Visual + Material Culture Seminar Series – Fall 2020
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.
Open to students, staff, faculty and community members in and around UBC. The seminars will be held online over Zoom during this term. The seminars will not be recorded.
Participation is free, but registration is required (links below).
Where: Zoom (download the app here)
When: Every other Thursday, 4 – 5 pm
Conveners: Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, MOA Curator, Asia; Dr. Nuno Porto, MOA Curator, Africa + Latin America; Dr. Anne Murphy, UBC Asian Studies
We request you adhere to the following Zoom etiquette during the sessions:
- Please mute your microphone whenever you are not speaking; we may also mute attendees remotely.
- Please refrain from taking screenshots of the presentation.
- During the Q&A and discussion, we will use the chat to establish the order of questions. Please write “I have a question/comment” into the chat function and we will call on you to unmute yourself and speak.
If you have questions, please contact Fuyubi Nakamura at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall 2020 series
September 17, 2020: “Utsukushiki Okori: Seeing Red in Ninagawa Mika’s Cinema of Extremes” with Colleen Laird, Assistant Professor of Japanese Film and Popular Culture, Department of Asian Studies, UBC.
October 1, 2020: “The Material Evidence for Greek Drama on the Island of Euboea” with Justin Dwyer, PhD candidate, Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, UBC.
October 15, 2020: “The Remains of Artistic Praxis: the posters, programs and scripts of Kishida Rio” with Colleen Lanki, PhD candiate, Department of Theatre and Film, UBC.
October 29, 2020 ‘“Out of Waste and Water”: The South African Mining Landscapes of David Goldblatt‘ with Daniela Perez, PhD candidate, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC.
November 12, 2020: “The Invisibility of Women: Women’s Contributions in Punjabi Theatre” with Ranbir Johal, Faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
November 26, 2020: “Mapping the City: Public Histories and the Shifting Landscape of Vancouver” with Caitlin Gordon-Walker, Honorary research associate and sessional instructor, Department of Anthropology, UBC.
September 17, 2020—Utsukushiki Okori: Seeing Red in Ninagawa Mika’s Cinema of Extremes
Speaker: Colleen Laird, Assistant Professor of Japanese Film and Popular Culture, Department of Asian Studies, UBC
One of Japan’s most celebrated commercial fashion photographers, Ninagawa Mika is an acclaimed “girly” visual artist and a director of films, music videos, and a Netflix Original series. She is immensely popular, particularly with female-identifying audiences. She features so-called “bad girl” protagonists and recruits notoriously “bad girl” celebrities to craft a vision of extravagance and a vision of extremes, all largely draped in red, which she deems to be “the colour of passion, the colour of blood, the colour of everything.” This seminar invites you into Ninagawa’s extravagant, scopophilic visual world, one in which the act of looking is one of power, one of passion and desire, one of projection, reflection, connection, objectification, and ustukushiki okori—“beautiful rage.”
October 1, 2020—The Material Evidence for Greek Drama on the Island of Euboea
Speaker: Justin Dwyer, PhD candidate, Department of Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies, UBC.
Euboea produced some of Greek drama’s most renowned figures; however, we know very little about the local dramatic traditions that shaped their poetry. To better understand this important alternative to Athenian drama, this talk builds a diachronic model of the Euboean dramatic tradition. Since no Euboean dramatic texts survive, an interdisciplinary study of the relevant material record provides a basis for this study. Enhanced by consideration of the epigraphic record and the Hellenistic phases of the theatre at Eretria, the analysis focuses primarily on small-scale terracotta sculpture and considers both figurines and masks from collections in Karystos, Eretria, Chalkis, and Athens. From this integrated survey, a distinct regional identity of Euboean theatre begins to emerge.
October 15, 2020—The Remains of Artistic Praxis: the posters, programs and scripts of Kishida Rio
Speaker: Colleen Lanki, PhD candiate, Department of Theatre and Film, UBC.
A theatre performance is transitory and experiential for performer and spectator, yet traces linger once the time-based act is complete. How does a researcher dig through these remnants to understand or analyze an artist’s praxis? In my research on Japanese playwright and theatre artist Kishida Rio (1946–2003), I am largely working with interviews, rehearsal and performance observations, and the current, embodied practice of her actors. Alongside this study of Kishida’s living and evolving legacy, I am working with the material remains of her past productions: posters, recordings, photographs and scripts. How can I reconcile (or not) these material traces when analyzing Kishida’s artistic praxis? How does the material archive match or contradict the living archive or “repertoire?” How does context and timeframe affect how I read these artifacts? This talk will raise these questions, in hopes that the discussion may provide some answers or insights.
October 29, 2020—“Out of Waste and Water”: The South African Mining Landscapes of David Goldblatt
Speaker: Daniela Perez, PhD candidate, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC.
Historically, landscape arts in South Africa relied on particular modes of seeing to facilitate the erasure of violent histories of colonial dispossession and in doing so, participated in the naturalization of apartheid’s ideology of racial segregation. This talk considers South African photographer David Goldblatt’s (1930-2018) documentation of the decaying mining industry of the Witwatersrand as participating in a critical reassessment of the dominant idea of landscape within the context of apartheid. Through a visual counter-narrative to the idealization of rural life and the pristine African wilderness, Goldblatt images an overwhelming inscription of industrial capitalism on the land. His work sheds light on how the social and economic conditions of apartheid cannot be disentangled from the landscapes they co-generate. Indeed, these barren mining landscapes reveal the tension between the cultural value of an imagined landscape, and the material value concealed beneath it, the extraction of which is predicated on its complete transformation.
November 12, 2020—The Invisibility of Women: Women’s Contributions in Punjabi Theatre
Speaker: Ranbir Johal, Faculty, Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
This talk will focus on the restriction of Punjabi women from performative spaces, particularly theatre in 20th century post-partition India. It will examine the problematic for women in “being seen” in East Punjab theatrical traditions, exploring the restriction of Punjabi women from performative spaces, in order to understand how and when these restrictions functioned, as well as how and when these restrictions were overcome. A brief history of women on stage in the region of East Punjab, and then a focus on the life stories of four women who have made significant contributions to Punjabi theatre: Neena Tiwana, Rani Balbir Kaur, Navnindra Behl and Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry will be provided. The talk explores the complexities and difficulties of representation on stage and in the archive, and the irony that, for many female playwrights and directors in Punjabi theatre, their work often becomes amaterial and transient due to a lack of documentation.
November 26, 2020—Mapping the City: Public Histories and the Shifting Landscape of Vancouver
Speaker: Caitlin Gordon-Walker, Honorary research associate and sessional instructor, Department of Anthropology, UBC.
This presentation will discuss a new and ongoing research project inquiring into past and current changes in the representation of Vancouver’s pasts within the city’s landscape. While this project considers the work of museums and other official heritage sites, such as public art and efforts to (re)name public spaces, it also examines the dialogue between these and the wider places and lives in which they play a part. Presenting some initial findings from the first phase of the project, Hindsight is 20/20, it will highlight some of the tensions between official heritage discourses, often linked to themes of redress and reconciliation within a nationalist framework, and the diverse experience of living in the city, in which various actors (re)claim and/or dispute the past and articulate differing understandings of what the city’s histories mean for the present.