Sensory Ethnography Lab
Founded by Lucien Castaing-Taylor in 2006, Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab promotes innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnography, especially in film, video, sound, and photography. The Sensory Ethnography Lab has been honored with retrospectives around the globe, including as part of the 2014 Whitney Biennial in New York, and has produced some of the most acclaimed and groundbreaking documentaries in recent years.

Buy entire collection Get 35% off
Buy 10 films Get 30% off
Buy 5 films Get 25% off
*Discount will be automatically applied in your cart at checkout.
LINEFORK
LINEFORK

Anthropology  American Studies  2017  Music  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Cinema Studies  Aging / Gerontology 

Meet Lee and Opal, an elderly couple living in the Appalachian Mountains. Recorded over three years, Linefork is an observational film about marriage, community, resilience, and the raw yet delicate music of an unheralded banjo legend, linked to the past yet immediately present.

SINGLE STREAM
SINGLE STREAM

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Labor Studies  Environmental Studies  2014  Business 

A singular appreciation of waste processing " graceful, mesmeric, almost balletic " Single Stream plunges viewers into the steady flow of a materials recycling facility where hundreds of tons of refuse are sorted each day. Yet another revelatory documentary from Harvard"s Sensory Ethnography Lab Single Stream locates the beauty, efficiency and futurism of an industry built on our culture of excess.

AS LONG AS THERE’S BREATH
AS LONG AS THERE’S BREATH

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Women's Studies  Labor Studies  Asian Studies  2014  Directed by Women 

Following the acclaimed Kale and Kale and Monsoon- Reflections, As Long as There's Breath is Stephanie Spray's third film documenting the lives of the Gayeks family in Nepal. Building on a deep bond of trust (Spray was eventually adopted by the family), she captures a multi-generational household struggling for cohesion after the departure of a beloved son.

UNTITLED
UNTITLED

Sensory Ethnography Lab  2014  Asian Studies  Anthropology  Directed by Women 

A revealing one-shot portrait of two Nepali newlyweds in a moment of rest and playful interaction, Untitled challenges our perception of two themes at the very core of ethnographic filmmaking: human relationships and the ways in which they can be experienced by the viewer.

KĀLE AND KĀLE
KĀLE AND KĀLE

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Asian Studies  Anthropology  2014  Directed by Women 

In exploring the lives of two wandering Nepali musicians, an uncle and nephew, Kāle and Kāle (pronounced kah-lay) exposes the rootless occupation of the Gaine caste and communicates both its joys and pitfalls – domestic, economic and spiritual – in their daily lives.

MONSOON-REFLECTIONS
MONSOON-REFLECTIONS

Women's Studies  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Labor Studies  Asian Studies  Anthropology  2014  Directed by Women 

Drawing its title from a poem by the renowned Nepali poet Lekhnath Paudyal, which depicts the monsoon season as sublime and blissful, “joyous from start to finish,” filmmaker Stephanie Spray captures the melancholy and grit of two strong-willed female field hands (passengers in Spray and Velez’ Manakamana) as they carry out their arduous routines; a deeply felt reflection on labor, gender, and fleeting pleasures in rural Nepal.

THE YELLOW BANK
THE YELLOW BANK

2014  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Asian Studies  Anthropology 

A short documentary that captures the longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century, The Yellow Bank takes you on a contemplative boat ride across the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. The film uses the eclipse as a catalyst to explore the way weather, light, and sound affect the urban architectural environment during this extremely rare phenomenon.

SONGHUA
SONGHUA

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Labor Studies  Environmental Studies  Asian Studies  Anthropology  2014 

In northeastern China, the Songhua River has for generations served as a vital center – for leisure, commerce, and most importantly, drinking water – for the people of Harbin. Filmed only one year after a major chemical spill in its waters, Songhua depicts the enduring and complex relationship between the city’s residents and their "mother river," and considers the environmental implications of the waterway’s condition.

DEMOLITION / CHAIQIAN (拆 - 迁)
DEMOLITION / CHAIQIAN (拆 - 迁)

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Asian Studies  2014  Sociology  Urban Studies  Labor Studies 

Focusing on a vast demolition site in the center of Chengdu, the Sichuan capital in western China, a bustling site emblematic of the rapid growth and development occurring throughout the country, J.P. Sniadecki’s Demolition is a wonderfully patient and revealing portrait of the migrant laborers who work and live in its shadow.

TERRACE OF THE SEA
TERRACE OF THE SEA

Sensory Ethnography Lab  Photography  Middle Eastern Studies  Anthropology  2014  Art History  Directed by Women 

Filmed in an unofficial Palestinian Bedouin camp that was established in 1948 on a stretch of beach in South Lebanon, Terrace of the Sea uses a collection of family photographs taken over three generations as a prism through which to reflect on memory, loss and history.

STILL LIFE
STILL LIFE

Sensory Ethnography Lab  2014  Anthropology  Photography  Aging / Gerontology  Middle Eastern Studies  Art History  Directed by Women 

"The Arab governments pushed us out of our homes… I was twelve years old… I’ve been here for 60 years." A beautiful, poignant, documentary, Still Life examines the effect a collection of personal photos showing life in Palestine before the 1948 displacement have on an elderly Palestinian fisherman living in exile in Lebanon.

MANAKAMANA
MANAKAMANA

Asian Studies  Cinema Studies  Anthropology  Cultural Studies  2014  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Directed by Women 

Produced by the directors of Sweetgrass and Leviathan, Manakamana is an exhilarating, one-of-a-kind documentary experience. Filmed entirely inside the narrow confines of a cable car, high above a jungle in Nepal, that transports villagers to an ancient mountaintop temple, it is an acute ethnographic investigation into culture, religion, technology and modernity.

YUMEN
YUMEN

Asian Studies  Anthropology  Performing Arts  Cinema Studies  2014  Sensory Ethnography Lab 

A collaboration between two Chinese artists, Xu Ruotao and Huang Xiang, and acclaimed American filmmaker J.P. Sniadecki, Yumen is a documentary-fiction hybrid that tells the story of a ghost town, a once-thriving oil-rich community in China's western Gansu province, through a series of wandering characters and inventive vignettes. Produced with the support of SEL

PEOPLE'S PARK
PEOPLE'S PARK

Anthropology  Asian Studies  Cinema Studies  Cultural Studies  2014  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Directed by Women 

Produced at Harvard's groundbreaking Sensory Ethnography Lab (Sweetgrass, Leviathan, the upcoming Manakamana), People's Park is an exhilarating single shot documentary that immerses viewers in an unbroken journey through an urban park in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, offering a fresh gaze on public interaction, leisure and self-expression in China.

LEVIATHAN
LEVIATHAN

Anthropology  Cinema Studies  Environmental Studies  Labor Studies  2013  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Directed by Women 

One of the most critically-acclaimed documentaries in recent years, Leviathan is a groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Directed by the award-winning filmmakers of Sweetgrass and Foreign Parts, Leviathan is a purely visceral, cinematic experience.

SWEETGRASS
SWEETGRASS

Environmental Studies  Anthropology  American Studies  2010  Sensory Ethnography Lab  Directed by Women 

For countless generations, Western ranchers have ranged their animals on public lands. An extraordinarily beautiful, critically-acclaimed documentary, Sweetgrass follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana's Absaroka-Beartooth mountains for summer pasture.