Items where Subject is "Cultural History"

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Number of items at this level: 11.

E

The creative turn within geography has seen a number of returns to the artists’ studio as a site for exploring the vital, immanent, and affective relations that form these spaces of creative practice. Where interviews, observations, collaborations, with artists have directed attention to the non-representational, this paper approaches the studio as both a scene, and an atmospheric staging. Taking up broader discourses around the scenographic, it argues that scenes not only take account of the durational and compositional construction of studio spaces, but can be understood as a form of training and attunement through which participants are enrolled in the joint composition of studio atmospheres and registers. It directs attention to the agency that these compositions have in the production of the studio imaginary.

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F

In Theodor Adorno’s writing the term “natural history” has quite a different meaning to its usual scientific usage. Adorno’s idea of natural history aims at reconciling, in form and in content, the opposing forces of nature and history with the aim of overcoming the division of natural being and historical being that Adorno considered to be the central problem of critical social theory. Through sprawling installations the French contemporary artist Pierre Huyghe creates new forms of interaction between natural systems and artificial constructs. Huyghe’s body of work is submitted to interpretation through Adorno’s dialectic of nature and history to establish the relevance of both Huyghe’s practice and Adorno’s thought to the conditions of the Anthropocene.

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G

The special authority invested in the war artist and the image had become denuded by the mid-1980s. Although an independent artist working to commission, Peter Howson’s work in the Balkans was considered to have crossed the line that distinguished between impersonal witness and overzealous artist. Unlike William Orpen’s impartial rendition of gross personal violation, Howson was deemed to have become both judge and jury, an advocate not an artist, corrupted by circumstantial evidence rather than remaining vigilant as an uncorruptible viewer. For his part, Howson was clear that the terms of engagement had fundamentally changed since the Great War: it was no longer simply about what could be seen or not seen, but also what was known and could not be denied.

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"Fortunes of War evolved through an enquiry led (pre-internet) approach that focused on a Lamarkian preoccupation with the potential impact of an environment on collective and individual behaviour. The intention was to create anticipatory photographic images. A ‘retention vanish’ approach to composition placed the emphasis on framing the subject of the image from the perspective of the distraction and not the scene. Through this an attempt was made to counter pre-occupied states of mind, circumventing a censorship of expectation relating to the form of both the work itself and significantly that of its maker."

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H

In spite of the long-lived and ongoing trade in plastic flowers, they are scarcely mentioned in books on plastics and in accounts of the history and craft of artificial flowers. This chapter considers the cultural, historical and commercial value of plastic flowers. In its consideration of the presence, popularity and provocative nature of plastic flowers, notions of taste and different attitudes towards plastics and plastic flowers, it draws on the views of designers, key manufacturers, academics and professionals associated with design, horticulture and floristry. It argues that plastic flowers have and continue to make, an important contribution to design and culture, even though they can disgust as well as delight.

L

Plastics have now been our most used materials for over fifty years. This book adopts a new approach, exploring plastics’ contribution from two perspectives: as a medium for making and their value in societal use. The first approach examines the multivalent nature of plastics materiality and their impact on creativity through the work of artists, designers and manufacturers. The second perspective explores attitudes to plastics and the different value systems applied to them through current research undertaken by design, materials and socio-cultural historians. The book addresses the environmental impact of plastics and elucidates the ways in which they can and must be part of the solution. The individual viewpoints are provocative and controversial but together they present a balanced and scholarly un-picking of the debate that surrounds this ubiquitous group of materials.

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M

'Lost Islands: inventing Avalon, destroying Eden' is a monograph published by Heart of Albion Press in 2008. It asks whether narratives of place can affect not only our perception of actual locations, but also our treatment of them: whether imaginary geographies can have real world consequences.

