Paper short abstract:
In this conversation anthropologist Cathrine Bublatzky and artist Baptist Coelho address the artist's work. They will deal with the artistic practice of deconstructing (Derrida 1976) inexpressible traces of war and conflict like the Siachen Glacier, a conflict zone between India and Pakistan.
Paper long abstract:
What can be the role of artists and art to reveal, recalibrate, trace, and give a voice to the everyday of war which is otherwise unspoken? How do artists position and strategize their research and practice to critique in context and in contrast to public visions of histories and sites of conflict, of cruelty, of the inexpressible? In which sense does art provide anthropologists crucial insights and access to a silenced everyday of violence and atrocity? In this conversation-based presentation, artist Baptist Coelho (Mumbai) and anthropologist Cathrine Bublatzky (Heidelberg) will talk about artistic engagement with the material culture of precarious lifeworlds (Butler 2004). The conversation addresses the artist's projects on the Siachen Glacier Conflict (India, 2006-2018) as well as Traces of War (London, 2016) in order to discuss Coelho's artistic practice that enables him to excavate and capture with found objects the material traces and 'accessories' that permeates and somehow transforms the temporality of war and conflict (Bourne-Farrell/Jabri 2016, 10). The overall aim is to engage with the deconstruction (Derrida 1976) of often invisible and untouchable traces of war as conceptualized in art, and its significance for anthropologists who study art in its political, interventional, and mediating social role in times of crisis. Thinking of parallels between artistic and ethnographic research practices, this conversation about traces of conflicts and war wishes to initiate a productive interaction where we not only ask how can the inexpressible be represented, but also what can such artistic initiatives do to the people?
Revealing Histories of Violence: The Representational Politics of Trace