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Created: July 26, 2003
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Dialogues between art and anthropology

Fieldworks is a collaboration between Arnd Schneider (University of East London),
Chris Wright (Goldsmiths College) and the Education department at Tate Modern.

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http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/eventseducation/fieldworks.htm Original source URL.

Friday 26 - Sunday 28 September, 2003
Fieldworks: Dialogues between art and anthropology

An international symposium at Tate Modern, London.

Dalziel & Scullion, Still from Another Place, 2002 Dalziel & Scullion Still from Another Place 2002

Recent shifts in art and anthropology suggest an apparent overlap between the concerns and practices of those working in each field. The increasing use of ‘fieldwork’ by many artists and the ‘ethnographic turn’ described by art theorists, invite comparisons with anthropology. In anthropology, critiques of ethnography and fieldwork have raised fundamental questions about the nature of representation – questions which have implications for art. Can developments in each field illuminate the principles and practices of the other? What similarities and differences exist in how artists and anthropologists engage with and represent events, experiences, and others?

Keynote speakers

Hugh Brody is an anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, land claims researcher and policy adviser who has worked and travelled extensively among indigenous peoples and advocated the integrity of hunter-gatherer societies. He has taught philosophy at Queen’s University, Belfast, geography at McGill University, Montreal and social anthropology at Cambridge. His films include 1919, On Indian Land, Hunters and Bombers, Time Immemorial and The Washing of Tears. His fieldwork in the High Arctic in the 1970s formed the basis for a television movie and a book, The People’s Land, and several films.

Rimer Cardillo studied art at the University of Uruguay, and in Berlin and Leipzig. He is now Associate Professor at the State University of New York, New Paltz. With a very strong background in printmaking, Cardillo has developed a large and powerful body of work that includes prints, sculptures and installations. In 1998 The Bronx Museum of the Arts exhibited a ten-year survey of his work. He represented Uruguay at the 2001 Venice Biennial. His work features in many public collections around the world, among them Cabinet des Estampes, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Prints Cabinet of Berlin, Museo de Artes Visuales, Montevideo.

Antony Gormley is an internationally acclaimed British artist who has revitalised the human figure in sculpture. Often cast from his own body, his sculptures are sites for the exploration of states of being, of sensory and cognitive perception. His public sculptures raise key issues about the relations between art, society and the environment. Gormley was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge. Between 1971 and 1974 he travelled through the Middle East, studying Buddhist meditation in India and Sri Lanka. In 1974, he studied at the Central School of Art, London, going on to Goldsmith's School of Art and the Slade School. He won the Turner prize in 1994 and is the creator of the monumental landmark sculpture for the city of Gateshead, The Angel of the North.

Susan Hiller studied at Smith College, Massachusetts, and Tulane University, New Orleans. Working in a wide range of media, including painting, sculpture, installation, video and photography, Hiller's work is an investigation into the unconscious of culture. She takes a variety of cultural artefacts as starting points for her works and, through the use of processes related to the subconscious - such as dreaming, automatic writing or improvised vocalisations - Hiller reveals aspects of our shared experience. Recent exhibitions include Susan Hiller, Tate Liverpool (1996), PSI Girls, Delfina, London (1999), Wild Talents, Galeria Foksal, Warsaw (1997), and Dream Machines, National Touring Exhibitions from the Hayward Gallery, London (2000), an international group exhibition which she curated.

Lucy Lippard is a former art critic for Art in America, The Village Voice, and Z magazine, and the author of 18 books on subjects ranging from Pop art to Native American art. Her theorizing reaches into all realms of art and offers new ways to understand the social and political impulses that create art, and which art, in turn, creates. As one of the earliest feminists, she brought the aesthetic, economic, material, and practical concerns of women artists into the art-historical dialogue. A selection of Lippard’s feminist essays on art has been published as The Pink Glass Swan (1995). Overlay: Contemporary Art and The Art of Prehistory (1983) investigated the intersections of art, anthropology and archaeology. Her most recent book, On the Beaten Track: Tourism, Art, and Place (1999), unpacks the cultural voyeurism implicit in the act of ‘going sight-seeing.’

Abraham Cruzvillegas is a sculptor and installation artist working in Mexico City, whose work incorporates performance, natural and manufactured materials and surprising thematic contrasts. Artesanías Recientes (1998) involved the collaboration with indigenous artisans in rural Michoacán. Cruzvillegas often produces shocking interventions on found objects. Untitled (Opener) is an installation of a red oak log (from floor to ceiling), an attached bottle opener, and a display of bottle caps. He has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions in Mexico as well as the 2002 São Paulo Biennale.

Matthew Dalziel and Louise Scullion have been working since 1993 in video, photography, sculpture, sound and installation, and have exhibited widely in Europe and the USA. Often focussing on remote locations, one of their central themes is the relationship between human beings and the natural environment. Their film Another Place is composed of video portraits of the inhabitants of St. Combs, a small village in the north-east of Scotland where the artists have been living, as outsiders, for several years. The film was first conceived for the Lisbon Expo in 1997, and later reworked for the Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art in 2000. Dalziel and Scullion are Research Fellows at the University of Dundee, School of Fine Art. An exhibition of their work opens on 26 September 2003 at the National Museum of Photography, Film & Television.

George E Marcus is the Joseph D Jamail Professor and Chairman of the Department of Anthropology at Rice University, Houston. From the early 1970s to the early 1980s, his research focused on the Kingdom of Tonga. From the 1980s, he has been concerned with the study of upper classes and elite institutions in the United States and other Western societies. From 1986 to 1991, he was inaugural editor of the journal Cultural Anthropology. Most recently, he has been especially concerned with developing the relationship between anthropology and the emergent interdisciplinary arena of cultural studies. His major publications include The Nobility and the Chiefly Tradition in the Modern Kingdom of Tonga (1980), Elites: Ethnographic Issues (1983), (with Michael Fischer) Anthropology As Cultural Critique (1986), (with James Clifford) Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986), (with Peter Dobkin Hall) Lives in Trust: The Fortunes of Dynastic Families in Late Twentieth Century America (1992), and (with Fred Meyers) The Traffic in Culture: the Refiguration of Art and Anthropology (1995).

Michael Taussig is Professor in the Department of Anthropology, Columbia University, New York. Since he began fieldwork in 1969 in Colombia his writing has spanned a range of different things. Topics have included the history of slavery and its aftermath, commercialization of agriculture, the impact of colonialism (historical and contemporary), the relevance of modernism and post-modernist aesthetics for the understanding of ritual, and mimesis in relation to sympathetic magic, state fetishism, and secrecy. His publications have included Mimesis and Alterity: A Particular History of the Senses (1993), and Defacement (1999).

Mara Verna is a Canadian artist who works in France and South Africa. For the past two years she has been working on a project inspired by Sarah Baartman, an indigenous South African dubbed ‘The Hottentot Venus’ who was exhibited as a curiosity to European audiences in circuses, bars and universities. Because of her unusually large buttocks and genitals, she became a source of stereotypes about race and African sexuality. Mara Verna’s exhibition Rien n’a été perdu at La Centrale in Montreal (Feb-Mar 2003), incorporates video, drawings, collages, and prints, but no images of the Hottentot Venus, in order to underscore her ultimate humanity and refrain from recapitulating caricatured images of Baartman produced during her lifetime.

Fieldworks is a collaboration between Arnd Schneider (University of East London), Chris Wright (Goldsmiths College) and the Education department at Tate Modern.

Tate Modern Starr Auditorium



Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, July 2003.
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