Special Talk: Morgan Quaintance & Laura Harris: Sociology on screen: Filming atmosphere at the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 18:00-19:30
Place: GA Lecture Room (4F), TAKI PLAZA, Ueno Campus, Tokyo University of the Arts

Guests: Morgan Quaintance (artist/writer), Laura Harris (sociologist)
Moderator: Yoshitaka Mori (Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts)

Organizer: Yoshitaka Mori Lab, Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts
Language: English

In this talk, artist Morgan Quaintance and sociologist Dr. Laura Harris will introduce their research and the theories that inform it. Quaintance and Harris are currently shooting a film at the Edo-Tokyo Open-Air Architecture Museum, looking at questions of architectural atmospheres and how they are maintained in museums and similar organisations. The project asks the questions: What do buildings feel like? Whose job is it to maintain this feeling? The project continues Quaintance’s longstanding interest in creating film place portraits (see his ‘Letter From Sapporo’ (2021), for example), and Harris’s research interest in filmmaking as a social research method. Both also have an interest in cultural institutions.

The talk will position their project in a history of sensory ethnography. Sensory ethnography is a field of research practice, mainly based in anthropology, which pays attention to the sensory qualities of field sites. Quaintance and Harris will introduce examples of sensory ethnography which inform their project, as well as related work made by artists working in moving image.

This talk takes place half-way through Quaintance and Harris’ fieldwork. For this reason, it will reflect the open questions that the pair are thinking through in real time.


Morgan Quaintance is a London-based artist and writer. His moving image work has been shown and exhibited widely at festivals and institutions including: Mcevoy Foundaton for the Arts, San Francisco; Konsthall C, Sweden; David Dale, Glasgow. In 2023 his work was the subject of a retrospective screening at MOMA, New York. He is the recipient of multiple awards including the 2022 ARTE Award at Kurzfilm Festival Hamburg; the 2021 Jean Vigo Prize for Best Director at Punto de Vista, Spain, and the New Vision Award at CPH:DOX, Denmark in 2020.

Dr. Laura Harris is a cultural sociologist currently working as an Anniversary Fellow at the University of Southampton on a project called: ‘Experimental Filmmaking and the Cultural Sociology of Place.’ She has a background in art theory and sociology, and her interests include art and its institutions and visual research methods. She is book reviews editor of Cultural Sociology and convenes the British Sociological Associations Sociology of Art group.