‘R’ glanced nervously as the black baton-like object was handed to him. He wanted to share his ideas which were responses to the previous speaker. He was acutely aware of the gaze of the discussants and the people in the room. As he began to speak, he realised that something was wrong. The mike was not working! There was a red glowing light on it, ominously indicating either function or non function in a sort of “diffused ambiguous way”.
Everyone is waiting while ‘R’ struggles to find the right thing to do. Not ethically, that is easy to figure out for an anthropologist on the field. But this was a real world, techno-tangible problem. As the stress levels peak, the audio-in-charge is already at the elbow, smiling gently and making the mike carry the voice to the remotest ears in the room.
What is he thinking, the audio person as he sits in the room through our session? As invisible as the camera man. Is he aware of the room dynamics or is it just a day of work for him? A medical seminar on super computers, a music program- he is on the dial carrying voices and sounds to everyone. The organisers smile at him not and then, invite him to take coffee or snack with them. While other, in a different world, seem to be unaware that we have had three camera men over two days.