Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier

Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier
Position
Assistant Professor
Anthropology
Credentials

PhD U of Manchester

Contact
Office: COR B330

I am a visual anthropologist interested in how sound –including music –connects with social life, and with media. I explore the concepts of materiality, infrastructures, circulation, digital media, sonic design and the experiencing of social spaces through sound and vision. Through my research, I address questions such as: how can we create spaces of encounter between individuals by using audio-visual montage techniques?; how does sonic design shape our experiences of everyday life?; and how does new media affect the circulation and consumption of music in different cultural contexts and locations?

In order to explore these questions, I adopt a methodological approach that borrows from the art domains to explore the creative potentials of research in social sciences. More specifically, I am a producer-researcher in addition to be a participant observer. That is, my research projects are lead by the production of audio-visual texts such as films, sound clips, drawings, shorter and longer videos, and audio-visual installations, which are part of the research process and which becomes concrete outcomes of the investigation projects.

I am interested in supervising graduate students whose work relates to visual anthropology (film, audio-visual installations), sound studies (including music), creative practices and methodologies, digital media, infrastructure, cultural policies, Cuba, the Caribbean and South America.

Interests

  • Visual Anthropology
  • Sound
  • Creative practices
  • Digital media
  • Infrastructure
  • Cultural policy
  • Caribbean, Cuba
  • Canada
  • Sonoptica

Current projects

"Wires, Waves and Webs: Media Infrastructures and Sonic Aesthetics in Contemporary Cuba"

Project funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant (2015-2017)  and an Internal Research Grant from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at UVic (2015-2016).

Cuba has one of the lowest internet penetration rates in the world. This has encouraged Cubans to create alternative ways of coping with digital scarcity, including hidden wi-fi antennas and Ethernet cables strung over streets and rooftops, and physical networks of digital media circulation that rely on memory sticks and other portable devices. These alternative networks provide access not only to digital media (text, audio, and image files, cracked software, plug-ins, and anti-virus definitions) but also to what is circulating outside of Cuba. The move to normalize relations between the U.S. States and Cuba announced in 2014 promises to create new opportunities for Cubans—including musicians—in the domains of communication, transportation, and infrastructure. Given recent (and forthcoming) changes related to this announcement, the Wires, Waves and Webs (WWW) project examines the creative impacts of evolving media infrastructures on the production and circulation of digital media in Cuba, specifically how ‘wires, waves and webs’ affect the creation of new collectives and new music during a period of rapid economic and political transformation.

This research addresses this specific gap by exploring how digital music is produced, consumed and circulated in Cuba. Collecting narratives that incorporate stories about the limitations and opportunities offered by media infrastructures helps to understand what it means to consume, share and produce digital music in Cuba today. This project looks at how Cubans use cell phones and the internet and considers the generative impacts of cables, wires and webs. In other words, it explores how mobile phone networks, transmission stations, cable systems, internet routers, server farms, internet service providers, satellites, and undersea cables (among others), as well as the institutions that regulate these systems, are all connected and are all implicated in the circulation of digital media, in the creation of networks and collectives, and in the production of new sonic aesthetics.

Production and experimental audio-visual texts

The project Guardians of the Night (Internal Research Grant 2017-2018), in collaboration with Dr. Eleonora Diamanti (post-doctoral fellow, UVic) is a research-based project that will take the form of a creative and sensorial short-length film about the cyclical and spontaneous life activities that emerge at nighttime in Eastern Cuba. The Guantánamo-based DJ Zevil will produce the soundtrack of the film.

I am in the process of editing the film La Tumba Mambi (2018) co-produced with Havana-based DJ Jiguë. The film follows Flavito, a young member of the tumba francesa La Caridad de Oriente located in Santiago de Cuba, who discovers the rich history of this cultural group, while he is working on a school-based homework. DJ Jiguë created the film’s original soundtrack that combines traditional music of the tumba francesa with electronic influences and rhythms.  

