(P004)
Architecture and Anthropology
Location SOAS Senate House - S118
Date and Start Time 02 Jun, 2018 at 09:00
Sessions 2

Convenor

  • Alec Shepley (Glyndwr University) email

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Short abstract

None provided.

Long abstract

None provided.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Contouring with a sweeping brush: drawing as a catalyst for social engagement and urban renewal

Author: Alec Shepley (Glyndwr University) email

Short abstract

This paper considers ways in which a performed drawing practice serves as a catalyst for social engagement. The paper will contextualize iterations of a drawing practice performed by Shepley over the past three years and will focus particularly on varying aspects of a 'drawing as' a spatial practice

Long abstract

Abstract: This paper considers ways in which a performed drawing practice, in the form of architectural contouring, can serve as a catalyst for social engagement. The paper will contextualize iterations of a drawing practice performed by Shepley over the past three years and will focus particularly on varying aspects of a 'drawing as' a spatial practice. Citing projects which reimagine neglected sites in order to rediscover a city's cultural and artistic potential through imaginative transformations, the paper will discuss drawing as a means of encounter; a method of speculative enquiry relating art to everyday practices; a means to prolong the notion of artistic activity; a way of promoting a more socially engaged practice; a form of occupation within the field of distribution; activism and game playing; dispersal and provocation; ambivalence, uncertainty and delayed closure.

The paper examines ways in which drawing as a performed series of actions within a public space can help to disclose potential breaches in the cultural infrastructure. The paper will explore creative work that attempts, as Marcel Duchamp once wrote, to be not of art, and to delay closure - that closure being the co-opting of art by the institutions that define art as art and that have traditionally distributed it. The paper will establish how such projects are part of a broader tendency highlighting the potential of creative indeterminacy to, push away from 'art' and to restore an embodied relationship to the world.

LIVING MUSEUM: Intangible Heritage, Bioclimatic Architecture and Brazilian Indigenous Social Justice

Authors: Dinah Guimaraens (University Federal Fluminense) email
Marina Vasconcellos de Carvalho (University of Lisbon) email

Short abstract

The paper focuses on the development of Living Museum; a civic engagement of urban Indians of Aldeia Maracanã and members of the Upper Xingu´s. This Indigenous collective was involved around the construction of an oca (longhouse) at the Campus of Praia Vermelha, University Federal Fluminense/UFF.

Long abstract

This paper focuses on the development of Living Museum; a civic engagement of urban Indians of Aldeia Maracanã and members of the Upper Xingu´s. This Indigenous collective was involved around the construction of an oca (longhouse) at the Campus of Praia Vermelha, University Federal Fluminense/UFF.

According to the decree n. 3,551 of April 08, 2000, this project recorded practices from Brazilian cultural heritage, in accordance with the Registration Book of Knowledge of the Institute of Historical and Artistic Heritage-IPHAN, Ministry of Culture of Brazil. Oca (longhouses) of Xingu, Amazonian and other coastal communities are exemplar of Indigenous building practices and dwellings of Brazil, providing a vital expression of Indigenous cultural heritage. This paper is going to discuss the development of Living Museum Project in Brazil and the role that such a project potentially plays in both the expression of Indigenous Knowledge and in community development.

The Living Museum is based upon theoretical visual anthropology, aiming to carry out cultural evaluation through the process of digital documentation. Therefore, the project aims to identify and document those construction techniques which are in danger of extinction, as well as other cultural events to be preserved or revitalized through photographs, videos or digital DVDs. It also includes traditions or living expressions inherited from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants, such as oral traditions, performing arts, social practices, rituals, festive events, knowledge and practices concerning the nature of the universe or the knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts (Unesco).

Raffles Hotel Singapore: National identity, tourism and 'the large'

Author: Chris Hudson (RMIT University) email

Short abstract

The material elements of the Raffles Hotel Singapore represent a national identity that combines a history of colonial power with a global culture of luxury consumption. Such an aesthetically charged large space allows tourists to imagine modern Asia as an exotic and timeless East.

Long abstract

Just as it would be unthinkable for a tourist to go to Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, few people would think a trip to Singapore could be complete without a visit to the Raffles Hotel. While the cocktail known as the Singapore Sling is a drawcard, and the miniature Sikh doormen on sale in the gift shop might retain some popularity as portable souvenirs, by far the most enduring attraction is the large materiality of the hotel itself.

The Singapore Tourism Board encapsulated the spirit of Singapore as a mecca for shopping and eating with the slogan 'Eat Shop Chill'. The 101 hectares of the Gardens by the Bay, the spectacular Marina Bay Sands Hotel (complete with rooftop infinity pool), the shopping malls and food halls, amongst others places of contemporary consumer culture, dominate the tourism landscape. But it is the Raffles Hotel that captures the tourist imagination to offer a different representation of Singapore. While it is primarily a large space for eating, shopping and chilling, the colonial aesthetic recreates the nation's colonial past imagined as a time of leisured tropical luxury. This paper examines the material and aesthetic elements of the Raffles Hotel environment—the gorgeous landscaped gardens, the elegant shopping arcade, the pervasive fragrance of jasmine and frangipani, and the graceful architecture—as representations of a national identity that combines a history of colonial power with a global culture of luxury consumption that still imagines modern Asia as an exotic and timeless East.

The Architect's Drawing as an Instrument of Taste-making

Author: Yvette Putra (University of Melbourne) email

Short abstract

This paper proposes that the architect's drawing often functions as an instrument of taste-making, and uses examples by twentieth-century Australian architects. This paper concludes with the possibilities of the architect's drawing in understanding the taste-making aspects of different contexts.

Long abstract

Questions of taste, and corresponding tensions between 'good' and 'bad' taste, are old and familiar ground, particularly in Western thought. This paper proposes that the architect's drawing, as a distinct cultural product, is often more than an architect's instructions for building, or even record of historical precedent, as the architect's drawing may be, also, an instrument of taste-making. This is supported by, first, the unique relationship between architect and client, as described by Niels L Prak (1984), and, second, the characteristics of taste itself, where, as Garry Stevens argued, "[t]aste is the prime mechanism by which privileged groups can maintain their cohesion and separate themselves from outsiders" (1998). An architect may use drawing to argue for 'correct' aesthetics, as reflected in Herbert J Gans' theory of "taste cultures", as the architect's drawing may communicate "values and standards of taste and aesthetics" (1974). This paper explores the nature of the architect's drawing as an instrument of taste-making, then considers examples by twentieth-century Australian architects who used drawing to probe questions of taste in Australian architecture. These questions were underpinned by a deeper search for authenticity and identity in a relatively young nation, which has had to contend with both its colonial British heritage, as well as place in the Asian and Oceanic geographic spheres. This paper concludes with the possibilities of understanding the taste-making aspects of different places and times, through similar readings of the architects' drawings produced in those contexts.

The Anthropology of Spatial Histories: Landscape Gardens, Political Philosophy, and Spatial Meaning

Author: Pauline McKenzie Aucoin (University of Ottawa) email

Short abstract

The historical analysis of French landscape gardens reveals aesthetic, political, and historical messages conveyed through the spatial practices that these gardens encompassed. Knowledge is both terrestrial and experiential, and will be analyszed, drawing on insights from the anthropology of space.

Long abstract

The historical analysis of French landscape gardens reveals aesthetic, political, cultural and historical messages conveyed through the spatial practices that these gardens encompassed. Knowledge is both terrestrial and experiential, as these gardens constitute a realm of nature where Rousseau's ideals of liberty are expressed spatially and materially. This paper examines these gardens as they represent cultural constructs, 'nature as a spatial domain,' which represent for anthropologists a site of meaning: a site whose meaning is constructed and which may thus be "read" as a material and symbolic form. In this context, landscape provides a site to which meaning may be attached as well as a space within which meaning is contested. I comment on the insights that the work of anthropologists (such as Munn; Rotenberg) can bring to the analysis of historical art forms such as landscape art.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.