5.6 Having a Go


The first time

Let us take a look at video clip. What you should do is: note down what you see when you watch it for the very first time. You are not trying to be theoretical or creative at this point, just putting down on paper the obvious thing that you reckon anyone else would also see happening.

Basic Description
Here is one basic description: two customers are sitting at separate tables in a Caffe Nero. Another customer arrives with her buggy looking for a seat and ends up asking the customer closest to the camera if she can sit near her.

We want to note down this basic description because what we see, first time around, is an important thing to jot down immediately. Why? Because one of the peculiar things about watching and paying attention to the same fragment again is that what we saw as obvious first time quickly disappears after that first time. Or it should do. When we look at recordings repeatedly they start to evolve, to become obscure, to become disjointed, to become known in where they will go. We simply cannot see it the same way as we saw it the first time anymore. The first time was the first time we saw it and we didn’t know already what was going to happen. From that first viewing onwards we know what happened and so our looking at the fragment is transformed. Second time around, we are now also looking for other things than what we have already seen. Our concern shifts toward less what happened than how it happened. Less where did they get to than how did they get there.

In the project Chris Philo and I were researching, we were interested in the everyday civility of the cafe. How the interior of the cafe was made to feel welcoming or equally how someone might feel unwelcome. These might seem to be intangible ‘mental’ feelings that we can only indirectly access. However the approach we are using here treats the welcome of a place instead as publicly displayed, inter-subjective things made visible to participants. In looking at the video clip, hopefully then you saw ‘what happened’ and we can now shift to considering how that happened.