EASA2014: Collaboration, Intimacy & Revolution


Collaborative revolutions: tracing the variety of responses to current art practices, objects and images

Location M-328
Date and Start Time 02 August, 2014 at 11:00


Weronika Plinska (University of Warsaw) email
Marcel Reyes-Cortez (Goldsmiths) email
Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

This panel will look further at the appropriation of artifacts, art works, and its visual representations through images and objects plus their performative agency in times of collaboration and revolution.

Long Abstract

In this panel we would like to trace the possible range and variety of emotional responses to art works and practices: from empathy to iconoclasm, from crying to iconophilia. By doing so, we would like to discuss some of the issues related to the idea of agency of material objects. The process of making an art object has always been related to the intention of causing an effect on the viewer: from the Santa Muerte statuettes, to ready mades, from abstract paintings to holly icons. Following the decapitation of the monument of Lenin in Ukraine, we would like to ask if the nature of spectatorship itself is more collaborative or revolutionary. This panel would be to trace the possible forms of efficacy of art works and icons.

This panel wishes to explore further how and why material objects can still empower such emotions and feelings of love and hate in times of collaboration and revolution. Even, as Benjamin suggests, in the era of mass technological reproduction, it has been found that it is the multiple layers of meanings given to each body of objects and images that provide each object or image with its uniqueness and its aura. This panel wishes to explore further why in a digital era people are still emotionally motivated to revere or decapitate the icon.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Chapayeka masks: intention, agency, and power in the Yaqui Easter ritual

Author: Marianna Keisalo (University of Helsinki)  email

Short Abstract

This paper looks at how intention, agency, and power are mediated in the masked performance of the Chapayekas, ritual clowns that represent Judas and the Roman soldiers in the Yaqui Easter ritual.

Long Abstract

This paper looks at how intention, agency, and power are mediated in

Chapayeka masked performance. The Chapayekas are ritual clowns that

represent Judas and the Roman soldiers in the Yaqui Easter ritual. They

wear masks that represent various Other beings, including foreigners,

animals, mythological beings, and even figures from TV and film. The

mask is considered to be a very powerful object, with its own capacity

for agency. The mask can help the performer endure the hard work of the

ritual, and is an integral part of the blessings this brings, but can

also be very dangerous if not handled correctly. A worst case scenario

would be the mask sticking to the performer’s face permanently and

turning him into a ghost. In performance, a distinction between the

performer and mask must be maintained. The masks should not be touched

by the uninitiated, stared at, or photographed. New masks are made each

year, usually by the performers themselves, as at the end of the ritual

all but two are burned. As objects, the masks are respected, sometimes

feared, but also admired and enjoyed as skillfully made objects that

artfully depict the various figures. In this presentation I will discuss

how the power of the Chapayeka masks is created and controlled, the

efficacy this has within Yaqui ritual, and implications this has for

considering masked performance more broadly.

The design as a ideology: social network site as structure users' self and community

Author: Piotr Cichocki (University of Warsaw)  email

Short Abstract

Producers of polish network site “grono” supplied within it the set of ideological, economical and political notions, some of them on structural, invisible level, other negotiable. Everyday virtual practices of users were critical interpretation of them, however determined by the aestethics and technology.

Long Abstract

Social network sites enable their users to work on interactive visual representations (closed to the notion of “identity” understood after Taylor) and mediated relations with others. The first of those inseparable two (Strathern) is embodied by profiles of individuals, the second by many forms of virtual exchanges, dialogues, conflicts or cooperations (like commentaries, groups, “likes” and events).

All of those elements are varied between different particular network sites and are written in particular programme languages, forming its functional and aethetic architecture. Usage of hypertext in any virtual infrastructure internauts explore forms (Adoro, Benjamin) and spaces initiated by IT specialists, managers, designers, marketers and other (human) actors, by whom the structure is created, maintained and fit up with institutional, social and economical aims.

Basing on virtual/actual fieldwork conducted among users of polish internet social network site grono.net and employees (plus employers) of the small corporation maintaing the site, I analyze how the techno-economical project is “embodied” by users and their practices on identity / community. The changing policy of corporation that forms the active structure can be accepted by users, sometimes dominate over them, other times is rejected. In between the technology becomes fickle and demanding for both (human) sides of this network (Latour). Those three realms – everyday practices of users, the technology itself and its features, the practices of producers – are both contradicted and concurrent. It is also produced in wider polish and international ideological and aesthetical contexts of digitalisation, development, neoliberalism and acces to internet as economical and political project (Miller).

Discussing the efficacy of the Polish/British community artworks

Author: Weronika Plinska (University of Warsaw)  email

Short Abstract

In this paper I would like to discuss the ephemeral collection of assemblages and photographs called '4 x Pieróg', exhibited in the Regional Museum of Siedlce in Poland in 1993.

Long Abstract

In this paper I would like to discuss the 'collective portrait' made through a collaborative project between artists from the Laboratory of Creative Education, Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw together with the Jubilee Arts from Britain in collaboration and participation of the villagers of Pieróg in central Poland. The idea was to replace their 'image' created by outsiders with a 'self-portrait'. The series of images were then returned back to the local community. The exhibition was meant to change the ways in which people from rural areas of Poland were usually perceived and presented.

Alfred Gell argues that we approach art objects like people as if they had 'physiognomies'. Physiognomies trigger emotive responses and affect the recipients in various ways. However, art objects also do something else: they give access to 'another mind', which, according to Husserl, is a series of perceptual/memory images. We therefore approach art objects as if they were 'social others'. For my doctoral research I looked further at the memory of the artistic event. In this paper I explore further some of my research findings by analyzing both the memories of people and the archival reviews of the exhibition '4 x Pieróg', in order to explore its efficacy and its potential to trigger emotive responses.

Magic and material culture: the Santa Muerte

Author: Marcel Reyes-Cortez (Goldsmiths)  email

Short Abstract

This paper will look at how practitioners of magic and followers of the Santa Muerte form different types of social meanings and will explore further how objects and photographs facilitate the communion between the living, the dead and the ánima.

Long Abstract

This paper explores why the cemetery is a magnet for social, cultural and religious interaction by investigating the practices and activities of the materialisation and objectification of the dead inside and outside its boundaries. This includes the life histories of its workers, mourners and daily visitors. My assertion is that the spaces of the dead, such as the cemeteries of Mexico City, are clear examples of dynamically active memory-making sites. In these the dead are revered daily, socialised and memorialised through a combination of secular and religious contemporary funerary practices, material culture such as objects, photographs, and the daily interaction between the living and the ánima. One such example is the regular use and practice of magic in the cemetery and regular visits made by non-mourners who are perceived to be witches and followers of the Santa Muerte. It also investigates how the diverse uses of material objects have been embraced to carry out such a

ctivities in Panteón San Rafael.

Supported by the evidence presented in this paper, I suggest that the embracing of material culture in the cemeteries provides and creates a space for multiple layers of memory facilitating and bridging the communion between the living, the dead and the ánima. I will also explore further how mourners' religious and secular experiences, practices and activities, including the widespread embracing of material and visual culture, play an active and dynamic role in contemporary funerary rituals and social memory dedicated to the dead in the cemeteries of a megalopolis.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.