Practicing Art and Anthropology presents an in-depth exploration of transdisciplinary work in the expanding space between art and anthropology. Having trained and worked as an artist as well as an anthropologist, Anna Laine’s decades-long engagement in art practice, artistic research and anthropology provide her with a unique perspective on connections between the two fields, both in theory and in practice. Intertwining artistic and anthropological ways of working, Laine asks what it means to engage a transdisciplinary stance when academia requires a specific disciplinary belonging. In order to expand the methods of producing academic knowledge by going beyond conventional approaches to research, she draws on examples from her own work with Tamils in India and the UK to present an original take on how we can cross the boundaries between art and anthropology to reach multiple dimensions of understanding. Offering exceptional breadth and detail, Practicing Art and Anthropology provides a unique approach to the discussion. An important read for students and scholars in art and anthropology as well as artists and anyone interacting in the space in-between.
Table of Contents
List of ImagesAcknowledgements1. Working with art and anthropology: an introduction 2. Visual and visceral encounters with kolam in south India 3. Art making as third space across India and Sweden 4. Photo-poetic essay 5. Engagements in the ethnographic museum and contemporary art galleries 6. Artistic methods in urban south India 7. ‘Making kolams in London’: a collaborative and participatory art event 8. Sharing practices with British Tamil artists 9. New platforms and future possibilities Notes Bibliography Index
Anna Laine was Associate Professor at Dalarna University, Sweden, and Photography Curator at the National Museums of World Culture, Sweden, and is currently working with research and development at the Swedish National Heritage Board.
"In “Practicing art and Anthropology”, Anna Laine takes the reader through her extended ethnographic and artistic journey with the Tamil and their Kolam art, shifting sites and experimental practices at each chapter. Both intensely personal and deeply academic, full of interesting ethnographic examples and theoretical discussions, this is an excellent example of what the consequential engagement of contemporary art and anthropology can generate. - Roger Sansi, University of Barcelona, Spain Laine constructs a passionate and very important argument for the creative possibilities of an anthropological approach to understanding art cross-culturally. This is an accessible and brilliant book, full of beautifully observed details that make me realise the limits of my own cultural ways of looking. An invaluable resource, it is full of vital suggestions for a new, reinvigorated, artful anthropology. - Christopher Wright, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK Anna Laine's book makes an important contribution to debates across art and anthropology. By staying close to the practices and practicalities of this now well established disciplinary exchange, she gives full credence to the particularity of 'notes from the field'. Practicing Art and Anthropology promises to become essential reading for those interested in not only the conceptual but also the material implications of art/anthropology situations in the making. - Amanda Ravetz, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK Anna Laine takes us on a wonderful journey, ethnographically rich and sensitive in the treatment of her collaborations with Tamils in South India and the diaspora, as well as with museums and academic institutions, and always informed by her own art practice. She shows us the path for future collaborative practices beyond the boundaries of art and anthropology! - Arnd Schneider, University of Oslo, Norway Practicing Art and Anthropology offers a series of linked case studies through which the possibilities of art practice as a form of collaborative social analysis and intervention are pursued. Addressing the methodological potential of this form of practice as well as the constraints with which its exponents struggle, this volume promises to make an important contribution to a field that is only now being sketched in. - Pamela Smart, Binghamton University, USA"