The panel explores the politics of moving and (un)settling visual arts, design and literature. Reflecting encounters of conflicting authority, knowledge and aesthetics ranging from curating to publishing, it also considers impacts on methods and writing genres, market, materiality and globalization.
Anthropologists researching arts and aesthetics used to be preoccupied with "non-Western" societies, often in the form of critique of appropriation of "non-Western" objects by "the West." With increasing transnational mobility since the early 1990s, the "Western/non-Western" distinction has become less clear. The notion of art now has multiple meanings. Besides the North-South mobility axis, the South-South one requires more attention. For an understanding of the politics of art projects and literature on the move, the idea of the social life of things is useful. So is an investigation into the impact of changing aesthetic judgments and values. Yet, an awareness of a mainstream geospatial diversity is not enough. There is the claim to articulate different types of knowledge brought together by selection processes from among global flows. This calls for an expansion of the ethnographic methodology of collaboration between anthropologists and artists in order to capture the agency of curating, publishing, and writing on art. In this panel we bring together papers that discuss the politics of moving and (un)settling visual arts, design, literature etc. We are particularly interested in the following questions: How is cultural production challenged and validated in different places? Are South-South circulations of art and literature producing new global canons? What knowledge of the contemporary are expressed with what art(s)? Can research on an expanded notion of agency in the realm of art inspire new academic writing genres? What are the consequences for today's ethnographic museums?