a place for anthropology and making in the world

About

Otis is an invitation to dive into the between of art and anthropology.

It is an invitation to come and make a mess of things; to both revere and question ‘things as they are’ just enough so that we might find new ways of being and new ways of sharing stories about life.

Each of us is transfixed by the questions of how to describe the worlds in which we live and make.

In chasing answers and better questions, our shelves fill with experiments. We have boxes full, drawers full, paint-tins full, cabinets full, lockers full, of ideas that we don’t know how to use. They sit quietly in the dark, not yet complete because we don’t know how to bring them in the world.

But maybe you do?

We want to prise open a space for you to answer. We want to create a place for the messiness of collective knowledge to reveal its openings, glitches and accidents that let just enough light in to bend how we might think about form and content and the generative in-between of art and anthropology.

‘Making’ rather than ‘taking’ is at the centre of our exchange. It is a style of making that is inherently collaborative with the world and with each other. It is more like dancing than stomping, more like drawing from than drawing on, and much more like improvisation than a reckless winging it.

Otis is the slow, steady, stabilising force on top of which we churn our ideas about the worlds we encounter and how we might better record, participate, activate and understand how we generate them.

In our online home we mimic the discussions had over coffee, across workshop benches, through e-mails, around stovetops, within studio walls and music halls and sitting on floors. Through our digital window, we return to the most organic method of idea generation and experimentation: storytelling.

‘Otis’ grew into life out of the tools with which we tell stories: Object, Text, Image and Sound. These are the mediums of our experiences and they take hold of the technologies that afford us the ability to generate particular kinds of worlds and tell the usual and unusual stories of our lives.

Here you will find us embracing the risks of throwing an idea out into the world to see if it might catch a curious mind and swim. Our work asks, how do we find a better dance with life? How do we better understand the generative power of our attention? And, how do we make with the world instead of continuing to take from it?

We aim to be academically rigorous in the production of knowledge and artistically open to the modes in which we both explore and generate culture and the world. We believe in collective knowing; in knowledge generated out of relationships.

Otis is about making anthropology that is firmly in the world while simultaneously seeking openings in the world of anthropology. We collect the experiments, works and voices of photographers, filmmakers, designers, illustrators, jewellers, musicians, painters, and writers, who are working in anthropology or who, through their practice, open up the frames of attention for anthropology.

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