Mobility/Exchange

Creativity frequently springs from the movement of people, ideas, and objects across frontiers and boundaries and into places deemed new, foreign, strange, or remote.  These encounters produce highly charged, often violent, contact zones, stimulating the desire to collect, to map, to trade, and to possess. We investigate the things that result from such encounters and the ways in which these things affect the people who make, recreate, and use them.

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Mobility/Exchange

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    Mobilities

    This is the current theme of Wesleyan's Humanities Center.  To add to all the many "turns" we have heard about, there is now a "mobility turn":

    MOBILITIES

    Over the past decade, a new approach to the study of mobilities has emerged involving research on the combined movement of peoples, animals, objects, ideas, and information. This can be viewed through the lens of complex networks, relational dynamics, and the redistribution or reification of power generated by movement.  But despite the emphasis on movement, this “mobility turn” must be viewed in the light of the relationships between mobilities and associated immobilities:  borders as well as border crossings, isolation as well as connectivity, disability as well as ability. It thus encompasses both the embodied practice of movement and the representations, ideologies, and meanings attached to the mobile and immobile.... (click here for the full description)

    Of course we've already made the turn with our constellation mobility/exchange and Itinera in particular.  But I wanted to add a couple of notes to this topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately.  

    One is that art history overwhelmingly privileges sedentary societies and non-mobile populations.  "Art" and "architecture" do tend to serve the needs of sedentary states and institutions. The distinction between center and periphery only makes sense in a world that assumes the sedentary as the norm.  Our own Kathy Linduff, who works on exchange between mobile and sedentary societies in ancient China, is one of the very few who does not think in this "sendetarinormative" way. (I believe I have just coined a new jargon term.)  

    The other idea I have been revolving is the notion that in the sedentary world of territorial states and civilizations, art is used often to defeat mobility, or dishonor it, or deny it.  My cemetery project is making me think about how the nation-state fixes dead soldiers in place, as a response to their tragic dislocations in life.  Out of the terrible flux of their wartime experiences, the national cemetery creates a monumental arrangement of graves and names that is supposed to be static, unchanging, and hence honorific.

    Categories: 
    • Research Groups
    • Agency
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Current Projects
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    ULS now subscribes to ARTMargins journal!

    ULS has recently subscribed to the peer-reviewed journal ARTMargins, published by MIT Press. According to its website, "ARTMargins publishes scholarly articles and essays about contemporary art, politics, media, architecture, and critical theory. ARTMargins studies art practices and visual culture in the emerging global margins, from North Africa and the Middle East to the Americas, Eastern and Western Europe, Asia and Australasia. The journal seeks a forum for scholars, theoreticians, and critics from a variety of disciplines who are interested in postmodernism and post-colonialism, and their critiques; art and politics in transitional countries and regions; post-socialism and neo-liberalism; and the problem of global art and global art history and its methodologies."

    Here is the URL (log in through PittCat to access off campus): http://www.mitpressjournals.org.pitt.idm.oclc.org/loi/artm

    Thanks to Kate Joranson for making this subscription possible!

    Categories: 
    • Agency
    • Temporalities
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Graduate Work
    • Faculty Work
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    Itinera News!

    In the coming weeks, I will be producing a new set of standardized instructions for entering data into Itinera, as well as updating the older data to comply with these new insructions.  Key changes include the way we will handle agents, tours, and tour stops going forward.  Work on Itinera has discovered that the boundary of a "tour" is actually quite fluid, and the fact that a particular agent is stationary on one tour does not mean that he or she will not travel in a later tour entered by a future Itinera researcher.  Therefore each agent entered into Itinera will receive a tour and every life event a tour stop.  This opens opportunities for future development, including the development of a module in which the research is able to enter in informtation for moving objects as well as people.  As more users add their research to Itinera, new researchers can build on the research of their predecessors by expanding and developing existing agents.  

    There is also interest in using Itinera to research the broader spectrum of travel.  Presently, Itinera deals with European travelers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  My work on Alexander von Humboldt amd Aimé Bonpland extends Itiera into South America and Russia.  Drew Armmstrong is interested in extending Intinera into the 20th century with the travels of Le Corbusier.  The hope is that, with clear input standards, more and more researchers will find Itinera to be a useful tool.  As our network becomes denser and more complex, more inter-related opportunities will emerge.

    Categories: 
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Itinera
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    New forum to discuss constellations event 2016

    For those of you who weren't at the Agency meeting on Sept 28, we decided that we would take up the challenge offered by Barbara to help create a "signature" event for the Constellations to be held in Spring 2016.  The basic goal of the event is to bring national/international attention to our constellations model here and to forge possible collaborations with scholars and others outside our university.  We are clear that we don't want to do the standard keynote + conference panels, and that instead we want to put into practice what we are preaching here -- new models of collaboration and research practice, pedagogical innovation, and public engagement.  Barbara's initial idea was to build on the question posed by Gretchen, WHAAM (why history of art and architecture matters).  Some good discussion of this idea pro and con took place at the meeting.  If I can offer my takeaway from that discussion, it was this: while we do need to make our work matter to people outside our subfield, discipline, and instittution, we also need to give those external constituencies some good reason to join us.  

    I have set up a forum to brainstorm and discuss this event.  Go to forums in the navigation bar up above and you will find it listed.  Only constellations registrants can see the forum for now. 

