Zoe Laughlin of UCL’s Institute of Making has a new podcast, Things That Make Us. Following the model of Desert Island Discs, each week, Laughlin interviews someone asking them to chose five things that they feel have shaped and moulded their lives and practice. The first two weeks interview the artist, Cornelia Parker, and food critic and journalist, Jay Rayner.…
Tag Archives | material culture
Haidy Geismar, UCL Anthropology
My Life With Things: The Consumer Diaries by Elizabeth Chin, 2016. Duke University Press.
My Life with Things is an engaging, quirky, auto-ethnography detailing key moments of Elizabeth Chin’s life, focusing especially on her passionate relationship with commodities and processes of consumption (from shopping in thrift stores and on eBay through to her obsessions with home decoration). Narratives and diaries written over several years present Chin’s anxieties, desires, and needs as they are emerge in relation to shopping for clothes, for her home, and for her daughter. These are interspersed with a tracking of the personal and familial relationships of Karl Marx. The central argument, that the personal is political, that materiality matters, and that political economy is a sensorium of lived experience as well as a systemic process of the book builds upon Peter Stallybrass’ beautiful essay, Marx’s Coat (1998).…
In a new series of postings, we draw two research projects on miniatures together in dialogue:
Jonathan Walz is an anthropologist who practices archaeology in eastern Africa and the western Indian Ocean. This contribution arises from his long-term interest in representations of archaeology and Africa and previous explorations of miniatures, often overlooked by archaeologists more typically drawn to monuments. The tendency to miniaturize impacts the form and substance of practices, materials, and the eventual effects of things on humans in the endless entanglement of material, agency, subjectivity, memory, and affect. Postage stamps collapse of multiple symbols into proximity motivates metonymy and the exchanges and contests among bundled ideas rooted in the negotiated political landscape of the public and nation-state.…
Adam Drazin, UCL Anthropology
How, when and why do people start to see something as”broken”? Do objects around the home just have two states, broken and working, or are there many other kinds of states they can be in? Clearly, the significance of many domestic objects is in relation to the projects of home which surround them and preoccupy the groups of people living together in a household. In some ways, household things are materialisations of projects, and ideas of being broken and fixed express this.
The Broken Stories project involved a group of Masters students on the UCL course Materials/Anthropology/Design at UCL working with Fixperts on issues of what kinds of fixing happen in the home, and what kinds of situations the Fixperts might get involved in.…
Call for Papers: Foolish things, clever stuff? The material side of nursing and care.
18th– 20th January 2017, Heidelberg
Nursing is more than an interpersonal rapport in which individuals are connected to one another in a special relationship. In the course of the organisation of nursing and care – whether in a nursing home, a hospital or at home – a multitude of diverse items are involved, each with their own object-logic. Exactly what these are and how they are perceived by the nursing staff or the patients varies considerably and is dependent for instance upon the setting under consideration or the temporal context. How though, when considered in combination, do things which are neither an arbitrarily applicable means to an end (foolish things) nor as sophisticated troubleshooting all-rounders (clever stuff) – contribute to the construction of nursing and care?…
An event with Professor Anthony Shelton
Thursday 21 May 2015, 6pm, Room G01, School of Arts, Birkbeck, University of London, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD
Between the 1920s-1950s, rural popular art became an important part of the government-sponsored re-creation of Portuguese national identity and history. Books and articles were written about popular art, films were produced on it and domestic and international exhibitions displayed it, creating a particularly Portuguese ‘taste’ that hid the dire conditions of poverty, suffering, and illiteracy that characterized many of its rural provinces. Sixty-five years later, UBC MOA (Museum of Anthropology) will open a major exhibition on Portuguese popular art. This talk will discuss the complex mixture of ideologies and philosophies, which underlie the representation of popular art and national identity during the dictatorship (Estado Novo), its re-accommodation after the establishment of democracy in 1974, and the challenges of curating an exhibition that deals with historical imaginations.…
A one-day workshop
Wednesday 6 May 2015 9:30 am – 4 pm
Venue: Daryll Forde Seminar Room
Department of Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton, London WC1H 0BW
Christopher Pinney (University College London)
Roger Sansi-Roca (Goldsmiths)
Elena Magdalena Craciun
The relationship between aesthetics and ethics has long been the topic of scholarly debates, from Kant’s (1928) insistence that the experience of beauty involved disinterested contemplation and, subsequently, the separation of aesthetics from ethics, or Wittgenstein’s (1961) enigmatic proposition that ‘ethics and aesthetics are one’, to the numerous enquiries into the ethical aspects of art and art criticism or the aesthetic aspects of moral life and moral evaluation (e.g. Bourdieu 1984, Foucault 1985, 1986, Eco 1986, Eagleton 1990, Guattari 1995, Korsmeyer 1998, Levinson 2001, Rancière 2006, Osborne and Tanner 2007).…
In the spirit of fun embedded in the conference theme, Debby Andrews, Sarah Anne Carter, Estella Chung, Ellen Gruber Garvey, and Catherine Whalen challenged workshop participants to play a variant of the classic game, “Twenty Questions.” Videographer Mark Escribano documented the event. To see how the workshop played out, and how such questions can inspire object-based exercises in the classroom or the museum, follow these links:
Read the Twenty Questions here
When Philae phoned home to Earth a couple of weeks ago, the world cheered. The European Space Agency (ESA) had achieved an amazing first in space exploration – landing a robotic lander on a comet! A comet! However, the cheers became somewhat subdued within hours of the landing, all because of a shirt. The print of a shirt, to be exact.
London native Dr. Matt Taylor, ESA Project Scientist, sparked a social media storm with his apparel during a media briefing on that historic 12th of November.
Women, and men, from all backgrounds and professions took to Twitter in outrage at Taylor’s shirt, citing the shirt as sexist and perpetuating the glass ceiling for women in STEM fields. …