Art/archaeology: beyond an archaeology of art and interpretations of the past
9, 10 MARÇO > 18H00 I GRANDE AUDITÓRIO I ENTRADA LIVRE
Lecture and workshop by Doug Bailey
How do we move beyond practicing an archaeology of art that normally sees artefacts as art objects for us to examine and interpret? Is there any fresh territory available for us to work in beyond the well-worn paths taken either by contemporary artists (such as Mark Dion) who play with archaeological materials to make their museum and gallery installations or by archaeologists who look to modern artists (such as Anthony Gormley) for new ways to explain behavior and patterns in the past?
In this lecture Professor Bailey suggests that one way forward is to explore the potentials of an art/archaeology. The proposal is that we should move beyond traditional efforts to explain or interpret the past, and that we do this in a creative way that has impact on contemporary societies. To make such a move is to break with long-standing traditions of archaeological practice and thinking. An art/archaeology follows three steps: disarticulation (i.e., to break an object from its historical context); repurposing (i.e., to use that object as a raw material to make new creative work); and disruption (i.e., to fashion that new creative work in such a way that it has impact in contemporary social and political debate).
Bailey’s argument is not that standard ways to study the past and explain patterns and causes of human behavior are invalid or unnecessary; on the contrary, they are of tremendous value and importance to our knowing the world that we live in, where we have come from, and where we are heading. Rather, the suggestion is that there is an additional (alternative) method of treating the remains of the past, and that this alternative moves our work into other realms of activity and consequence. The result (an art/archaeology) is neither art nor archaeology, but an invitation to explore uncharted territories beyond the boundaries of both of those disciplines. Art/archaeology: infused with the past, released from the limitations of meaning and interpretation, with affect in the present.
In this workshop, Professor Bailey will lead a discussion with attendees about the aims and impact of the art/archaeology. Art/archaeology provokes new relationships between the study of the past and the creation of artistic output; it does so through three actions: disarticulation, repurposing, and disruption. Disarticulation breaks an artefact from its past and its status and context as prehistoric, ancient, or historic object. Once disarticulated, an object is repurposed as raw material; it becomes matter with which a new creator (artist, archaeologist, other) makes new work. That creative output is designed and executed to engage a social or political challenge or debate for a local contemporary community (e.g., homelessness, immigration, economic inequality). Finally, art/archaeology aims to disrupt your and my thinking in order to stimulate argument, action, and reactions to today’s significant social challenges.
In this workshop, specific attention will focus on the works that are currently on display in the Ineligible installation at the International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture in Santo Tirso. The goal of the workshop is to have an open discussion in which we will examine the limits and potential of art/archaeology and, in doing so, to look to the future of the approach in order to plan new work and new projects. Participants are invited to add their experiences and critique of the approach to the ongoing discussion. Though no preparation is required, several recent publications are listed below and will provide helpful background context.
Bailey, D.W. Bailey, D.W. 2017. Art/Archaeology: what value artistic-archaeological collaboration? Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 4(2): 246-56. [https://www.academia.edu/35970337/Art_Archaeology_what_value_artistic-archaeological_collaboration_2017_]
Bailey, D.W. 2017. Disarticulate – repurpose – disrupt: art/archaeology. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 27(4): 691-701. [https://www.academia.edu/34945345/Disarticulate_Repurpose_Disrupt_Art_Archaeology_2017_]
Doug Bailey (PhD, Cambridge, 1991) is a visual archaeologist at San Francisco State University in California. Doug’s early research and teaching focused on European prehistory and prehistoric art; he ran survey and excavation projects in Bulgaria and Romania and published widely on the Neolithic period (6500-3500 cal BC), architecture and settlement, and anthropomorphic figurines. His Balkan Prehistory: Incorporation, Exclusion and Identity (Routledge, 2000) and Prehistoric Figurines: Representation and Corporeality (Routledge, 2005) are now classic texts in their fields. His 2010 book and exhibition, Unearthed (Sainsbury Center, Norwich), radically attacked traditional approaches to the publication and museum presentation of prehistoric art.
Currently, Doug is developing the new field of art/archaeology in which archaeologists, artists, and others create work that goes far beyond traditional academic boundaries (for examples seewww.artarchaeologies.com). Doug’s art/archaeology output includes alternatives to traditional archaeological narrative (e.g., visually provocative chapter-montages) and his recent book Breaking the Surface: an Art/Archaeology of Prehistoric Architecture (Oxford, 2018). With Sara Navarro, he has co-curated the current exhibition Creative (un)makings: disruptions in art/archaeology at the International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture in Santo Tirso (runs through June 30, 2020). At San Francisco State University, Doug teaches archaeology and visual anthropology. For more information see http://anthropology.sfsu.edu/people/faculty/douglass-bailey.
Centro de Investigação e de Estudos em Belas-Artes
Creative (un)makings: disruptions in art/archaeology
Museu Internacional de Escultura Contemporânea de Santo Tirso
6th march / 14th june (opening – 7.30 pm)