Accepted Paper:

Excavation sites and the domination of the eye  


Simon Callery

Paper Short Abstract:

Excavation sites and the domination of the eye

Paper long abstract:

Excavation sites and the domination of the eye

Access to archaeological excavation sites has provided me with an exposure to landscapes that I perceive as emphatically material and temporal. Over a number of years these encounters have changed me as a person and have had a profound influence on my artwork.

I recognize that the experience of these landscapes has engendered a gradual re-calibration of my senses, a realigning and a balancing of the faculties. This has en-richened the way I respond to my daily environment and has stimulated an ambition to broaden the sensory range of my painting.

As a consequence, it has illuminated the extent to which the everyday media of mass communication and much popular culture implicate us in a hierarchical ordering of the senses, favouring the visual above all else. This state of affairs goes largely unchallenged within the fine arts.

I intend to outline how the experience of excavation sites, filtered through the production of paintings that seek multi-sensory qualities, has made me aware of the degree to which the current stress on image-based material in contemporary life sets a limit on what can be communicated and on what can be experienced.

Panel S38
Pluralist practices: archaeology is nothing, archaeology is everything