|28 Apr 2014||6:00pm - 8:00pm||CRASSH Seminar room SG1|
Movements between Art and Anthropology: Conceptual Art & Ethnographic Inquiry
Dr Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (Art History, Berlin/Cambridge)
Adrien Sina (Curator & Art Historian, London)
Dr Michal Murawski (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)
Chair: Dr Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov (Social Anthropology, Cambridge)
The term ‘ethnographic conceptualism’ refers to ethnography, conducted as conceptual art, and to artistic and aesthetic experimentations in ethnography. It takes its cue from conceptual art or ‘conceptualism’ that creates art objects out of concepts – and, most importantly, out of audiences and their reaction to these objects. Much of contemporary digital art, for instance, is performed by the audiences of digital art exhibitions. And while there is a recognition of the performative character of museum anthropology there has been little discussion so far of the methodological deployment of these performative acts. What happens when performances become research tools? What is seen in a society that one studies if performance of anthropological concepts is an explicit method of this study? If conceptual art is a mirror representation of the audience, what kind of informant is this audience? If ethnographic conceptualism is a form of participant observation, exactly what is ‘observation’ in this ‘participation’? And what is being ‘observed’?
Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll and Michal Murawski will present their most recent collaboration on Semi-Prison, a performance installation that investigates what happens to the relationship between you and your own home, when a judge or a policeman turns it into a prison. Semi-Prison is an ambitious large-scale installation based on a conceptual ethnography of dissidents under house arrest. It puts the visitor in the midst of what goes on inside an Embassy, when an outlaw fleeing the state moves in and turns it into a residence-cum-sanctuary (diplomatic asylum). This presentation offers a peek into what will be presented and invites the audience for feedback
Semi-Prison is structured on the same principles as Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll’s body of work in East Berlin’s former diplomatic buildings, Embassy Embassy (2010), by recreating in various media, on a scale of 1:1, five contrasting spaces of state-enforced domestic confinement within the eerily dreary rooms of a semi-detached house. In it artists explore how the twin Leviathans of state power and mass culture make their presence felt within the intimate zone of the home. The content of the recreated spaces are determined through original anthropological and archival investigations carried out by the artists involved, and build on ‘ethnographic conceptualist’ experiments carried out during 2011-2013 out by a group of artists and ethnographers including Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Carroll and Murawski at Cambridge University.
Open to all. No registration required
Adrien Sina is a curator, performance art historian and artist. He has initiated cross-disciplinary exhibitions involving architecture, performance, video and philosophy: ‘Fugitive Fluctuations’ (1995); ‘Tragédies Charnelles’ & ‘Immanences Spatiales’ (2000); ‘Feminine Futures: Performance, Dance, War, Politics and Eroticism’ (2009) for Performa Biennial, New York, (published by Les Presses du réel, in November 2011). He was ‘Thinker in residence’ at London’s Live Art Development Agency, advisor for ‘PSi #12, Performing Rights Festival’ (2006); ‘Art, Lies and Videotape: Exposing Performance’ (2003), Tate Liverpool; ‘Futurism’ (2009), Tate Modern; ‘Traces du Sacré’ (2008) and ‘Danser sa Vie’ (2011), Centre Pompidou, Paris. His solo exhibition ‘Archaeology of Desire’ at t1+2 artspace, London, 2005 was recently expanded: ‘Archaeology of Desire 2 – a history of medical gaze & flesh’ in Richard Rogers’ NEO-Bankside Pavilion in London, 2012-2013. ‘Feminine Futures’ will be shown at the Centre d'art contemporain Le Consortium, Dijon, in 2014, then at the Ludwig Museum, Budapest, in 2015. ‘Marc Allégret, ethnophotography of intimacy. Travels in the Congo with André Gide, 1926-27’ will be published by the Presses du réel in 2015.
Dr Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll (MFA, PhD) is an academic and artist, Affiliated Researcher in HPS, and currently a Humboldt Fellow in Berlin. She also runs an ongoing British Academy art-research project based in part at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University that includes performances and exhibitions such as The Lost World in 2013 and an upcoming series of performances in Kew Gardens in June 2014. She is the author of Art in the Time of Colony, which will be launched at Kings College on June 11, 2014. Khadija’s own performances, videos and installations have been shown at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Soho in Otterkring, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Ecole des beaux-arts de Cherbourg-Octeville, Skuc Llubijana, and Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Dr Michal Murawski is Affiliated Lecturer in Social Anthropology at Cambridge University. He completed his PhD in Social Anthropology, entitled “The Palace Complex: The Social Life of a Stalinist Skyscraper in Post-Socialist Warsaw” at the University of Cambridge in 2013. His research focuses on how design and aesthetics are embedded in 'micro' level social relations as well as 'macro' level political-economic contexts. He is currently working on a monograph resulting from his doctoral work and developing a new research project on the everyday aesthetics and materiality of house arrest. He has published several book chapters and articles in international refereed journals including Anthropology Today, Laboratorium: Russian Review of Social Science, Cambridge Anthropology and Informationen zur Modernen Stadtgeschichte
Dr Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov was educated at Moscow State University (undergraduate Diplom in Ethnography and History, 1987) and Stanford (MA and PhD in Anthropology, respectively in 1991 and 1998). Before moving to the Department of Social Anthropology at Cambridge, he held postdoctoral research fellowships at the University of Alberta in Canada, and Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany. His research interests were shaped by his international educational background; they bridge different anthropological traditions and different topics such as the anthropology of the state and governmentality, exchange theory, sociology of translation, aesthetics and history of anthropology. He explores these themes by looking ethnographically at socialist modernity and post-socialism, and the legacies of the Cold War. He has carried out field research in northern Siberian and other parts of Russia, in the UK and USA, and is involved in a number of exhibition projects, including curating the award-winning exhibition of gifts to Soviet leaders at the Kremlin Museum, Moscow.