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Authorship in Art: Responsibility and Personhood 
Iza Kavedzija (University of Cambridge)
Robert Simpkins (Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures)
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Monday 29 March, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This lab will develop a comparative ethnographic approach to ideas of artistic authorship and responsibility. Participants will jointly plan and prepare questions for a collaborative podcast series of interviews with artists which explore their understandings of artistic personhood.

Long Abstract:

Who, ultimately, is responsible for making a work of art? What does it mean to be recognised as its creator? While 'agency' in the context of the art object might well be understood as distributed, 'authorship' is most often conceptualized as firmly centred on a bounded individual or group. By focusing on responsibility in the making of art, we propose to explore variation in the conceptualisation of the artistic person.

In this lab we will develop an ethnographic examination of ideas of artistic authorship and its relationship to responsibility: for the origins of one's ideas; and also for artistic outcomes. The aim is twofold. Firstly, to provide an opportunity to discuss and debate different ideas of authorship in art, in terms of agency, responsibility, and collaboration, with reference to specific contexts or geographical sites. Secondly, to collaborate in the creation of a series of interview podcasts with artists, which will focus on these ideas. Lab participants will jointly plan the structure of the podcast series, and the core questions to anchor the interviews, which will take place in the three to five months following the conference. Participants will ideally have prior experience of ethnographic research in the anthropology of art or performance, and/or have an idea of an artist or group of artists they wish to interview for the podcast (no other preparation for the lab is required). Each episode will be prepared and recorded by one of the lab participants, with editorial and technical support available.

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