New Session: The Iconic: afterlife, new beginnings and the return of the symbolic
Co-organizers: Albert L Refiti, Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul
Saturday, February 11, 2:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Orchid 1
This workshop/informal session aims to explore and develop possible new theories of the iconic related to anthropology, material culture, architecture, and art. Under the linguistic turn, the concept of culture conflated culture and the symbolic. The current concern with the material, the performative, the affective and the embodied, however, has given new life to the concept of culture as integral to the impulse towards action and its connection with things.
However, if it is in the interplay and reciprocity between the symbolic and the technical, between discourse and the iconic that cultures emerge and reproduce, then perhaps the symbolic is paid too little attention. In isolation, neither of the elements listed so far can do justice to the multifarious activities, desires, rituals, and resistances, which make up people's affective and everyday lives. How would the exploration of cultural work with things and symbols proceed when it takes account of overt as much as tacit knowing, of aesthetic and material practices, and refrains from privileging one form of practice over another. Could such an exploration open up new “spaces for perception, communication,
and cognition”, and “lay bare phenomena and relationships whose profile precisely does not coincide with the boundaries of specific disciplines” (Kramer 2013: 27)? There is renewed interest in processes such as flow, energy, and affect in the life of images and
motifs, which are associated with Aby Warburg’s notion of Nachleben or ‘afterlife’. Nachleben refers to the survival of images and motifs—as opposed to their renascence after extinction or, conversely, their replacement by innovations in image and motif.
We are interested in proposals that are oriented towards material culture, place, spaces and architecture, myth, rituals and the visual arts. We see a value in rethinking and re-theorizing the symbolic in anthropology and cultural studies, particularly in the context of Pacific Spaces in the diaspora.
Some of the questions may include:
Requirements and Dates:
Monday 31 October 2016 – 500-word proposals for
Friday 20 January 2017 – 2000-word draft papers to be
Albert L Refiti, Auckland University of Technology,
Tina Engels-Schwarzpaul, Auckland University of Technology,