Author Archive | Haidy Geismar

Charlotte’s stockings, Emily’s walking stick, Anne’s handkerchief

Samantha Ellis at the Times Literary Supplement reviews a new book by Deborah Lutz, The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in nine objects. 

This book is partly an attempt to talk to the dead, by looking at (and holding, sniffing, weighing) the Brontës’ things. Fans of the writers who cross the world to gaze at Charlotte’s stockings and Anne’s bloodstained handkerchief, sequestered behind glass, might envy Lutz’s intimacy with these objects. They sometimes speak as eloquently about their owners as the books, maybe because although we may not have written great novels, we all have stuff. We have also all watched CSI, so there is something familiar about Lutz, hunched over a scratch on Emily Brontë’s desk, as she says herself, “Was this a message from the dead, or just the results of a bump into a table?

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The Anti-Camera

Christopher Pinney, UCL Anthropology

I recently came across M.N. Srinivas’ observation that his enthusiastic engagement with photography, during his fieldwork in Mysore in the late 1940s, earned him the nickname “chamara man”. He notes that in Kannada chamara denotes whisks made of the long hair from a yak’s tails used by servants to keep flies away from Rajas and by priests to preserve the purity of icons.

In the Madhya Pradesh village where I have worked intermittently since 1982 you will hear echoes of the metaphor that informs the South Indian description of Srinivas as “chamara man”. For instance, Jagdish Sharma, the pujari of the Krishna temple once joked that my video camera embodied “yantra, mantra, [and] tantra”, yantra being the design (“made in Japan”), mantra being the information it stored, and tantra being the magic of technology (its “mashinari”).…

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New Open Access Series: Anthropology and Photography and open access initiatives from the Global Social Media Impact Study

Haidy Geismar, UCL

The movement towards open access has continued to gain momentum in the social sciences, and in anthropology, with important new journals such as Hau; and new movements to develop alternative publishing collectives afoot. I have just stepped down as editor of the Journal of Material Culture where we are moving a little slower. We have committed to ensuring that there is at least one open access article per issue, and Sage has a very generous Green archiving policy which allows the accepted version of an article to be made available immediately. However, Sage owns both the title and the back issues of the journal which makes a transition to fully open access more of a decision to form a completely new title.…

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Some thoughts about the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

Haidy Geismar, UCL

I recently spent an afternoon at the site of the former twin towers, where now there lies, imprinted on the foundations, one of the largest memorials I have visited, and underneath that a cavernous museum, both dedicated to memorializing the events of September 11, 2001. This review has emerged out that experience and from a conversation with Harvey Molotch who recently wrote a review of the 911 museum at Public Books. Called “How the 9/11 Museum Gets Us” Molotch reflects on the affective qualities of the museum, pulling together a powerfully christian iconography, personalizing the experience by exploring the victims in material detail through their possessions, and whitewashing historical context.

Photography was not allowed inside the main exhibit so the images I present show the memorial, and the outer areas  of the museum which allow the visitor to traverse the spectral foundations in the former basement of the building, punctuated by large remnants of the day, such as the Vesey street stairs, one of the few pieces of architecture left in one piece which has been relocated here through to fire trucks and steel girders.…

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Australian National University is hiring three Lecturers in museum anthropology

The School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Centre for Heritage and Museum Studies, and Centre for Digital Humanities Research at the ANU has recently advertised three positions for which we are seeking outstanding and dynamic applicants.

Lecturer, Level B, Museum Anthropology, ongoing appointment, applications close on 15 November

Lecturer, Level B, Museum Studies (Museum and Collections), 5 year appointment, applications close on 17 November

Lecturer, Level B, Digital Humanities, 3 year appointment, applications close on 2 November

jobs.anu.edu.au/cw/en/job/507159/lecturer-museum-anthropology

jobs.anu.edu.au/cw/en/job/507163/lecturer-museum-studies-museums-and-collections

jobs.anu.edu.au/cw/en/job/507033/lecturer-digital-humanities

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Media in Transition

A major international conference focused on the intersection of media art and technological change over time. How is this shifting the way museums operate and how conservation works?  

