P052
Artefacts and visual systems in Oceania and America
Convenors:
Paolo Fortis (Durham University)
Susanne Kuechler (University College London)
Discussant:
Ludovic Coupaye (University College London)
Format:
Panels
Location:
SOAS Senate House - S108
Start time:
3 June, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

This panel explores the temporal dimension of artefact and visual systems in Oceania and the Americas. Focusing on notions of temporality and historicity embedded in the making, use and perception of images and artefacts it aims to unpack social transformations in indigenous lived worlds.

Long abstract:

This panel seeks to explore artefact and visual systems and their temporal dimension in Oceania and the Americas. By considering the material and the visual as integral to lived experience we aim to focus on how specific practices and notions of temporality and historicity are embedded in the making, use and perception of images and artefacts. A number of recent ethnographic studies have shown that artefacts and images are indexes of social memory and tools for the transmissions of cultural and genealogical knowledge. Such knowledge and memory often refer to historical occurrences and periods of intense social change. We propose that studying artefact and visual systems in indigenous lived worlds is key to unpack the complex transformations that they have undergone in their past. Building on pioneering theoretical elaborations on the anthropological study of art (e.g. Munn, Strathern and Gell) the panel seeks contributions from scholars working in Oceania and the Americas. In doing so, we wish to foster and renew a dialogue between ethnographic areas that have seen a sustained anthropological interest in indigenous arts. The aim is to highlight the importance of artefact and visual systems in studying issues such as, but not limited to, social change, cultural contact, creativity, style, historicity, temporality, Christianization and memory.