Achieving mutual accessibility through the coordination of multiple perspectives in open, unstructured landscapes


  • Michael Sean Smith Linköping University



perception, perspective, multisensoriality, mobility, line of sight, camera-work


Whenever actors perceptually engage with the surrounding world in concert with others, they routinely attend to the degree to which their perceptions (whether visual, aural, tactile, etc.) do or do not overlap with their co-participants. In making a perception publicly accessible then, participants must not only attend to potential perceptual gaps, but have-at-hand a range of discursive and embodied practices for closing those and making what is perceived by one mutually accessible to others. In this paper, using data collected from a geological field-school, I investigate the embodied and mobile practices that participants use for coordinating perception via perspective in open, wilderness settings. I focus in particular on the visual practices that participants use for making what one “sees” in the landscape or activity “seeable" for others. These practices are in turn analyzed with regard to how they highlight the camera’s role in documenting the embodied means by which these practices work. In the analysis of data, we will see the participants’ perspective or line of sight, i.e., the axis of their gaze become a more explicit and salient feature for coordinating the interaction. Field geology provides a perspicuous setting for not just investigating how participants reconfigure themselves vis-a-vis local features in the landscape in order to perceive those features, but also for examining the relationship between the videographer’s perspective as documented on camera and that of the participants.


Broth, Mattias & Lundström, Fredrick (2013). A walk on the pier: Establishing relevant places in mobile instruction. In P. Haddington, L. Mondada, & M. Nevile (Eds.), Interaction and Mobility: Language and the Body in Motion (pp. 91-122). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, GmbH.

Bubandt, Nils Ole (1997). Speaking of Places: Spatial Poesis and Localized Identity. In J. J. Fox (Ed.), The Poetic Power of Place. Comparative Perspectives on Austronesian Ideas of Locality (pp. 132-162). Canberra: Australian National University Press.

Goodwin, Charles (1997). The Blackness of Black: Color Categories as Situated Practice. In L. B. Resnick, R. Säljö, C. Pontecorvo, & B. Burge (Eds.), Discourse, Tools and Reasoning: Essays on Situated Cognition (pp. 111-140). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg.

Goodwin, Charles (2000a). Practices of Seeing: Visual Analysis: An Ethnomethodological Approach. In T. van Leeuwen & C. Jewitt (Eds.), Handbook of Visual Analysis (pp. 157-182). London: Sage Publications.

Goodwin, Charles (2000b). Action and embodiment within situated human interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 32(10), 1489-1522.

Goodwin, Charles (2007). Environmentally Coupled Gestures. In S. D. Duncan, J. Cassell & E. T. Levy (Eds.), Gesture and the Dynamic Dimension of Language (pp. 195-212). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Goodwin, Charles (2010). Things and their Embodied Environments. In L. Malafouris & C. Renfrew (Eds.), The Cognitive Life of Things (pp. 103-120). Cambridge, UK: McDonald Institute Monographs

Goodwin, Charles & Smith, Michael Sean (2020). Calibrating professional perception through touch in geological fieldwork. In A. Cekaite & L. Mondada (Eds.), Touch in Social Interaction: Touch, Language and Body (pp. 269-287). London: Routledge

Gibson, James (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Haddington, Pentti; Mondada, Lorenza & Nevile, Maurice (2013). Being Mobile: Interaction on the Move. In P. Haddington, L. Mondada & M. Nevile (Eds.), Interaction and Mobility: Language and the Body in Motion (pp. 3-64). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, GmbH.

Ingold, Tim (2004). Culture on the Ground: The World Perceived Through the Feet. Journal of Material Culture, 9(3), 315-340.

Jefferson, Gail. (2004). Glossary of transcript symbols with an Introduction. In G. H. Lerner (Ed.), Conversation Analysis: Studies from the first generation (pp. 13-23). Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Kendon, Adam (1990). Conducting interaction: Patterns of behavior in focused encounters. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kreplak, Yaël & Mondémé, Chloe (2014). Artworks as touchable objects: Guiding perception in a museum tour for blind people. In M. Nevile, P. Haddington, T. Keisanen & M. Rauniomaa (Eds.), Interacting with objects: language, materiality, and social activity (pp. 295-319). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Mondada, Lorenza (2005). La constitution de l'origo déictique comme travail interactionnel des participants: une approche praxéologique de la spatialité. Intellectica. Revue de l'Association pour la Recherche Cognitive, 41(2), 75-100.

Mondada, Lorenza (2009). Video recording practices and the reflexive constitution of the interactional order: some systematic uses of the split-screen technique. Human Studies, 32(1): 67-99.

Mondada, Lorenza (2012). Garden lessons: Embodied action and joint attention in extended sequences. In H. Nasu & F. Chaput Waksler (Eds.), Interaction and Everyday life: Phenomenological and ethnomethodological essays in honor of George Psathas (pp. 293-311). Lanham: Lexington Books.

Mondada, Lorenza (2014). Bodies in action: Multimodal analysis of walking and talking. Language and Dialogue, 4(3), 357-403.

Mondada, Lorenza (2016). Challenges of multimodality: Language and the body in social interaction. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 20(3), 336-366.

Mondada, Lorenza (2018a). The multimodal interactional organization of tasting: Practices of tasting cheese in gourmet shops, Discourse Studies, 20(6), 743-769

Mondada, Lorenza (2018b). Visual practices: video studies, multimodality and multisensoriality. In D. Favareau (Ed.) Co-Operative Engagements in Intertwined Semiosis: Essays in Honour of Charles Goodwin (pp. 304-325). Tartu Semiotics Library, 19. Tartu: Tartu University Press

Mondada, Lorenza (2019a), Rethinking bodies and objects in social interaction: a multimodal and multisensorial approach to tasting. In U. T. Kissmann & J van Loon (Eds.) Discussing New Materialism: Methodological Implications for the Study of Materialities, (pp. 109-134). Wiesbaden: Springer

Mondada, Lorenza (2019b). Practices for Showing, Looking, and Videorecording: The Interactional Establishment of a Common Focus of Attention. In E. Reber & C. Gerhardt (Eds.), Embodied Activities in Face-to-face and Mediated Settings: Social Encounters in Time and Space (pp. 63-104). Springer International Publishing.

Mondada, Lorenza (2020). Audible Sniffs: Smelling-in-Interaction. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 53(1), 140-163.




How to Cite

Smith, M. S. (2021). Achieving mutual accessibility through the coordination of multiple perspectives in open, unstructured landscapes. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 4(3).