The project Image and Sound Making: A Comparative and Collaborative Approach to Visual Anthropology (FAPESP-UVic grant; 2013-2015) aimed at developing a comparative and collaborative approach in Visual Anthropology between researchers working in different locations. With two Brazilian colleagues working at the University of São Paulo, Dr. Sylvia Caiuby Novaes and Dr. Rose Satiko Gitirana Hikiji, we directed, produced the film Fabrik Funk (2015; 24’) about funk music in the periphery of this mega city. More than a standard ethnographic film based on observational aesthetics and principles, we produced an ethno-fiction which aimed at showing the reality of Negaly, a young woman who would like to take part in the music industry despite the challenges she encounters. In 2015, we finished our second short ethnographic film called The Eagle (17’) about Miguel Aguíla, a Cuban expatriate living in Victoria, British Columbia.

Urban soundscape and interstitial spaces

The project Opening the Back-Alley Pathway: Towards an Audio-Visual and Creative Approach in Anthropology (Faculty of Social Sciences, UVic) explored the landscapes and the soundscapes of Vancouver’s back alleys. The research addressed two main questions: How are back alleys experienced from a visual and sonic perspective in Vancouver; and what can sonic and visual design teach us about the appropriation, interpretation and use of back alleys by social actors? 

Examples of video-clips produced with the collaboration of musicians and artists can be watched here: http://vimeo.com/78777150, http://vimeo.com/73407966.

Selected publications

Books

  • Forthcoming – Aerial Imagination in Cuba: Above the Rooftops. Under contract with Routledge. 
  • 2012.  Afrodescendance, cultures et citoyennetés. Edited with Francine Saillant. Quebec: Laval University Press, Nord-Sud.

