Accepted Paper:

Remains, waste & metonymy: critical interventions into art/scholarship in Nairobi  
Joost Fontein (University of Johannesburg)Neo Musangi

Paper short abstract:

This paper works towards an exploration of the uneasy yet creative analytical space between scholarship and the arts, by discussing an emergent collaboration between artists and scholars taking place in Nairobi (Kenya), around the themes of materiality and temporality.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses an emerging project taking place in Nairobi (Kenya) which has sought to provoke new avenues of intellectual collaboration between artists and scholars around the themes of materiality, remains and metonymy. A key question is how an approach to stuff as incomplete and emergent offers critical scrutiny to the assumed finality, stability and comfort of 'objects', 'persons' and landscapes. Always 'in the making' remains, objects and materials often appear like unfinished biographies, symbols or narrations that promise but rarely deliver entirely coherent meanings, bounded entities and stable wholes. This indeterminacy can be creatively explored to reveal the excessive multiplicities of time, substance and space.

This project has involved three collaboratively-curated exhibitions under the banner of Remains, Waste and Metonymy. These have sought to explore the dependent-yet-fraught relationships pertaining to time and material substances/forms through shared relations of endurance/transformation in which people and things are immersed, from which they constantly emerge. The contention is that these questions may be best addressed through intellectual enquiry not limited to normative academic conventions, but rather through critical engagements between scholars and artists for whom performance and metonymy (as much as representation/ narrative) are the everyday tools of apprehension and sense-making. In examining this emergent collaboration this paper works towards an exploration of the uneasy yet creative analytical space between scholarship and the arts around the themes of materiality and temporality.

Panel P022
Doing, making, collaborating: art as anthropology