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Visual + Material Culture Seminar Series – Fall 2019

This interdisciplinary seminar series is for anyone with interests in visual and material culture across different departments at UBC and beyond. The seminar provides an opportunity to share research and exchange ideas, usually followed by conversations over a drink at Koerner’s Pub.

Open to students, staff, faculty and community members in and around UBC.

Free, no registration required. No food or beverages are permitted inside as this space is a cleanroom.

If you have questions, please contact Fuyubi Nakamura at fuyubi.nakamura@ubc.ca.

Where: MOA Room 213
When: Select Thursdays, 4 – 5 pm
Conveners: Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA Curator, Asia, Dr. Nuno Porto, MOA Curator, Africa & Latin America and Dr. Anne Murphy, UBC Asian Studies.

Fall 2019 series

September 12: Camera Consciousness: Mirroring the Other” with Rajula Shah, poet, visual artist, filmmaker from India

September 26: The Visuality of Texts and Materiality of Books: Texts in Illustrated Books for Female Literacy in Edo Japan” with Saeko Suzuki, PhD Student, Asian Studies, UBC

October 10: Poetry in Ruins: Memory and History in the Work of Tony Harrison” with Hallie Marshall, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, Theatre and Film, UBC

October 24: “The Cheeky Proletariat: Free Expression for All People / AfroScience” with Anthonia Ogundele, Owner, The Cheeky Proletariat, Vancouver and Tonye Aganaba, multidisciplinary artist, musician and arts facilitator

November 7: “Displacing Hogan’s Alley: weaponizing the living dead of our memorabilia” with Adam Rudder, Adjunct faculty member, Fairleigh Dickinson University and co-chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society

November 28: Making Stuff: The Culture of Design” with Erika Balcombe, PhD student, Anthropology, UBC and design educator, Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

 


 

September 12, 2019—Camera Consciousness: Mirroring the Other

Speaker: Rajula Shah, poet, visual artist, filmmaker from India

Drawing by Rajula Shah

A reflection on the camera as a consciousness device, and the ways in which it informs a cross-platform, inter-disciplinary, expanded cinema practice. Ethnographic by nature, cinematographic in intent, the practice entails an intense engagement with the Other seeking to transform both as also the rasik/audience. In this talk, I ask if camera as a microscope can access visions and realities beyond the scope of everyday human perception; if it can serve to educate the senses via a re-orientation of desire; if it can aid in enquiring deeply into the idea-l of being human inclusive of the sea, mountain, tree, rain, sun and moon. The process, drawing upon embedded Indian/Asian contexts of belief, thought, practice and philosophy aspires to build a bridge between the ancient and the emergent. The practice seeks to find ways to re-invent itself in the ever-evolving digital interface, working through overlapping boundaries of fiction/reality, image/ text, silence/ sound and music in the realm of a forever fellowship with practitioners/sensibilities across the Metropolis and the Forest.

Presented in partnership with the UBC Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster and the Centre for India and South Asia Research.

 

 

September 26, 2019—The Visuality of Texts and Materiality of Books: Texts in Illustrated Books for Female Literacy in Edo Japan

Speaker: Saeko Suzuki, PhD Student, Asian Studies, UBC

Onna daigaku takara-bako, 1829. Courtesy of the Tōro Collection in Ueda, Japan. Photo by Saeko Suzuki.

This talk will explore the reasons why print culture and scribal culture coexisted for mass-produced commercial books used to disseminate knowledge for female readers during the Edo period (1603–1868). The talk focuses on the visuality of Japanese texts and the materiality of jokunsho, popular publications for female literacy, based on an examination of the Tōro Collection, a private library founded by an affluent family in early nineteenth-century Japan. The examination of the collection reveals that Japanese woodblock printing technology helped create a trajectory of development in cultural production; and that it differed from the European and North American model sustained by the letterpress and stereotyping (stereotype plate) printing technologies.

 

 

October 10, 2019—Poetry in Ruins: Memory and History in the Work of Tony Harrison

Speaker: Hallie Marshall, Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies, Theatre and Film, UBC

Triumphant Achilles, Achilleion in Corfu. Photo by Hallie Marshall.

Time and place and the relationship between the two have always been prominent themes in the work of British poet Tony Harrison (b. 1937). This paper will explore the shift that occurs in his work, beginning with his poem ‘v.’ which represents a transitional moment in his career when a personal space and object (his family tomb in the Leeds’ Holbeck Cemetery) comes to serve as a site of meditation for the state of the nation. In this seminar Hallie Marshall traces Harrison’s use of ruins from the 1980s onward in his creation of transhistorical narratives in which memory and history function on multiple levels, with a particular focus on the shift from the ruins of ancient Greece to those of post-industrial Europe.

Presented in partnership with the UBC Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster

 

 

October 24, 2019—The Cheeky Proletariat: Free Expression for All People / AfroScience

Speakers: Anthonia Ogundele, Owner, The Cheeky Proletariat, Vancouver and Tonye Aganaba, multidisciplinary artist, musician and arts facilitator

Photo by Nya Lewis, 2018

The Cheeky Proletariat is a space located in Gastown, Vancouver, British Columbia. The mission of the Cheeky Proletariat is to provide a space of free expression for all people. Underlying this mission are the values of inclusion, accessibility, connection and “cheekiness.” With 22 installations and over 40 individuals engaged, this small storefront space has transitioned from solely a space of exhibition to one that builds connection between geographies, amongst community and with our common humanity. Tonye Aganaba joins Anthonia Ogundele to speak about their collection (which will be on display in October) that is part of a larger body of work called AfroScience. Its purpose is to explore the connections between Black and Indigenous art forms, and bring together artists to collaborate creatively on works inspired by their shared history.

 

 

November 7, 2019—Displacing Hogan’s Alley: weaponizing the living dead of our memorabilia

Speaker: Adam Rudder, Adjunct faculty member, Fairleigh Dickinson University and co-chair of the Hogan’s Alley Society

View of Hogan’s Alley, April, 1958. Photo by A.L. Yates. City of Vancouver Archives Photograph # Bu P508.53. © City of Vancouver Archives. Date: April, 1958

Remembering the Strathcona Black community is a process fraught with conceptual and ethical conundrums. The attempt to ‘remember’ Black Strathcona finds its momentum in contemporary contexts where acts of living always seem to require further articulation, definition, and cataloging—always striving to be worthy. In this milieu we struggle not only to be remembered, but also to be cataloged as human types not so different in degree (while progressive timelines still foretell of vanishing). These identities linger in the present, a particular sort of revenant, called to serve the need for recognition now. In this presentation, these revenants are given marching orders not only as ‘proof of presence’ but also reminders of the limits of identity. We draw from the memories of Black Vancouverites (circa 1920-1950) to address the questions: How is the is Black Strathcona remembered? What sorts of Afro-futures do their memories make possible?

 

 

November 28, 2019—Making Stuff: The Culture of Design

Speaker: Erika Balcombe, PhD student, Anthropology, UBC and design educator, Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

What is the relationship between anthropology and design? While the dynamics among people, objects and environments has long held the imagination of anthropologists concerned with material culture, design has only recently emerged as a site of serious inquiry in post-industrial society. As the practices and products of intentional, future-oriented making have become increasingly complex, mobilizing cross-disciplinary approaches to understand social, economic, environmental and political repercussions becomes ever more relevant. We will explore the concepts of innovation and tradition in the production of material culture and consider the terms craft and design from both historic and contemporary perspectives. Reference to literature from a breadth of related fields will demonstrate that design is a multifaced site of ethnographic interest: as a fundamental human activity, a methodical and social process (a way of doing and thinking), a specialized/professional activity and a material artifact.