Articles and chapters

  • 2017.  Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and Nick Wees. “Creative Engagement with Interstitial Urban Spaces: The Case of the Vancouver’s Back Alleys.” In Urban Encounters: Art and the Public. Edited by Martha Radice and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. McGill University Press: Culture of Cities Series.
  • 2016.  The Fortune of Scarcity: Digital Music in Circulation. In The Routledge Companion to Digital Ethnography, edited by Larissa Hjorth, Heather Horst, Anne Galloway, and Genevieve Bell. Routledge.
  • 2016.  Recording and Editing. In A Different Kind of Ethnography: Practices and Creative Methodologies, edited by Denielle Elliott and Dara Culhane. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p. 69-89.
  • 2016.  L’indicible du visible: l’identité raciale à Cuba et dans le film Golden Scars. In Montrer les esclavages et leurs heritages: Films et regards de chercheurs, edited by Marina Rougeon and Patrick Deshayes. Lyon: Presses Universitaires de Lyon, p. 71-96.
  • 2016.  Boudreault-Fournier, Alexandrine and Rose Hikiji. Etnoficção. Uma ponte entre fronteiras. In A Experiência da imagem na etnografia, edited by Andrea Barbosa, Edgar Teodoro Da Cunha, Rose Satiko Gitirana and Sylvia Caiuby Novaes. São Paulo: Editora Terceiro Nome LTDA, p. 37-58.
  • 2016.  Microtopia in Counterpoint: Relational Aesthetics and the Echo Project. Cadernos de Arte e Antropologia 5(1):135-154.  Article in html and pdf available at this address: https://cadernosaa.revues.org/1060
  • 2015. Loignon, Christine, M. Fortin, C. Bedos, D. Barbeau, A. Boudreault-Fournier et al. Providing Care to Vulnerable Populations: A Qualitative Study Among GPs Working in Deprived Areas in Montreal, Canada. Family Practice 32(2):232-236.
  • 2015. “Positioning the New Reggaetón Stars in Cuba” in Reading Cultural Anthropology: An Ethnographic Introduction by Pamela Stern. Don Mills: Oxford University Press, p. 274-287. [Reprint]
  • 2015. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and Laurent k Blais. “Nous sommes le futur”: Afro-futurisme et images Piu Piu. In Images, sons et récits des Afro-Amériques edited by Francine Saillant & Jorge Santiago. Paris: Archives contemporaines, p. 81-108.
  • 2014. Loignon, Christine, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Karoline Truchon, Yanouchka Labrousse and Bruno Fortin. Medical residents reflect on their prejudices toward poverty: a photovoice training project. BMC Medial Education 14:1050.
  • 2014. Loignon, Christine, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Karoline Truchon, Yanouchka Labrousse and Bruno Fortin. Phtotovoice: Medical Residents Reflecting on Poverty. Medical Education 48(11):1120-1121.
  • 2014. Charlebois, Kathleen, Christine Loignon, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier et al. L’implication des personnes vulnérables dans la recherche participative en soins de santé primaires: une revue de la littérature. Global Health Promotion 0(0):1-8.
  • 2013. Loignon, Christine and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Adaptability of Physicians Offering Primary Care to the Poor: Social Competency Revisited. Healthcare Policy 9 (Special Issue):59-70.
  • 2013. Loignon, Christine, Catherine Hudon, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier et al. Transforming Primary Healthcare by Including the Stakeholders Involved in Delivering Care to People Living in Poverty: EQUIhealThY Study Protocol.BMC Health Services Research. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1472-6963/13/92
  • 2012. Fairley, Jan and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Recording the Revolution: 50 years of Music Studios in Revolutionary Cuba. In The Art of Record Production, edited by Simon Zagorski-Thomas and Simon Frith. London: Ashgate, p. 247-267.
  • 2012. Réflexion autour d’une censure ‘banale’: Lancement du film Golden Scars à Santiago de Cuba. Parcours anthropologiques / InfoCréa #8:12-25.
  • 2012. Francine Saillant and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Introduction. In Afrodescendance, cultures et citoyennetés, edited by Francine Saillant and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Quebec: Laval University Press, Nord-Sud, p. 1-6.
  • 2012. ‘Black is Beautiful’ façon cubaine: Des rappeuses dévoilent leur patrimoine. In Afrodescendance, cultures et citoyennetés, edited by Francine Saillant and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. Quebec: Laval University Press, Nord-Sud, p. 115-136.
  • 2012. Loignon, Christine and Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier. From Paternalism to Benevolent Coaching. Canadian Family Physician, Nov. 58:1194-1195. Also published in French (www.csf.cs, p. e618).
  • 2012. Écho d’une rencontre virtuelle: Vers une ethnographie de la production audio-visuelle. Anthropologica 54(1):1-12.
  • 2010. Ateliers hip-hop et double morale à Cuba. Cahiers de recherche sociologique 49:95-121.
  • 2010. Complicity Through Montage: A Call for an Intercultural Approach to Ethnographic Filmmaking. Ethnologies 31(2):169-188.
  • 2008. Positioning the New Reggaetón Stars in Cuba: From Home-Based Recording Studios to Alternative Narratives. The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 13(2):337-361.
  • 2007. LeBlanc, Marie-Nathalie, Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier and Gabriella Djerrahian. Les jeunes et la marginalisation à Montreal: La culture hip-hop francophone et les enjeux de l’intégration. Les cahiers du groupe de recherche diversité urbaine 7(1):9-29. 

Films and installations

  • 2015.  The Eagle (17 min.). Laboratory of Image and Sound in Anthropology (LISA), University of São Paulo. Launching: October, Uvic.
  • 2015.  Fabrik Funk (25 min.). Laboratory of Image and Sound in Anthropology (LISA), University of São Paulo. Launching: April 25. 2015, São Paulo.
  • 2015.  Derrumbeat: The Beat of Collapse. Selected for the 1st Society for Ethnomusicology, Austin, Texas.  
  • 2014.  Datatrack.Selected for Ethnographic Terminalia 2014. Art exhibition hosted by Heritage Art Gallery, Washington DC.
  • 2011.  Echo ~the first tie. Selected for Ethnographic Terminalia 2011. Art exhibition hosted by Eastern Bloc (Centre for New Media and Interdisciplinary Art), Montreal.
  • 2010.  Golden Scars (61 min.). Funded in part by the Filmmaker Assistance Program (FAP), National Film Board of Canada. Launching: November 22, 2010, National Film Board of Canada, Montreal.