The driveway isn't just an ordinary or somewhat unimportant place at Olala Farms, it rather is a space to spend some time meditating, listening to the birds and the trees that surround you, a place where many incredible stories are told and many interesting discussions are held. During summertime it's the place to be because the trees provide enough shade to shield you from the hot summer sun, and if you are lucky, a nice breeze will keep you cool and comfortable. The driveway's location gives you a perfect overview of the things happening around the house, with a nice view of the pond, where you can hear the bullfrogs croak. You can also hear the visitors driving towards the house from afar, if the dogs barking didn't already announce their arrival.
Using the concept of 'atmosphere' as an analytical instrument to capture everyday moods "[b]y activating all the senses and testing analytical tools like rhythm, intensity, and props, a new analytical dimension in the study of everyday emerges. To describe a mood calls for a combination of a number of analytical and ethnographic tools that make it possible to turn into words what otherwise disappears without a trace. Things are registered in a glimpse, a passing hunch, or a fleeting image." (Ehn, Löfgren and Wilk 2016, 98) This way of perceiving, observing and participating, by sharpening our senses, has been very helpful in getting a deeper understanding and feeling of our 'research site', particularly since we were focusing on the rather uneventful and slow-paced 'everyday life'. "Trying to capture the sensual dimensions of everyday life means to explore how hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smelling work together to define a situation or influence social relations. Ignoring such dimensions of embodied culture makes ethnography thin." (ibid. 2016, 81) To be able to write, or in our case, produce, a thick ethnography, it is necessary to try to capture the totality of the atmosphere, and therefore to better understand what it means to live at Olala Farms. It is the above mentioned combination of tools that led us to produce a multimedia ethnography, not only mixing different media, but also using a somewhat more poetic and literary writing style that is more subjective and personal.
Sterling and Arthur in the Driveway
In the evening the light that reaches the driveway is very magical.
Ehn, Billy, Orvar Löfgren and Richard Wilk. 2016. Exploring Everyday Life. Strategies for Ethnography and Cultural Analysis. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.