In this interdisciplinary examination of the cultural history of islands, the author draws upon folklore, mythology, literature, popular culture, and environmental science to delve into humanity’s long fascination with islands. Drawing upon extensive field research undertaken exploring islands off the coast of Britain (Iona; Lundy; Bardsey; Isles of Scilly; Isle of Man; Holy Island; St Michael’s Mount; Isle of Wight; the Western Isles), which included a week’s solo writing retreat on the tiny Bardsey Island off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula, northwest Wales; as well as archival research pouring over early accounts of explorers; the experiential research as a professional storyteller enthralling audiences with tales of magical islands; and the latest climate science on the impact of Global Warming on sea levels and migration; Lost Islands attempts to understand our collective fascination with islands, real and imaginary. The way we have tendency to narrativize islands, projecting our desires and fears upon them (a tendency with antecedents back to the earliest of literature, such as the immramas of the Celtic saints), show that the island can be an act of the imagination as well as a geographical fact. Interweaving an erudite analysis with personal embodied anecdote, the text challenges the islandization of disciplines and traditions. A study of the littoral and the liminal, the monograph adopts a hybrid style blending the creative and critical to bring alive the ‘threshold’ quality of such places, sometimes described as ‘thin places’. The result is a kind of palimpsest of different texts and modes of thinking, and as such Lost Islands (illustrated throughout by the author’s own photographs) is research ‘for’ islands as well ‘through’ and ‘into’ them, via a creative-critical practice (Frayling, 1993).

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The Hidden Stories app delves deep into the untold history of Leicester’s Cultural Quarter, bringing the area to life through poetry, plays and narrative non-fiction.

The app operates via locative technology that triggers fragments of writing at specific locations; the texts are effectively connected with the location and history they are exploring, with content being unlocked as the user moves around the area.

Each text is displayed differently within the app, taking advantage of the framework to emphasise the ideas being presented by the writers and reflecting the concept of hidden stories.

Hidden Stories was commissioned by Phoenix and developed by Cuttlefish Multimedia as part of Affective Digital Histories, a research project investigating how communities change with urban decline and regeneration. The five pieces of creative writing used in the app were commissioned and edited by Corinne Fowler, director of the University of Leicester’s Centre for New Writing. To find out more visit affectivedigitalhistories.org.uk.

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R

Independent filmmaking is often faced with difficulties. For the team behind San Sabba, the issue resided in the invisibilities embedded in the film’s location: a concentration camp within the city of Trieste. This article will explore how and why the writer and director of San Sabba considered Trieste as an archive of multiple histories, memories, and postmemory due to the historical findings the film is based on, and how silenced history informed a phenomenological examination of what a landscape can add to the collective memory. Linking other locations in the city, which contribute to the elucidation of stories and histories deprived of public attention, this article analyses the historical data and considers the ontological qualities of the landscape as an archive where dominant narratives impact the understandings of present and past identities.

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V

Resemblance to Other Animals (16 mins, HD, 2019) is a memory work that considers locational effect and its recollection. Its key elements, images of encased taxidermy and a traveller’s voice, offer different temporal plains and positions. The images were shot in the Horniman Museum’s, London, natural history gallery and the recordings were inspired by work related travel, time away from home. These combined sensory streams, conjoined by narrative’s reason, suggest temporal and spatial complexity and the partialness of remembrance.

The Horniman Museum is a testament to the Victorian mania for collecting, which was also the time of the ‘memory crisis’ when Bergson, Freud, Proust and later Benjamin were proposing a new intuitive, individuated, understanding of memory. A museum collection creates history, a vision of the past, that is in itself a product of history. Resemblance to Other Animals juxtaposes this site with personal recollection, which relates a sense of place to identity and can challenge institutionalised positions, examining how this correlation can be conceptualised and represented.

This examination considers whether the artistic engagement with form and content can formulate a place of creative reckoning, were an imaginative exploration can occur and a different past can be discovered, and if these sensory and conceptual elements can create a memorious investigation that generates new readings.

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W

Drawing on previously unpublished company archives, this book considers Marks & Spencer's contribution to British – and, since the 1970s, international – fashion. Rachel Worth discusses how, from the 1920s, the company brought fashion to the high street, offering well-designed clothing at affordable prices. She analyses the unique ways in which the company democratised fashion, arguing that its pioneering role in the development of new fabrics, the employment of designers as consultants and its marketing and promotional strategies have changed the ways in which we understand and consume fashion.

This book received Arts and Humanities Research Council Funding (AHRC).

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