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Anthropology and the Arts Network

Network rationale

The objective of the ANTART Network is to advance the scholarship, discussion, and presence of anthropological approaches to the arts. It also seeks to build on its existing network of scholars, artists, and institutions to continue its exchanges with alternative cultural production venues in future EASA locations, thus building links between the university and other public or civil society initiatives. The Anthropology and the Arts network aims to attract researchers working in the arts including but also beyond visual media, including the performative arts, music and sound, theatre, design, architecture, etc. This vast field of research is blooming, but currently underrepresented in EASA. The ANTART network does not contrast other networks, but rather complements them. We are therefore also interested in facilitating cross-over discussions and memberships with other networks in EASA.

Background

The first discussions to form this network took place at the EASA conference in Paris in 2012, but back then, after some debate, we decided to restrict the network to an interest group within VANEASA. We have had our first meeting in this last EASA conference in Tallinn, 2014. We organised this meeting as a Lab (L200 Anthropologies of Art). The rationale was to generate a group discussion on the objectives of the interest group. A central theme that emerged through our meeting was the uncertainty in the processes of collaboration between Art and Anthropology. It has been argued that there had been some misunderstandings in these exchanges between the two fields. We thought it was necessary to put together these experiences and discuss which are the reasons for these misunderstandings? Which concepts are we putting in play in these processes? Are we using the same concepts in different ways? We decided to organise a workshop where we would focus on the discussion of a number of concepts. This workshop, Encountering Concepts in Art and Anthropology, took place at the Universitat de Barcelona, Spain from 11-12 June 2015. The concepts discussed were: “method/work”, “research”, “creativity”, “participation/exclusion”, “institutions” and “archives. A full report on the workshop can be found here PDF. Following the workshop, we created an open dictionary where the discussion on these concepts will continue.

During the EASA 2016 conference in Milan, we organised an interest group meeting with about thirty participants to discuss the future of the group as a Network. An already existing list of members was augmented to create a larger mailing list and it was agreed that Roger Sansi and Jonas Tinius would apply for network status within EASA. Further to the interest group meeting, several members organised several panels explicitly in relation to the interest group, including two panels on art, anthropology and new materialisms (P044 and P147, convened by Clarke, Rubio, Higgin and Mclean, discussed by Sansi), the panel An Ethnography of Photographies (Lab03, convened by Laine and Mjaaland), and the panel The Art of Slowing Down (P086, convened by Battaglia and Kashanipour, discussed by Tinius). Additionally, Roger Sansi organised a roundtable at Hangar Biccoca art and cultural production venue entitled The Anthropologist as Curator (Film 03), which included Paolo Favero, Ivan Bargna, Sharon Macdonald, Jennifer Clarke – and followed by a guided tour through the temporary and permanent exhibition spaces. The ANTART Network plans to build on such collaborations with alternative cultural and artistic spaces of production to further and expand the visibility of anthropological collaborations with artists and exhibition spaces at future EASA conferences.