Author Archives: Aaron Glass

About Aaron Glass

Bard Graduate Center

Best of Material World Blog: Museums, Exhibitions, Archives, Memorials

– Compiled by Aaron Glass (Bard Graduate Center) 

Since its inception, Material World has treated museums and archives not only as repositories of material culture, but as material culture–that is, material products as well as producers of culture and social memory. As institutions, they are sites of collection and exhibition, acts that have their own material and materializing dimensions.

Here are some of our favorite posts about museums, exhibitions, archives, and memorials:

Graeme Were reviews the Musée du Quai Branly a year after it opened.

Anna Weinrich examines two permanent museum exhibitions in Australia featuring Aboriginal culture and collections by a foundational anthropologist, testing out the new museology against the politics of Aboriginal voice.

Diana Young discusses her curatorial efforts to enliven museum collections in dialogue with Aboriginal artists.

Bethany Edmunds reviews two British exhibitions of Pacific material, reflecting on the role of language in framing both historic and contemporary art and material culture.

Gabriela Nicolescu writes about the aesthetics and ideologies behind changing representation of peasant culture in the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant.

The History Rising project brings together artist and curator to explore the architecture and design of exhibition space, technology, and furniture.

Paul Williams investigates the global trend for museums memorializing atrocities.

In one of the innovative formats on Material World, a conference report details the papers given in a conference called “Disturbing Pasts: Memories, Controversies, and Creativity.”

Matt Voigts discusses London’s vernacular “Ghost bikes” in the context of other urban memorials.

Anna Haverinen explores virtual memorials as means of mourning online.

Christopher Pinney writes about the salvaging of an individual’s photographic archive after monsoon flooding.

Corinne Kratz shares a link to an online archive of publications by Ivan Karp, one of our most prolific and insightful anthropologists of museums and exhibition practice.

And finally, I include one of my own book reviews to call further attention to Museum Pieces, the important 2011 publication by Ruth Phillips that brings togethers essays from her entire career working in and thinking critically about museums.

 

“We left when the bullets were falling like rain:” Syrian refugees’ illustrated stories

These items belonged to a family of four who spent a night in the mountains before arriving in El-Qaa in the northern region of the Bekaa Valley. Their new home was a makeshift tent on agricultural land. Rent was covered by working in the fields for the Lebanese farmer. The children grabbed the teddy bear and soft toy. The mother grabbed a box that she knew the torch was in. All the other items just happened to be in the same box. Even though some of it is useless, such as a TV remote, they could not bring themselves to discard it.

These items belonged to a family of four who spent a night in the mountains before arriving in El-Qaa in the northern region of the Bekaa Valley. Their new home was a makeshift tent on agricultural land. Rent was covered by working in the fields for the Lebanese farmer. The children grabbed the teddy bear and soft toy. The mother grabbed a box that she knew the torch was in. All the other items just happened to be in the same box. Even though some of it is useless, such as a TV remote, they could not bring themselves to discard it.

Earlier this year, artist George Butler spent several days in the refugees’ ‘tented settlements’ of northern Lebanon. His portraits of the people – and the often random possessions they brought with them when they fled their homes – tell their own poignant tales. Picture captions by Nick Rice.

Read the full story and see more images in The Guardian

CFP: Studies and Dialogues between Anthropology and Art

We are pleased to announce the Call for Papers and Visual Projects for the Conference Studies and Dialogues between Anthropology and Art organized by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. The conference will take place in Lima on November 19 -21, 2014.

The keynote speakers for our conference will be Dr. George Marcus, Chancellor´s Professor of Anthropology at University of California Irvine, and Dr. Fred Myers, Silver Professor of Anthropology at New York University.

The deadline for submissions is August 05, 2014. The language of the Conference will be Spanish. For more information and conference updates, please visit our website at seminario.pucp.edu.pe/antropologia-arte/

We look forward to submissions!

Regards,

Giuliana Borea, Conference coordinator

Announcing the Heritage Jam

11th of July 2014 at
the University of York

We’ve just launched a new heritage visualisation project at the University of York & I’m hopeful you might be keen to participate and/or spread the word. Thank you in advance for your interest!

Are you concerned with the way the past is presented? Have you ever worked with (or wished you could work with) art, photos, video, diagrams, websites or other forms of graphic and performance pieces in the context of interpreting the archaeological and heritage records? Are you interested to innovate with the visualisation of history and prehistory?

If so, we invite your participation in The Heritage Jam (www.heritagejam.org), a collaborative global event in heritage visualisation, taking place both online and in-person on the 11th of July 2014 at the University of York.
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CFP: Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and Traditions

Call for Papers
Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Cultural Heritage: Heritage, Tourism and
Traditions
13-16 July 2015, Liverpool, UK

Abstracts of 300 words with full contact details should be sent as soon as
possible but no later than 15th December 2014 to
ironbridge@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Trans-Atlantic dialogues on cultural heritage began as early as the voyages
of Leif Ericson and Christopher Columbus and continue through the present
day. Each side of the Atlantic offers its own geographical and historical
specificities expressed and projected through material and immaterial
heritage. However, in geopolitical terms and through everyday mobilities,
people, objects and ideas flow backward and forward across the ocean, each
shaping the heritage of the other, for better or worse, and each shaping the
meanings and values that heritage conveys. Where, and in what ways are these
trans-Atlantic heritages connected? Where, and in what ways are they not?
What can we learn by reflecting on how the different societies and cultures
on each side of the Atlantic Ocean produce, consume, mediate, filter,
absorb, resist, and experience the heritage of the other?

