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Clément Baloup

In this artist's statement, originally written for a keynote lecture given at the American Bande Dessinée Society conference held at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) on 3 November 2012, Clément Baloup recounts his artistic trajectory through comics, moving from his experience as a comics reader to his art work as a professional cartoonist. He speaks about other cartoonists who influenced his work, ranging from Baru to Baudoin, Mazzuchelli to Miller, and Sacco to Spiegelman. He then describes three aspects of his comics about the Vietnamese and their history: the stories that he has created, his research and writing process, and the cartooning techniques involved in making each book.

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Zeina Abirached

Zeina Abirached, born in 1981 in Beirut, is a cartoonist who studied at the Académie libanaise des beaux-arts [Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts] (ALBA) in Beirut and the École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs [National Graduate School of Decorative Arts] in Paris, France. In this artist's statement, originally written for a keynote lecture given at the American Bande Dessinée Society conference held at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) on 3 November 2012, she presents her four comic books published to date, all of them autobiographical: [Beyrouth] Catharsis [(Beirut) Catharsis] (2006), 38, rue Youssef Semaani [38 Youssef Semaani Street] (2006), Mourir, partir, revenir: Le jeu des hirondelles (2007), published in English as A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Live, To Return (2012), and Je me souviens: Beyrouth (2008), published in English as I Remember Beirut (2014). She focuses especially here on the dimensions of time and space, history and geography, and memory and autobiography in her work. She also discusses the influence of OuLiPo, and especially the writings of Georges Perec, on her comics.

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Writing about Artists

Self-Referral in Drama and Society

Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe

Since the considerable commercial and critical success of Piaf by Pam Gems in 1978 and Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus in 1979, the British stage has been swept by a wave of plays about famous artists. That trend has not yet come to an end. Rather than offering a representative interpretation of one or more of these plays, either as text or in performance, I would like to discuss an aspect of the creative writing process: what inspires dramatists to write about fellow-artists? I will argue that the writing of plays about artists has to be located in a wider context of developments in society over the last twenty years rather than restricted to theatre in particular or even the arts in general.

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Portrait of the Artist as Colonised Subject

Fanon, Rancière and the Struggle Toward Decolonisation on the Aesthetic Front

Matthias Pauwels

This article engages with Frantz Fanon’s writings on different responses by artists among colonised peoples to the fact of their colonisation. Fanon develops a dialectical account in which an initial stage of assimilation of Western techniques and paradigms is followed by a phase of immersion in African artistic traditions. These two phases then function as prelude to a third, combative stage which is presented as the most efficacious and authentic way for artists to play their part in decolonisation. The article problematises the temporal logic and implicit hierarchies of Fanon’s account. It does so by using Jacques Rancière’s redemptive reading of early working class mobilisations in 1830s and 1840s France, prior to the advent of Marxian proletarian politics, as a counterpoint. The article here finds a different, more affirmative, nondialectical and non-historicist way of evaluating the liberatory potential of artistic practices by the colonised prior to combative decolonisation.

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The Artist in a Positivist Academy

Bridging the Artist-Scholar Divide

Ibanga B. Ikpe

One of the consequences of hyper-positivism on contemporary scholarship has been an increase in measuring academic excellence by instrumental rather than intrinsic value. Increasingly, university disciplines are required to demonstrate their relevance in the marketplace, resulting in a tendency by some arts and humanities scholars to deemphasise research and concentrate on creative practice. This paper attempts to bridge the gap between these two responses. It argues that concentrating on creative practice (techne) reduces the art academic to a tradesperson and that concentrating on rhetoric while ignoring arts practice alienates the artist from vital skills and techniques. It identifies scholarship as the defining feature of academic excellence and argues that this is better achieved when academics use critical thinking to balance creative expression and research based practice.

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Cette relation imaginaire qui fait le style

Essai sur l'art islamique et le style ethnique

Anie Montigny

The topic of this article concerns the notion of ethnic style. Several points are discussed - in particular, the concept of style itself - by referring to individual and/or collective expression as well as the status of the creators and their representation in Arab-Muslim societies. If traditional societies are heirs to Islamic art, encompassing a range of practices and cultural models, what are the terms of the local transmission of this art? Can we consider it an ethnic style, knowing that it could also be a signifier of individuality? Some examples are given, based on ethnographic collections of jewellery studied by the author in selected museums and on fieldwork in Gulf Arab countries.

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The Artist at Work

Reading Originals in the Musée Hergé

Raphaël Taylor

The opening of the Musée Hergé at Louvain-la-Neuve in 2009 promises to have a significant effect on the reception of Hergé's works. Curated by Joost Swarte, it makes available to the public a broad and regularly updated selection of original artwork. This article considers what can be learned through a close inspection of Hergé's originals for Les Aventures de Tintin. A general description of their material features is followed by close readings of two examples (a sheet of pen-and-ink drawings and a sheet of preparatory pencil drawings) from Tintin au Tibet ['Tintin in Tibet']. By adopting a suitable reading method, we can recover hidden aspects of Hergé's creative process, thereby gaining a better understanding of how ideas for his bande dessinée narratives were developed and finalised during the act of composition.

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Diplomat, Landlord, Con-artist, Thief

Housing Brokers and the Mediation of Risk in Migrant Moscow

Madeleine Reeves

This article explores the role of brokers in the market for accommodation in contemporary Moscow. Drawing on fieldwork with Kyrgyz migrant workers and the variety of intermediaries [posredniki] on whom they depend, it introduces two interventions into a growing anthropological re-engagement with brokerage. First, it highlights the importance of spatial and social proximity for understanding brokerage relations. Second, it attends ethnographically to the kinds of skills that are understood to distinguish ‘successful’ from ‘unsuccessful’ intermediaries. Drawing together recent literature on ‘everyday diplomacy’ with emic identifications of the posrednik’s work as a diplomatic craft, it examines brokerage as a skilled practice for encountering and mediating difference in contexts of political and administrative indeterminacy. The posrednik becomes an important figure in the migrant economy to the extent that economic life is suffused with uncertainty. This has implications for comparative anthropological concern with processes of social navigation in contexts of precarity.

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Douglas Farrer

This article traces the connections between death and the afterlife as configured through the Malay martial art silat in Malaysia, Singapore, and the Riau Archipelago. The practice and performance of silat are addressed here through aspects of non-material and material culture, including ritual, dance, jewelry, symbols, and art. Silat is designed to transform physically and spiritually the silat practitioner and to remove the fear of death and dying. This transformation is partly accomplished by summoning (berseru) the shadows of the 'potent dead'. However, the contemporary medicalization of death may preclude the possibility of a 'noble death'. To illustrate the disjuncture of 'deathscapes', I compare the agonizing death of a silat master to the cemetery ordeal of his son.

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The Self of the Scientist, Material for the Artist

Emergent Distinctionsin an Interdisciplinary Collaboration

James Leach

This article analyzes ethnographic material from several art and science research collaborations that were funded under a single funding scheme in the UK between 2003 and 2006. The material illustrates the way that distinctions between aesthetic value and utility value emerged during the interactions of the participants. It outlines how conceptual positions about the contrasting value of art and of science shaped their collaborative practice. I relate key distinctions that emerged in their statements to the parallel division in intellectual property law between copyright and patent. The intention is to show how seemingly natural and given differences that inform both law and disciplinary practice are generated and regenerated in a manner that divides persons, things, and disciplines in the very practices that these categories reciprocally inform and shape.