Ethnography of No Place is a mature narrative, one of fantastic travel and seductive desire.
— Rael Salley, e-misférica


Directed, Written and Produced by: Rachel Lears & Saya Woolfalk
Cinematographer and Editor: Rachel Lears
Narrator: Anaïs Alexandra Tekerian
Featuring: Jean Barberis, Ashley Benzwie, Elisa Casinader, Samara Gaev, Alicia Ildefonso, Shaun El C Leonardo, Georgette Maniatis, Noelle Mason, Alex Phelan, Jessica Snidersich, Vadis Turner, and Saya Woolfalk

Rachel Lears, anthropologist / filmmaker                                               Saya Woolfalk, artist

Rachel Lears, anthropologist / filmmaker                                               Saya Woolfalk, artist

Project Details

Release Date: 2008
Runtime: 30 min.

Ethnography of No Place is a series of video works that document an imaginary world. Constructed from household materials (fabrics, sounds, gestures), the characters and stories evoke travel narratives, science fiction and the rhetoric of anthropology to rework tropes of sexual, racial, and gender difference. Inspired by the historical interconnections between anthropology and art, the piece invites reflection upon the utopian dimensions of both disciplines’ desire to make otherness knowable through visual representation and display.

Ethnography of No Place has screened in numerous galleries and museums worldwide. To see a multimedia presentation on the piece in the journal e-misférica, including stills, clips, an artists' statement and a critical essay on the piece by Rael Salley, click here.

Screenings & exhibitions

  • 2011: Winnipeg Art Gallery, Manitoba, Canada; Glenbow Art Museum, Calgary, Canada; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville, TN

  • 2010: Eli Klein Fine Art, Beijing, China; Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, PA; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX; Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA; Maryland Art Place, Baltimore, MD; Koppelman Gallery, Tufts University Art Gallery, Medford, MA; The Elizabeth Foundation, NY, NY

  • 2009: University at Buffalo Art Gallery, Center for the Arts, Buffalo, NY; Nexus Art Place, Baltimore, MD; Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; Deutsche Bank Art Gallery, NY, NY; Space 204 Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN; Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT; The Drop Urban Art Infill, NY, NY; Rupert Ravens Contemporary, Newark, NJ

  • 2008: Paperwork Gallery, Baltimore, MD; Geisai Miami, Pulse Art Fair, Miami, FL; Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers, Newark, NJ; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY, NY

  • 2007: Asian Contemporary Art Fair, NYC; Japan Society, New York, NY; ZAIM, Yokohama, Japan; Zone Chelsea, New York, NY; Artists Space, New York, NY