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Veiled Truths by Hossein Fatemi

"Mayha." Credit: Hossein Fatemi/Panos Pictures. Reposted from the New York Times.

“Mayha.” Credit: Hossein Fatemi/Panos Pictures. Reposted from the New York Times.

The New York Times recently ran this photo essay by the Iranian documentary photographer Hossein Fatemi of diverse women in Tehran posing behind veils of one sort or another, accompanied by a short commentary critiquing the imposition of the hijab on secular women there. While the piece ran in the “Review” (opinion) section of the Sunday print edition, it was featured online — without the commentary — as a “Fashion and Style” slideshow.

 

 

CFP: Missionaries, Materials and the Making of the Modern World

15-17 September 2014
Emmanuel College Cambridge
United Kingdom

While some scholars have understood the activity of overseas Christian missionaries primarily in terms of a ‘Colonization of Consciousness’ (Comaroff & Comaroff 1992), a range of recent scholarship has also emphasised the profoundly material dimensions of much missionary activity. While religious conversion was never unimportant historically, many missionaries have been equally heavily involved in practical projects to remake the world. Their global projects have transformed landscapes, forms of architecture and modes of dress, but have also shaped underlying narratives of modernity and modernisation (Keane 2007).

This flagship international conference will bring scholars from different disciplines together with heritage professionals to explore the global networks of exchange established by Christian missionary organisations, the materials that circulated through these, and the transformational effects these exchanges had in many different parts of the world, including Europe itself. 
Abstracts of up to 200 words emailed to: ga343@cam.ac.uk
Deadline is 29 April
Dr Chris Wingfield
Senior Curator (Archaeology)
MAA, Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3DZ
Tel: + 44 (0)1223 333515
Keep up to date with MAA on facebook: www.facebook.com/MAACambridge

Materiality in Japan: Making, Breaking and Conserving Works of Art and Architecture

April 11, 2014

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Organized by Anton Schweizer, 2012-2014 IFA/Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
RSVP is required. Please find instructions below.

Japan is widely regarded as an exemplar in terms of the preservation of material integrity, the perpetuation of historical production techniques and the responsible preservation of works of architecture and artifacts in museum contexts. The Japanese certification system for Cultural Property – which also includes the category of Living National Treasures for specialist craftsmen who embody manufacturing techniques as Intangible Cultural Property – has earned far-reaching acclaim. It is frequently overlooked, however, that there is actually a wide range of divergent approaches towards originality and authenticity even in contemporary Japan. While some of these inconsistencies find their counterparts in the West, others are related to pre-modern cultural practices, e.g. concurrent concepts of artifacts in divergent contexts of reception and evaluation.

This conference attempts to shed light on this issue with a series of case studies as a means to deconstruct overly simplistic explanatory models.

The conference schedule will follow three thematic sections:

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Access to Museum Worlds Virtual Issues

In celebration of the first ever Museum Week, Berghahn Journals is delighted to offer you free access to two special virtual issues. The first features a collection of articles from eleven of our journals spanning multiple disciplines which deliver scholarly and informed opinion on museum studies. Article topics include: Museums and Education, Museums and Memorials, and Museums and Society. The second virtual issue is a collection of exhibit reviews from our new journal, Museum Worlds: Advances in Research.

Access the virtual issue: bit.ly/P0ugcB Access exhibit reviews from Museum Worlds: bit.ly/1rzHQTE

For more information about Museum Worlds, please visit our website:journals.berghahnbooks.com/air-mw

With best wishes,
Berghahn Journals
journals@berghahnbooks.com

Workshop: (Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects

Registration is now open for the workshop (Mis-)Representing Cultures and Objects at the University of Stirling.
http://misrepresentingcultures.wordpress.com/

The workshop is one of the concluding elements of an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award entitled Tibetan Collections in Scotland 1890-1930: using material culture to establish a critical historiography of missionary and military intent. The project examined the ways in which, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Tibetan artefacts were collected and displayed in Scottish museums, particularly in the Edinburgh museum (now National Museums Scotland, Edinburgh). The Principal Investigator was Dr Timothy Fitzgerald (University of Stirling), with Dr Henrietta Lidchi (National Museums Scotland), and Dr Michael Marten (University of Stirling). The bulk of the research was carried by Inbal Livne, who will shortly be awarded her PhD. A summary of her doctoral thesis is available here.

The workshop will offer an opportunity to find out more about the CDA project, as well as exploring some of the issues that arose from it, in particular examining ways in which (mis-)representations of cultures and objects are connected and influence one another. We therefore welcome Tibet specialists, but also scholars working in a wide variety of disciplinary and geographic fields who can contribute something to the debate as it relates to the museum sector.

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