory and imagination are of particular interest as strategies for managing uncertainty. Mediating between the past, present, and future, memory and imagination play a crucial role in both individual cognitive processes and collective social realities.

    By reconfiguring existing concepts and placing them within alternative contexts, my work aims foremost to create new ways of looking at the subject matter. The projects, therefore, are at once explicit and ambiguous, invoking a Brechtian distancing effect to make the familiar 'strange.'.

    I take a research-based approach, combining ethnography with methods borrowed from computer science, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and design to identify subtle absurdities and unconscious logics. My work aims to engage academic and creative audiences through a variety of forms, from critical writing and web-based media to objects, short films, and graphic design.

  • Degrees

  • BA Cultural Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 2010
  • Experience

  • Interaction design internship, IDEO, Boston, 2013; Design internship, Frank Collective, New York, 2012; Writer and content developer, @radical.media, New York, 2010-12; 'Local Anthropologist', Brooklyn Local Blog, New York Times, New York, 2009
  • Exhibitions

  • Work-in-progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2014; Work-in-progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2013