Re-Sensing the Unnoticed: Developing Tools for Making Complex Spatial Practices Visible and Audible in EMCA Research

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


When EMCA researchers collect and analyse video recordings of social interaction, we tend to rely on a 2-D planar representation of the social and material world. A variety of consumer versions of the 360° and stereoscopic omni-directional camera with spatial audio are now available, but there is a lack of tools to help us view, edit and analyse the resulting video and audio footage from an EMCA perspective. Moreover, many software tools that have already been developed to assist with analysis are anchored in quantitative and text-structural paradigms, which do not have a strong affinity to the texture of video, nor to volume and 3-D space from a members’ perspective. In contrast, this talk reports on two software prototypes that are being developed to assist EMCA researchers who work with data recorded in complex settings. SQUIVE (“Staging Qualitative Immersive Virtualisation Engine”) facilitates interactive and immersive 3-D reconstructions of the site and the scenes in which social and cultural practices took place over time. Through an intuitive interface in virtual reality, CAVA360VR (“Collaborate, Annotate, Visualise, Analyse 360° video in VR”) enables the collaborative exploration of complex spatial video and audio recordings of a single scene in which social interaction occurred. Rather than focus on transcription tools and quantitative big data analytics, the resulting toolkit 1) supports the messy, early stage when beginning to work with complex data; and 2) enhances the later stage when the researcher focuses in on a particular set of practices and a specific strip of conduct, with or without a transcript. In both cases, a more tangible and immersive engagement with current (and future) spatial video and audio recordings is supported.

It is argued that the toolkit – and the analytical possibilities afforded by taking a ‘scenographic turn’ to video analysis – expands the range of abductive-inductive analytical potentials that lie between collecting data and finalising a robust analysis. It leads to a complementary mode of performing, engaging, sharing, collaborating, archiving and training with respect to collecting mixed video data at complex sites of social conduct. The talk will discuss and show examples to illustrate the following:
a) The praxeology of recording complicated settings using the latest camera and capture technologies.b) The staging of a complicated setting for archiving, training and anonymisation using SQUIVE.
c) Working collaboratively with video data using CAVA360VR.
d) Documenting an analysis of specific settings involving complex practices using the tools above.

These issues will be illustrated in relation to two research projects that study complex practices in material settings:
1) Preparing for a live exoskeleton audience participation performance and human-robot experiment in a theatre space.2) Preparing for a ‘crit’ session with architecture students engaged in problem-based learning and project group work.
The talk demonstrates that the toolkit is a resource for live performance of enhanced visual argumentation, accounted for in terms of evidential adequacy and critical reflexivity.
Period2 Jul 2019
Event titleIIEMCA 2019 - The Conference of the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis: Practices
Event typeConference
Conference number2019
LocationManneheim , GermanyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Big Video
  • Architecture
  • Problem Based Learning
  • Cyborg
  • Exoskeleton
  • Video ethnography
  • Practice
  • ethnomethodology
  • Conversation Analysis