The endurance of the ephemeral
Sabine Hyland (University of St. Andrews)
Stephanie Bunn (University of St Andrews)
Hogan Lovells Lecture Theatre
Start time:
4 July, 2016 at 14:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel examines how biodegradable textiles ('the ephemeral') endure over time. How do textiles, from domestic (eg baskets) to high status (eg khipus) exist through time and memory? How does anthropological fieldwork engage the memory of the ephemeral, making a path from the past to the future?

Long abstract:

This panel will examine how biodegradable textiles ("the ephemeral") endure over time. How do textile forms, both domestic (such as baskets, felt and rope) and high status (such as tapestries, magical "love" belts and khipus) exist through time and memory? How does anthropological fieldwork engage the memories, traces and transformations of "the ephemeral", intervening to create a path from the past to the future? This panel seeks to address the multiple ways in which fibre textiles evoke memories, whilst simultaneously carrying meaning into the future. In some cases, these memories are renewed through interventions by anthropologists, archaeologists or conservationists who seek to document and/or revitalise a textile art through lines of engagement, apprenticeships, salvage ethnographies, collaborations. In other instances, local peoples seek to preserve, appropriate or reinvent older textile forms for multiple purposes, including but not limited to cultural revitalisation, tourism and symbolic political affirmation. As they endure over time, textiles make tracks and knowledge of their own, all the more remarkable because of their often ephemeral and fragile nature. Possible paper topics for this panel include a consideration of the epistemological implications of fibre based knowledge. Do societies, in which communal memory is dominated by felting, spinning and weaving create interfaces among bodies, minds and landscapes in novel and unique ways that reflect these textile arts?