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P023
Anthropology and Art: on the dynamics and the polemics of situating definitions of 'art' [Anthropology and the Arts network]
Convenors:
Jennifer Clarke (Robert Gordon University)
Anna Laine
Maxime Le Calvé (HU Berlin)
Format:
Network affiliated Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Tuesday 21 July, 11:00-12:45, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

Anthropologists rarely engage in explicit definitions of art, yet those definitions are entailed in their own practices as well as those observed in fieldwork. We invite papers that address the dynamics and the polemics of situated definitions of art in specific field contexts and practices.

Long abstract:

Anthropologists' diverse and ambiguous relationships with art have long spurred debates around aesthetics, ethics, epistemologies and methodologies. While discussions about experimental methods are rich and ongoing (e.g. Scheider and Wright 2006, 2010), in the emergent field of transdisciplinary 'art-anthropology' anthropologists rarely engage in explicit definitions of 'art' - definitions that are entailed in their own practices as well as in those that they observe on fieldwork. We invite papers that address and problematise the dynamics and the polemics of situated definitions of "art", developing in particular field contexts and through specific practices, comparatively and in diverse forms. If doing anthropology 'and' art is different from anthropologies 'of' art, or anthropology 'with' art (cf. Clarke 2019), how does the question of authorship change according to those various positions? Should 'artlike' forms of anthropological work (Grimshaw and Ravetz 2015) be evaluated by the same standards as professional art? How are relationships between form and content tackled? More broadly, how do power relations within the respective fields affect art-anthropology collaborations? The panel further aims to open up discussion around how definitions of art, shaped through materials, objects, performances and social collaborations, can relate to diverse understandings of art as 'knowledge forming', one way of defining what art is and does. It is a definition we see emerging in the contemporary landscapes of our discipline, which may temporarily pacify the polemics between potential transdisciplinary practitioners while preserving the fundamental dynamics at work.