Material culture in Hungary and everywhere else

Daniel Miller, UCL

 

Krisztina Fehérváry 2013 Politics in Color and Concrete: socialist materialities and the middle class in Hungary. Indiana University Press

Léna Pellandini-Simányi  2014 Consumption Norms and Everyday Ethics. Palgrave Macmillan

Hungary is a good place to take stock of the current state of material culture studies. Because Hungary is simply a good emblem of `anywhere,’ in that it represents neither a vanguard nor a backwater, but works as simply another ordinary place. That is significant to me because the material culture studies that I guess I have always wanted to promote are precisely about this same ordinary whether as blue jeans, or domestic interiors.

Fehérváry’s exemplary scholarship, both historical and ethnographic, takes us through both socialist modernism and post-socialist consumer modernism in the development of contemporary Hungary.… Continue Reading

Best of Material World Blog: On Making, Craft, and Unmaking

Haidy Geismar, UCL

In this post, I link to the very best posts in our archive focused on making, doing and craft.

In Fixing, Things, Fixing Ourselves, Lydia Nicholas writes about Suguru, an open source material for extending the life of mass produced (or any other) artifacts.

In Plan B for a Nuclear Reactor, Paul Williams describes the transformation of a nuclear power plant into a heritage site.

Gabriella Coleman outlines her  theory of hackers, liberalism, and pleasure, which became an important part of her book, Coding Freedom.

Ian Ewart was an Anthropologist Looks at Engineering. 

Adam Drazin presents the Mechanical Postcard, an intervention into UCL Ethnography Collections by Mattijs Siljee, of Massey University, New Zealand.

And on the opposite side of making, unmaking, Helen Polson writes about how Death Bear Wants Your Unhappy Things.… Continue Reading

Authoring King’s Cross

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Who will author the future of King’s Cross? You are invited to join us for an in-person and on-location collaborative update to Wikipedia’s entry for King’s Cross Central on 21st June at The Crossing, Central Saint Martins, 1 Granary Square, London N1C 4AA.We will consider the contents of the existing article and identify what is missing and why. Throughout the afternoon, we will update the Wikipedia entry to more fully reflect the history and contemporary dynamics of King’s Cross from a variety of perspectives. Anyone with an interest is welcome to drop by between 2.30 and 5.30pm.This event is part of the Contested Spaces forum at Central Saint Martins and will be immediately followed by a panel discussion on the theme of Gentrification and Regeneration.

Continue Reading

Best of Material World Blog: Art

Haidy Geismar, UCL

In this new series of summer posts, we, the editors look back at the past 8 or so years that Material world Blog has been going and curate a series of “best of” themed post. Here, I link to what I consider to be some of the very best postings about art on the site.

In his post Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations on the Dhaka-Chittagong Highway Christopher Pinney presents a series of his own technicolour photographs, inspired by Ed Rucha’s 1963 series.

Jonathan Patkowski and Nicole Reiner unpack Alfred Barr’s infamous artist network diagram and unpack the neoliberal logics of the avant-garde as presented in the exhibition “Inventing Abstraction“.

Ryan Schram describes the tensions and identity around the speaker of the Parliament of Papua New Guinea trying to destroy the carvings evoking customary art and identity, made upon independence to decorate the new Parliament House.… Continue Reading

CfP Materialities of Religious Engagement

CfP for papers to be included as part of panel proposal called ‘materialities of religious engagement’ for this year’s British Association for the Study of Religions conference.

Where: This year’s BASR conference will be held at The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

When: 3rd-5th September, 2014.

250 word abstracts may be sent by 16.06.’14

to jaspreet.kaur@wolfson.ox.ac.uk.… Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

Technology and knowing at the British Museum

Haidy Geismar, UCL

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I have been thinking a lot about the power of digital imaging and the kinds of subjectivities that are built into the construction of three dimensional images as particular kinds of visualizations of museum collections. The British Museum is currently host to the exhibition, Ancient Lives New Discoveries,  an exhibition of eight mummies from Egypt and the Sudan ranging from 3500 BC to 700AD. The exhibition presents these eight mummies as individuals and showcases a collaboration with digital imaging and technology partners. Instead of actually unwrapping the mummies, CT and other scanning technology was used to look inside both the sarcophagi and the textile wrappings of the bodies, to uncover the bones and flesh within and to create new three dimensional visualizations.… Continue Reading

Media Worlds and the Ethnographic Imagination Workshop

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Media Worlds and the Ethnographic Imagination

A workshop organised by the Goldsmiths Media Ethnography Group and the Department of Media and Communications, Goldsmiths University of London

June 16th 2014, 10:00am – 6pm

LG01 and 314 Stuart Hall Building (formerly New Academic Building)

Goldsmiths, University of London

This one-day event launches the Goldsmiths Media Ethnography Group, an interdisciplinary network of scholars who use ethnography to understand our mediated worlds. The workshop is organised around a series of talks, panels and round-table discussions which will trace the diverse traditions and future trajectories of media ethnography. Apart from showcasing the richness of ethnographic research on media practices, broadly defined, speakers will also address questions of ethnographic practice. The workshop aims to encourage an interdisciplinary dialogue through which we will consider different types of ethnography (including auto-ethnography and digital ethnography) and the challenges and opportunities of conducting ethnographic research in digital environments.… Continue Reading

Gabriella Coleman on Anonymous

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In March, Gabriella Coleman gave a talk at the UCL Centre for Digital Anthropology drawing on her research with the activist (non)collective Anonymous. Her talk, entitled Anonymous and the Craftiness of Craft and the Trickiness of Trickery, linked Anonymous activists to the anthropological archetype of the trickster, and developed the trope of craft – as an engaged, wholly material practice – as a way to enact trickery.

The talk can be watched by clicking on the following link, or the one above (I’m trying to figure out how to embed it into wordpress)

Gabriella Coleman, March 11, 2014Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading