Material Anthropology of the Work - Anthropologie Matérielle du Travail
Vesna Scepanovic 1, Sofia Zoitou 2, Ivan Foletti 3
1/2Univeristy Of Fribourg - Fribourg (Switzerland), 3Masaryk University - Brno (Czech Republic)
Sujet en anglais / Topic in english
This session aims to explore the materiality of objects and places in pilgrimage sites from various cultures and religions during pre-modern times. The aim is to evaluate the converging and diverging features of materials such as gold, silver, bronze, glass, wood, bone, skin, hair, nails, precious stones, pigments, stone, soil, wax, printed matter, water and other liquids, plants, leather, fabric that were used, formed, experienced, perceived and variously appropriated by pilgrims as well as by the local actors and devotees. Pilgrims habitually travelled in well-established routes dotted with sacred sites and shrines, occasionally with overlapping stops, allowing for comparative perceptions of material properties. Their movement adopted ritual attributes that extended to the symbolization of natural and artificial objects, whose materials became incorporated in a symbolic perception of space. Organic and inorganic relics and their containers, painted panels, frescoes, liquids, tombs, buildings, natural elements were encountered by the pilgrims, and their attributes, whether material or immaterial, animated their experience. The staging strategies employed in specific visual and spatial sceneries to ensure the objects’ cultic success, prompted further interactions among pilgrims, objects, and places. At the same time, the afterlives of pilgrimage objects and sites raise questions about their staging and reception in the present day.
Sofia Vindas Solano 1, Claudia Cendales Paredes 2, Laura Karp Lugo 3
1Universidad De Costa Rica - San Jose (Costa Rica), 2Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano - Bogotá (Colombia), 3University Of Lorraine - Nancy (France)
Sujet en anglais / Topic in english
The transformation of matter by humans is at the forefront of the aesthetic considerations of human productions. How the material is deemed and accepted as familiar, dignified or not, determines the place given to the object in a history of "noble" (canvas, marble, plaster) or "unoble" (earth, vegetable fibers, bark, fabrics) materials. Likewise, the processes by which materials are handled and transformed by the artists' techniques may lead to the exclusion of matter from canonical narratives.
How do these dynamics manifest themselves from places –not necessarily geographical– that are considered outside the hegemonic discourses and narratives in art and outside the conventional discourses covering different perspectives and temporalities in art? As in other regions, in Latin America, the choice of materials, production strategies, and circulation is, in most instances, determined by their accessibility in local environments, not present or disregarded in other parts of the world, such as barniz de Pasto or mopa-mopa in Colombia, grana cochinilla (Dactylopius coccus) pigment and featherworks in Mexico. Simulation of noble materials in colonial sculpture in Nuevo Reino de Granada or murals that imitate marble such as the National Theatre in Costa Rica. The material's election can also account for the syncretism of traditions, techniques, and materials.
This panel deals with the extent to which the choice of material actively influences what the historiography of the art history of the Western North Atlantic region has disregarded or considered as an art. Although this panel was established to discuss the place of Latin America in the global context and the use of diverse local materials in artistic practices, we open the dialogue to investigations from other latitudes outside the prevailing narratives that address these issues.
From the perspective of material cultural studies, we expect contributions in the methodological-historiographical debate and in the discourses and processes that concern materials regarding their physical properties/qualities, their corporeality, transformation, artists' preferences that should remain central in the debates concerning materials used in artworks. Although from a theoretical perspective, human actors encode matter with meaning, from a methodological standpoint, things in motion illuminate their social and human context, as this panel focuses on trajectories and the circulation of materials in space and time from a transregional perspective.
Vanina Scocchera 1, Josefina Schenke 2
1Universidad Tres De Febrero - Buenos Aires (Argentina), 2 Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez - Santiago (Chile)
Sujet en anglais / Topic in english
The Latin American conquest has set ideas, news, knowledges, people and objects into circulation in an unprecedented way in terms of its means, ambitions and scope. While expressing the phenomenon of “globalization” (Gruzinski, 2006), this process relied on numerous strategies to establish in America a new system of material life. A set of heterogeneous objects were brought into circulation: altarpieces and portable altars, engravings, paintings on canvas, metal and glass, sculptures, relics and reliquaries, fabrics, jewelry, books, luxury goods, liturgical, musical and scientific instruments and tools for different trades - for engravers, watchmakers, cabinetmakers and builders. Members of the secular and regular clergy, and of the Spanish administration staff, bought these artifacts at commercial cities and regions such as Madrid, Rouen, Britanny, London, Flanders, Bavaria, Bohemia, Genoa, Naples, Venice and Rome. These objects were rendered invisible in the luggage of these “passeurs culturels” (bishops, viceroys, governors and provincial “procuradores” of the various regular orders) and, after their arrival on the American coasts, they undertook unusual biographical trajectories due to their multiple uses in the New World (Alcalá 2007; Gramatke 2019; Scocchera 2022). The course of all these objects can be identified in the missions territories, the border places, the cities, the ports and the mining sites.
On this subject, it is important to discover and decipher the nature and extent of this traffic, both on the European network and within the American space. Given that research on the American viceroyalties has not focused on the material and symbolic dimensions of this material culture and that the history of art has so far privileged the visual and iconographic aspects of the colonial American artistic objects, the aim of this session is to contribute to dialogues with history, literature, conservation and restoration, history of science and technology, among others, in an interdisciplinary approach.
Sujet de la session en français / Topic in french
Culture spirituelle et matérielle tridentine : Images et objets en circulation pour la conquête américaine
La conquête de l’Amérique latine a répandu, diffusé et redistribué des idées, des nouvelles, des connaissances, des personnes et des objets d'une manière innovante du point de vue de ses moyens, de ses ambitions et de son ampleur. Tout en exprimant le phénomène de la « mondialisation » (Gruzinski, 2006), ce processus s'appuyait sur de nombreuses stratégies pour établir au Nouveau Monde un système inédit de vie matérielle. Un ensemble d’objets hétérogènes ont été mis en circulation : des retables et des autels portatifs, des gravures, des peintures sur toile, métal et verre, des sculptures, des reliques et des reliquaires, des toiles, des bijoux, des livres, des biens de luxe, des instruments liturgiques, musicaux et scientifiques, et des outils pour le développement des métiers (pour les graveurs, les horlogers, les ébénistes et les constructeurs).
Membres du clergé séculier et régulier, ainsi que fonctionnaires de la couronne espagnole, achetaient régulièrement des artefacts dans des villes et régions commerciales telles que Madrid, Rouen, Londres, Gênes, Naples, Venise, Rome, la Bretagne, les Flandres, la Bavière, la Bohème. Rendus invisibles dans les bagages de ces “passeurs culturels” (évêques, vice-rois, gouverneurs et procureurs provinciaux des divers ordres réguliers), ces objets étaient revalorisés à leur arrivée sur les côtes américaines et entreprenaient des trajectoires biographiques insolites par leurs multiples usages dans le Nouveau Monde (Alcalá 2007 ; Gramatke 2019 ; Scocchera 2022). Les parcours de tous ces objets peuvent être identifiés dans les lieux de missions, les places frontalières, les villes, les ports et les sites miniers.
À ce sujet, il est important de découvrir et déchiffrer la nature et l'ampleur de ce trafic, tant sur le réseau européen qu'au sein de l'espace américain. Étant donné que la recherche autour des vice-royautés américaines n’a pas porté sur les dimensions matérielles et symboliques de cette culture matérielle, et que l'histoire de l'art a privilégié jusqu’ici les aspects visuels et iconographiques des objets artistiques de l'Amérique coloniale, le but de cette session est de contribuer aux dialogues avec l’histoire, la littérature, la conservation et la restauration, l’histoire des sciences et des technologies, entre autres, tout en accueillant les approches interdisciplinaires.
Gabriela Siracusano 1, Marta Maier 2, Noémie Étienne 3
1Universidad Nacional De Tres De Febrero - Buenos Aires (Argentina), 2Universidad De Buenos Aires - Buenos Aires (Argentina), 3University Of Vienna - Vienna (Austria)
Sujet en anglais / Topic in english
Organic and inorganic. Synthetic and natural. Pigments, dyes and binders. Traditional and extra-artistic. Raw or ultra processed. Precious and coarse. The taxonomies that order the materiality of art according to its physical condition or its most common uses help us understand the scope and significance that these materials have had for the men and women who manipulated them in different times and geographical horizons. However, those same classifications can produce semantic walls that bend and intersect and lead us along paths whose beginning and end seem confusing. In an attempt to expand these material universes, this session proposes to discuss the existence of another set defined by that particular quality that many materials used by artists have to empathize sensibly with the affections and beliefs of those who apply or consume them and, therefore, to transcend the mere dimension of matter to charge themselves with power and agency. The socio-economic hierarchy that materials such as lapis lazuli or kermes granted to their consumers, the participation of fluids and body parts such as blood, gall, hair and teeth, or urine both for the promotion of faith and for social denunciation, the selection of metals such as gold and silver and precious stones as materials imbued with sacred and political power, or the materials that embody devotional and miraculous images actively contributing to their sacredness, exemplify these arguments. Their differences and dissimilarities – which could place them in opposite sets such as those mentioned above – are diluted and disappear in the face of that other quality: that of transforming itself into a material presence that exceeds its own aesthetic capacities to take the place of symbols and charge with an energy capable of provoking actions and reactions in the public. This homologation not because of its magnitude or its physical dimension but because of its relative position with respect to the hieratic, invites us to think of them under the idea of material topologies, inspired by the concept coined by Henri Poincaré in the late nineteenth century in his Analysis Situs, when offering the possibility of thinking about new aspects of geometry. In times when the Material Turn has favored the introduction of the language of the chemical, physical, biological and conservation sciences, in the discourses of art history (and vice versa), this session proposes to reflect on the results of these interdisciplinary investigations through an anthropological and cultural key, as it has been shown in recent publications. A deep debate on this topic is relevant and necessary not only for historical considerations but also for conservation decisions.