Tate Modern
Julia Scher Interviewed at SFMOMA as part of the Artist Initiative. Courtesy of SFMOMA.

Julia Scher Interviewed at SFMOMA as part of the Artist Initiative. Courtesy of SFMOMA.


18, 19 & 20 November 2015
Adult £180
Concession £120

Three artists, Susan Hiller, Runa Islam, and Hito Steyerl will launch Media in Transition with their keynote presentations. The conference will promote interdisciplinary in-depth discussions and lively debate about specific works of art including those by Joseph Beuys, David Lamelas, Gustav Metzger, Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Julia Scher
 
Hosted by the Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Research Institute and Tate, this landmark event brings together the major institutions and thinkers at the forefront of responding to the needs of an important group of contemporary artworks.
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The Story of Seething & being a little bit Stupid

David Jeevendrampillai, UCL Anthropology

Image 1: The Story of Seething Exhibition. Jan - May 2015. UCL Anthropology (Photo Credit: Timothy Carroll).

Image 1: The Story of Seething Exhibition. Jan – May 2015. UCL Anthropology (Photo Credit: Timothy Carroll).

UCL promotes itself as a leading global university and frequently ranks amongst the top institutions in the world; it also houses the UK’s largest Anthropology department. The department has an international reputation as a leader in Anthropological research with a particular history and strength in material culture studies. Upon entering the department’s central London campus one is greeted by a reception replete with well-lit display cases which house exhibitions of current UCL research and items from the extensive and rich Ethnographic Collection.

In the final months of writing my PhD I was invited to organise an exhibition using the three main cabinets in the foyer of the department.…

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Unleashing the Chaîne Opératoire: Students’ experimentation with an old methodology.

Ludovic Coupaye, UCL Anthropology

Over the last five years, undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled in the course emphatically called “Transforming and Creating Worlds: Anthropological Perspectives on Techniques and Technology” have been given as a short assignment the recording of a short task of their choice and present it in the form of a Chaîne Opératoire.

Originally developed by French anthropologist André Leroi-Gourhan, in the tradition of Marcel Mauss, and further developed by ethnographers such as Pierre Lemonnier, the Chaîne Opératoire is, ironically enough, more used by archaeologists (who, by definition, cannot see people doing things) than by anthropologists, who, per definition see people doing and making things and are supposed to participate themselves. In this assignment, students have re-appropriated this methodology as form of ethnographic and interpretative experiment.…

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Call for papers: The art market in a global perspective

Via Olav Velthuis, University of Amsterdam

28-30 January 2016, University of Amsterdam, Department of Sociology

The aim of this multidisciplinary international conference is to bring together theoretical perspectives (ranging from sociology, anthropology, art history, economics and geography) that help advance our understanding of how art markets function, while offering high-level qualitative and quantitative empirical contributions to their local and global articulations. We particularly welcome contributions on emerging art markets in countries such as China, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, India or Brazil.

The conference seeks to delve into the shifting relationship between established and emerging art markets through a series of paper presentation and keynote sessions, as well as panel discussions with expert practitioners from the field (gallerists, artists, collectors, museum directors), drawing on experiences from a variety of geographical contexts.…

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Occasional Paper 5: Mr Coperthwaite – a life in the Maine Woods

Anna Grimshaw, Emory University

Bill with magnifying glass

In 1960, Bill Coperthwaite bought 300 acres of wilderness in Machiasport, Maine.

Influenced by the poetry of Emily Dickinson and by the back to the land movement of Scott and Helen Nearing, Bill Coperthwaite was committed to what he called“a handmade life.”   For over fifty years until his death in 2013, he lived and worked in the forest. He was a builder of yurts, and a maker of spoons, bowls and chairs.

I met Bill Coperthwaite not long after I bought a house in Machiasport.   He was, of course, well-known to local people, many of whom affectionately recalled childhood adventures of exploring and working in the woods with Bill.   But he was also something of an international figure, drawing visitors to Dickinson’s Reach from different parts of the world.…

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