    Categories: 
    • Research Groups
    • Agency
    • Temporalities
    • Environment
    • Identity
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Current Projects
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    Alexander von Humboldt's and Aimé Bonpland's South American Voyage

    Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé Bonpland expressed the intent of their voyage was to discover how the "forces of nature intersect upon one another and how the geographic environment influences plant and animal life."  They hoped to  "find out about the unity of nature."  The voyages and their "discoveries" did not necessarily uncover new knowledge, but rather interpreted the knowledge of the South American continent and made it legible to a European audience.  This becomes clear after closer anayslis of the networks of Humboldt's and Bonpland's South American travel companions, some named and some unnamed.  Humboldt and Bonpland, ensconced in the global legibility of nature, attempted to make the world visible and readable to an audience of both European specialists and armchair explorers.  Thus the product of the voyage was a series of presentations and 22 publications between 1805 and 1834.  Humboldt's publications can be divided into 5 subject catagories, survey measurements. botany, plant geography, zoology, and travel.  Most of the publications were published in French and some in German, and many immediately translated into English. Each topic reframed the inofmraiton for either a specific specialsit or general audience.

    The challenge of putting Humboldt and Bonpland into Itinera is limits.  The voyage proper begins and ends in Paris, but Humboldt also travels to and from Berlin before and after the voyage.  These European trips add a level of complexity to Humboldt's network.  The first stage of the project will consider the major stages of the trip between departure and arrival in Paris, but a later stage of hte project could consider the Berlin and Italian voyages of Humboldt and his companions.  Antoher roadblock is the extensive nature of Humboldt's social network, which was vast.  Selections will have to be determined on the basis of what networks are most useful to the project.

    Categories: 
    • Mobility/Exchange
    • Visual Knowledge
    • Itinera
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    Painting the Grand Tour

    This painting, attributed to William Theed, represents a Grand Tour that I would readily embark on, replete with breathtaking panoramas and adorable spaniels. Is it overly idyllic? Perhaps! However, it offers a brief snapshot of the type of exploration documented in Itinera and this makes it all the more exquisite. 

    According to the account: 

    Rome Seen on a Grand Tour, attributed to John Frearson (c. 1792-1831), who set out for Italy with the painter William Theed in 1790 but travelled from Florence to Rome alone later that year when Theed was recalled to England. Frearson stayed mostly in Rome, but also visited Naples and Venice before returning to England in 1766. This picture captures the fascination with the light of the South seen in many paintings, as well as the closeness between city and countryside.

    -Italy and the Grand Tour, Jeremy Black, Yale University Press: 2003 page 48

     

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Mobility/Exchange
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    CFP: Digital Mapping and Art History

    Cool! Middlebury made a Summer Institute for Itinera!

    Middlebury, Vermont, August 3 - 15, 2014
    Deadline: Mar 3, 2014

    Summer Institute on Digital Mapping and Art History
    Call for Applicants

    Middlebury College, Middlebury VT
    August 3-15, 2014

    Middlebury College is pleased to invite applications for Fellows to
    participate in the first Summer Institute on Digital Mapping and Art
    History (August 3-15, 2014), generously sponsored by the Samuel H.
    Kress Foundation. Co-directed by Paul B. Jaskot (DePaul University) and
    Anne Kelly Knowles (Middlebury College), the Summer Institute will
    emphasize how digital mapping of art historical evidence can open up
    new veins of research in art history as a whole. All art historians of
    any rank (including graduate students, curators, or independent
    scholars) with a scholarly problem related to spatial evidence or
    questions are encouraged to apply.

    Whether talking about the spreading influence of Rembrandt’s workshop,
    Haussmann’s Plan of Paris, the Roman Forum, the caves of Dunhuang, the
    views of Edo, the market for Impressionist painting, the looting of
    assets by Napoleon, the movement of craftsmen over the medieval
    pilgrimage road, or the current proliferation of art expos globally,
    art history is peppered with spaces, both real and imagined. As such,
    spatial questions are central to many art historical problems, and
    visualizing spatial questions of different physical and temporal scales
    is an intellectual and technical problem amenable to the digital
    environment. Building the capacity to think spatially in geographic
    terms will carry an art historian a long way towards developing
    sophisticated questions and answers by exploiting the digital
    environment.

    At the end of the two-week period, Fellows will have a grounding in the
    intellectual and historiographic issues central to digital humanities,
    basic understanding of the conceptual nature of data and the use of a
    database, an exposure to important examples of digital art history in
    the field, and a more in-depth study of one particular digital approach
    (GIS and the visualization of space). Graduating Fellows will have the
    vocabulary and intellectual foundation to participate in on-going
    digital humanities debates or other specialized digital humanities
    workshops while also gaining important practical and conceptual
    knowledge in mapping that they can begin to apply to as scholars and
    teachers.

    Given this focus, our Institute will be ideal for those art historians
    who already have identified a spatial problem in their work. Note,
    though, that no prior knowledge or experience in digital humanities
    will be necessary or assumed for the application process. Naturally,
    general  awareness of the scholarly potential of the digital
    environment or mapping will be a plus. All geographies, time periods,
    and subareas of art history will be considered.

    For questions, please contact at any time the co-directors
    Paul B. Jaskot, pjaskot@depaul.edu; Anne Kelly Knowles,
    aknowles@middlebury.edu

    Categories: 
    • Itinera
    • Mobility/Exchange

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