Symposium – The Australian Object: Material Culture in Context

Image: Fiona Foley, HORROR HAS A FACE, 2017, brass and enamel paint, 14 x 22 cm. Courtesy of the artist. © Fiona Foley

DATE: Thursday 3 and Friday 4 October 2019, 9am–5pm

LOCATION: Cell Block Theatre, National Art School

This two-day symposium, presented in partnership with the Power Institute, showcases new scholarly research on the material culture of Australia. It addresses the rich diversity of objects and the processes, knowledge, and meanings embedded therein. Our purpose is to revitalise the discourse on marginalised media and quotidian culture and bring scholars, artists, curators and collectors into productive dialogue. Focusing on making meaning through materials, this symposium reinforces the National Art School’s core emphasis on object-led art practices and histories.

SPEAKERS: Deborah Beck, Alisa Bunbury, Anita Callaway, Mark de Vitis, Molly Duggins, Fiona Foley, Shannon Foster, Stephen Gilchrist, Michael Hill, Alison Inglis, Martyn Jolly and Elisa deCourcy, Jonathan Jones, Lorraine Kypiotis, Greg Lehman, Maria Nugent, Holly Schulte and Priya Vaughan.

TICKET DETAILS: Tickets for both days (no single day tickets are available)

Full fee: $120
Alumni fee: $100
NAS Current students fee: $100

Presented by the National Art School in partnership with the Power Institute

   

ABOUT

This two-day symposium, presented in partnership with the Power Institute, showcases new scholarly research on the material culture of Australia. It addresses the rich diversity of objects and the processes, knowledge, and meanings embedded therein. Our purpose is to revitalise the discourse on marginalised media and quotidian culture and bring scholars, artists, curators and collectors into productive dialogue. Focusing on making meaning through materials, this symposium reinforces the National Art School’s core emphasis on object-led art practices and histories.

Despite renewed interest in material culture, the conversation about objects often remains siloed in discrete disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, design history and museology. Building on the material turn in art history, this symposium aims to explore productive interdisciplinary methodologies for engaging with Australian objects. In particular, our approach aims to draw into conversation objects that have been previously occluded in these discourses.

To prioritise the object and foster dialogue, each presentation will take the form of a 20-minute case study of an Australian object. Case studies will address the object’s material and sensorial properties and the specific aesthetic frameworks through which it has acquired meaning and value, including how production, use, circulation and exchange has shaped the life of the object. Case studies may also consider how these objects connect with, undermine, or complicate notions of art, taste, authenticity, tradition, value, identity, and nationhood broadly defined.

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