To Search / Investigations of the Virtual and Material Lives of Objects
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DESCRIPTIONSymposium program This two-day conversation highlights the double lives of objectstheir local, intimate, and concrete quality as they reside in museums and their global, ubiquitous, and permeable virtual representations in digital media. It investigates the structures of knowledge and emergent network systems whose architectures and formal characteristics facilitate our encounters with objects. Despite the growing interest in object-based ontology and the material turn in fields like art history, anthropology, and political science, objects continue to challengeand even defyour desire to tag, interpret, and systematize their form and content.
NotesTO SEARCH Investigations of the Virtual and Material Lives of Objects[cover] Cornelis Cort The Practice of the Visual Arts (detail), 1578 (engraved 1573) Georgianna Sayles Aldrich Fund.InroductionTo Search: Investigations of the Virtual and Material Lives of ObjectsRISD MuseumHaffenreffer Museum of AnthropologyFriday, September 25 and Saturday, September 26, 2015How do objects circulate across physical and digital landscapes and how does this movement affect their status? Do we search differently with objects in the humanities and social sciences? How do we discover, attend to, and channel the network of ideas they help generate?This two-day conversation highlights the double lives of objectstheir local, intimate, and concrete quality as they reside in museums and their global, ubiquitous, and permeable virtual representations in digital media. It investigates the structures of knowledge and emergent network systems whose architectures and formal charac-teristics facilitate our encounters with objects. Despite the growing interest in object-based ontology and the material turn in fields like art history, anthropology, and political science, objects continue to challengeand even defyour desire to tag, interpret, and system-atize their form and content.We will investigate these issues through facilitated conversations, creative examinations, and other exploratory engagements. This program is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and is part of a collaboration between the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University and the RISD Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design focusing on the new and evolving field of object-based teaching and research.FRIDAY12:30 pm: Session 1Double Takewith Holly Hughes and Marc Redfield / Lower Farago Gallery Explore a single object from two disciplinary perspectives.Object Lessonwith Kate Irvin and Kevin Smith, moderated by Ijlal Muzaffar / Danforth Hall Examine the disciplinary treatment of objects.Drawing Perspectives with Nicholas Carter and Amy Leidtke / Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University* Practice observational and mark-making skills as used in the studio and the field.3-4:30 pm: Session 2Double Takewith Bethany Johns and Graham Oliver / Ancient Greek & Roman Galleries Explore a single object from two disciplinary perspectives.Object Lessonwith Kate Irvin and Thierry Gentis, moderated by Steve Lubar / Danforth Hall Examine the disciplinary treatment of objects.Drawing Perspectiveswith Leslie Hirst / Medieval Galleries Practice observational and mark-making skills as used in the studio and the field.5-6:45 pmCritical Encounterswith David Joselit and Rosemary Joyce, moderated by Jane South / Metcalf Auditorium6:45-8 pmCocktail reception / Grand Gallery withWorks in Processby Clement Valla, David Kim, Mikhail Mansion, and Maralie Armstrong Artists and designers share the object-based roots of their work from performance to experience design. ScheduleSATURDAY10 am: Coffee / Chace Lobby10:30 am12 pm: Session 3Teachers Lounge with Julie Golia / Siskind Center A forum to explore the pedagogy of primary sources.The Work of Art in the Age of Codewith Clement Valla, David Kim, Mikhael Mansion, and Maralie Armstrong / Grand Gallery Examine how technology materializes and dematerializes the object.Sleuths and Fiction: How to Bring Museum Objects Back to Lifewith Brian Markovitz and Emily Avera / Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, Brown University* Emily and Bryan talk about their efforts to reanimate obscure objects by replicating them across a historicized spectrum of truth and fiction.121 pmLunch break13 pmCritical Encounterswith Ivan Gaskell and R. H. Quaytman, moderated by Vazira Zamindar / Metcalf Auditorium*Visit risdmuseum.org/tosearch to follow the conversation, find nearby lunch spots, access materials written by contributors, and explore documentation after the symposium concludes.Waterman St.Brown UniversityHaffenreffer Museum of AnthropologyRISD Museum Prospect St.N. Main St.Benefit St.College St.Contributors:Maralie Armstrongs multi-mediated works emphasize the evolution of spiritual and emotional expression via technology and seduces poetics from human-machine interaction. Her research probes the multifaceted interrelationships of gender and spirituality as well as appropriate and appropriated use of technologies throughout time. Seer sees the unseen and sings Hosanna! Her work includes performance, sculpture, photography, video, and sound. As a performer/vocalist/dancer, Maralie has toured more than a dozen countries with the projects Valise (solo), Humanbeast, Assembly of Light, Tem Eyos Ki, Bloodhuff, and Soophie Nun Squad. Her collaborations in choreography and dance have been seen in a Nick Cave Soundsuit performance, Bonedusts Fruit of the Ash, and in Hana van der Kolks The Third Thing. Maralies work has also been featured in Vice Magazine, The Fader, and RISD Museums Manual online, among other publications. She is currently teaching in RISDs Experimental and Foundation Studies program.Emily Avera has a longstanding research interest in the social aspects of transfusion and transplant medicine, with particular attention to inequality and race, and a regional focus on South Africa. Emily is currently a third-year PhD student at Brown University, in the Department of Anthropology. She is also affiliated with Browns Program in Science and Technology Studies and is a fellow in the Graduate Program in Development at the Watson Institute for International Studies. She holds an AM in Anthropology from Brown University, a MA in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from Leiden University, a MPhil in Diversity Studies from the University of Cape Town, and a BA in Politics from Pomona College.Gina Borromeo is the curator of ancient art at the RISD Museum, where she oversees the collection of Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art. Trained as an art historian, she has also participated in several archaeological excavations in Greece, Israel, Italy, and Turkey. Her research interests include ancient sculpture, the processes of making objects in antiquity, and cultural property.Nicholas Carter is an anthropological archaeologist specializing in the complex societies of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, with particular interests in ancient geopolitical dynamics and the writing systems of the Maya lowlands and Oaxaca. He completed his masters degree in Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. at Brown University in 2014, where his dissertation explored trends in Maya elite self-representation amid the demographic collapse at the end of the Classic period. As a Fellow with the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University, he is working with an archival collection of photographs belonging to the Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions in the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology. He is also a Research Affiliate at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology.ContributorsSarah Ganz Blythe is deputy director for exhibitions, education, and programs at the RISD Museum. She collaborates with scholars, artists, and designers to realize exhibitions, programs, and publications. Her current work focuses on exhibition culture, landscape and exploration, pedagogy, and interpretation practices. She was previously Director of Interpretation and Research at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She teaches in the graduate programs of RISD and Brown University. Her PhD in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University focused on painting and utopianism at the close of the nineteenth century.Ivan Gaskell is professor of cultural history and museum studies at the Bard Graduate Center. Working on the philosophical plane of second order questioning, he mobilizes material culture to address intersections among history, art history, anthropology, and philosophy. His case studies range from seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, to Roman baroque sculpture, Native American baskets, and Congo textiles. Gaskell is responsible for twelve books, and has contributed to numerous journals and edited volumes in history, art history, and philosophy. His most recent book, with Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Sara Schechner, and Sarah Anne Carter, is Tangible Things: Making History through Objects (2015). Julia Golia, director of public history at Brooklyn Historical Society, received her Ph.D. from Columbia University. Currently Golia leads the curatorial team for Waterfront, a long-term exhibition to be housed in BHSs new satellite museum opening in 2016. She has also led BHSs digital projects including An American Family Grows in Brooklyn: The Lefferts Family Papers, and Brooklyn Waterfront History. From 2011 to 2014, she co-directed Students and Faculty in the Archives (SAFA), which introduced document analysis to over 1,100 college students. She is the co-creator and editor of TeachArchives.org, a robust educational website that brings innovative teaching exercises and articles on pedagogy to a national audience.Thierry Gentis is the curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and an assistant in the museum studies courses at Brown University. He works with Brown University students in museum exhibit development. He also provides faculty with the opportunity to work with museum objects in their courses by leading classes at Manning Hall or at the museums research center in Bristol and creating course-related object displays. He has a BA in Philosophy with associate degrees in Anthropology and Art from Roger Williams University. He has written several articles on the arts of Africa and has curated exhibitions and given lectures on the subject.Leslie Hirst is an associate professor of experimental and foundation studies at RISD. She works across disciplines through processes grounded in drawing. Her compositions and installations are informed by historical and cultural exchanges between objects, language, and meaning. Hirsts solo exhibitions include Museo del Merletto (Burano, Italy) in conjunction with the 56th Venice Art Biennale, Kunstverein Baden (Austria), and Pavel Zoubok Gallery (NYC). Her work has been shown in numerous group museum exhibitions. Her grants include the prestigious MacColl Johnson Fellowship, and she is a two-time nominee for the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. Hirst is the recipient of many US and international artists residencies, and has been a visiting artist and lecturer in Istanbul, Seoul, and Venice (upcoming).Holly Hughes, professor of painting at RISD for over twenty years, is a Texan. She lives and works in both NYC and upstate near Hudson. Frequently using worldwide museum collectionsparticularly of the decorative artsas sources for her work, she steadily includes RISD Museum projects in her teaching. Picking up dropped threads of visual language from different times and diverse cultureswith which she feels deep kinshipshe creates new fictions with shared code for the natural world and our complex relationship with it. Her multifaceted practice includes painting in oil and acrylic, works on paper in gouache and ink, prints made at Oehme Graphics in Colorado as well as her own Handshake Press, and Maiolica works often done in Deruta, Italy. (The RISD Museum recently added such a piece to their collection.)Kate Irvin is curator and head of the Department of Costume and Textiles at the RISD Museum. Her recent exhibitions and projects at the Museum include: Designing Traditions Biennial: Student Explorations in the Asian Textile Collection (2008, 2010, 2012, 2015); the inaugural displays in the museums Donghia Costume and Textiles Gallery and Study Center (June 2014); and Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion (2013). In addition to her curatorial functions, she spends much of the semester teaching object-based classes for RISD and Brown University that vary in subject matter from the history of western dress to the history of Chinese art, from textile surface design to Native American literature.Bethany Sage Johns received a BA in Fine Arts and English from the University of Iowa and an MFA in graphic design from RISD. She has returned to RISD as the graduate program director in graphic design, and continues the design practice she began in New York City. With a focus on publication design, her clients include a number of major museums as well as various publishers, foundations, galleries and individual artists. Her work has been included in exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum; Exit Art, New York; Massachusetts College of Art; and in I.D., Eye, and U&LC magazines. Before returning to RISD, she taught at SUNY Purchase, The Hartford Art School, and in Yales graduate graphic design program.David Joselit is a distinguished professor in the art history PhD program at the CUNY Graduate Center. He has taught at the University of California, Irvine, and Yale University where he was department chair from 200609. ContributorsJoselit is the author of Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910-1941 (MIT, 1998), American Art Since 1945 (Thames and Hudson, 2003), Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT, 2007), and After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012). He is an editor of the journal OCTOBER and writes regularly on contemporary art and culture.Rosemary Joyce, the Alice S. Davis Endowed Chair in Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, received her PhD from the University of Illinois-Urbana in 1985 and taught at Harvard from 1985 to 1994. Her field practice as an archaeologist in Central America complements museum research to understand histories of collection and how objects are and are not taken up in historical and explanatory narratives. She has curated exhibits and developed exhibition publications for Harvards Peabody Museum, Wellesleys Davis Museum and Cultural Center, the Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, the National Museum of the American Indian, and the Museo de San Pedro Sula, Honduras.David Kim is an interdisciplinary artist/educator who works with living and digital media. With backgrounds in biochemistry, new media, and fine art, he is invested in interspecies collaboration and technologically mediated installation work. Kim is informed by a broad range of professional experience: research scientist, high school teacher, educational director for an NGO, and adjunct faculty at RISD and Brown University. A graduate of the RISD Digital + Media MFA program, Kim continues to evolve his creative practice while working as the technology & programming manager of Co-Works Studio, a cross-departmental fabrication lab at RISD.Amy Leidtke is a Mellon Teaching Fellow and principal of Leidtke Design. She has worked with clients such as the Childrens Museum of Indianapolis, Boston Childrens Museum, Henry Ford Museum/Spirit of Ford, Lincoln Childrens Museum, The Building for Kids, RISD, Rotobin, Simplicity, and Zoom (educational public television). Leidtke has served as a designer-in-residence with public and private schools and is a faculty member of SmART Schools, which provides K-12 educators with professional development opportunities. Leidtke is author of RISD Design Connections: Curriculum Tools for Design Education and is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Industrial Design and the Department of Continuing Education at RISD.Steven Lubar is a professor in the departments of American studies, history, and the history of art and architecture at Brown University. Before coming to Brown he worked for twenty years as a curator at the Smithsonians National Museum of American History. At Brown he has been director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and the John Nicholas Brown Center for the Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage. Hes interested in the public humanities, museum curatorship, and the history of museums. He recently won a Guggenheim Fellowship to write a book on museum work, past and present.Mikhail Mansion pushes the boundaries of technology and design through the exploration and application of cutting-edge software, hardware, and fabrication methods. Mikhail has experience developing solutions in the fields of engineering, science, art, and design for numerous clients including HBO, Vogue Magazine, Porsche, Samsung, NASA, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, McDonnell Douglas, Boeing, and the U.S. National Science Foundation. He also spent several years working for the U.S. Department of Defense on prototype weapons systems for aircraft and drones. Aside from industry work, Mikhail is a critic in the Digital + Media and Industrial Design Departments at RISD. He is currently the technical lead at Tellart and also maintains his own fine arts practice.Bryan Markovitz is interested in the experimental practices of performance, material culture, and the sciences. He is also an avid fan of reenactments, replicas, doubles, and phenomenal theatres of all kinds that cross disciplinary divides. Bryan is currently a third-year PhD student at Brown University, where he is affiliated with the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, the Department of Anthropology, and Browns Program in Science and Technology Studies. Bryan is trained in theatre and the fine arts, with a background in directing, performance, and experience design for museums. He holds an MA in performance studies from Brown University, an MFA in studio art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a BA in theatre from Trinity University.Ijlal Muzaffar is an assistant professor of modern architectural history at RISD. Before RISD, he taught at Indiana University, Bloomington, and the Program in History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture and Art at MIT, from where he also received his PhD in 2007. He also holds a MArch from Princeton, and a BA in mathematics and physics from the University of Punjab in Lahore, Pakistan. He is working on a book based on his dissertation that looks at how modern architects and planners played a critical role in shaping the discourse on Third World development and its associated structures of power and intervention in the postwar era.Graham Oliveris a Mellon Teaching Fellow and professor of classics and history at Brown University. He specializes in the specializes in the study of ancient Greek inscriptions. Oliver has been a professor of classics at Brown University since September 2013. He has directed summer schools on epigraphy, the study of inscriptions, for international postgraduate students in both Oxford and Athens. In his research Oliver uses inscriptions alongside other evidence to explore political and socio-economic history. He is currently working on a corpus of inscribed Athenian state decrees of the late fourth-century BCE and a book titled The Cambridge Manual of Greek Epigraphy (Cambridge University Press).Robert W. Preucel is director of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology and professor of anthropology at Brown University. A Southwestern archaeologist, he is particularly interested the semiotic nature of Contributorsarchaeological interpretation and the varied ways in which material culture mediates social relations. His publications include Contemporary Archaeology in Theory: The New Pragmatism (Wiley-Blackwell 2010), Archaeological Semiotics (Blackwell 2006), Companion to Social Archaeology (Blackwell 2004), Contemporary Archaeology in Theory (Blackwell 1996), and Processual and Postprocessual Archaeologies (Southern Illinois University 1991). He is also the editor of Archaeologies of the Pueblo Revolt (University of New Mexico 2002) and a coeditor of Native American Voices on Art, Identity and Culture (Penn Museum 2005).R. H. Quaytmans paintings draw on the abstract, the photographic, and the site-specific to evoke a new grammar for painting. Quaytman studied at Bard College and at the Institut des Hautes tudes en Arts Plastiques in Paris and received the Rome Prize Fellowship from the American Academy in in 2001. Quaytman has taught at Bard College since 2006 in addition to lecturing at other prominent universities. Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among other major museums, and has been featured in numerous international exhibitions and solo shows.Marc Redfield studied at Yale and Cornell, and taught at the Universit de Genve and Claremont Graduate University before coming to Brown. He is the author of Phantom Formations: Aesthetic Ideology and the Bildungsroman (1996), The Politics of Aesthetics: Nationalism, Gender, Romanticism (2003), and The Rhetoric of Terror: Reflections on 9/11 and the War on Terror (2009). His book Theory at Yale: The Strange Case of Deconstruction in America is forthcoming in 2015 from Fordham University Press.Kevin P. Smith, deputy director and chief curator of the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology at Brown University is an archaeologist interested in complex societies, state formation, and the integration of domestic and political economies. For the past 30 years his research has focused on Iceland and the North Atlantic, particularly on the archaeology of Viking Age colonization and the formation of early medieval states. He has also worked on, and published about, Paleoindians, complex hunter-gatherer societies, ritual, and issues of scale and perception in the archaeological record. He is chair of the Society for American Archaeologys Committee on Museums, Collections, and Curation.Jane South is a Mellon Teaching Fellow, born in Manchester, England, worked as a set designer in experimental theater before moving to the United States in 1989. Souths work has been featured in a number of solo shows and group exhibitions at museums and galleries, including the The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, New York Public Library, the Museum of Arts & Design, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. She has lectured, taught, and served as artist in residence in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France, Australia, and India. She currently teaches in the Sculpture Department at RISD and Pratt Institute and is associate director of the Siena Art Institute, Siena, Italy.Clement Valla is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work focuses on computer-based picture-producing apparatuses, and how they transform representation and ways of seeing. This focus stems from the realization that more images are being produced and parsed by computers today than are being made and seen by humans. His work includes photography, sculpture, and software. His work has been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums and cited in a variety of publications. Valla received a BA in architecture from Columbia University and an MFA from RISD in Digital + Media. He is currently an assistant professor of graphic design at RISD.Vazira Fazila-Yacoobali Zamindar is a Mellon Teaching Fellow and associate professor of history at Brown University. She specializes in modern South Asia with an interest in twentieth century histories of decolonization, nation-state formation, displacement, war, resistance and the visual archive. She works at the intersection of anthropology and history with an interest in cross-border histories for rethinking a divided South Asia, as well as the politics of violence and its impact on history-writing itself. Her book,The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia: Refugees, Boundaries, Histories, was published by Columbia University Press in 2007, and Indian and Pakistani editions of the book came out in 2008. She is presently working on a visual archive of the northwest frontier of British India, on the borderlands with Afghanistan.NotesNotesNotesNotesNotesNotesNotesNotesThis program is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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