8 Aralık 2009 Salı

agoraphobic plant collector. 2009 december@eca

agoraphobic plant collector

An Attempt to cover the Uncanny Historically: (If it is possible at all)

As today I will have a meeting with my supervisors, and as I am expected to talk about what have I done so far, I was trying to wrap up things.
anyway, I decided to begin with giving a brief summary of the historical journey, the changes the concept uncanny has been through, a literature review of the concept uncanny let say. (which sounds quite a daft attempt.)
The concept of uncanny was developed by Freud in his 1919 dated essay. Though he was not the first one to point out to the concept-and most critics even argue it cannot be considered even as a concept due to its poor conceptualization- he was the one who really tried to deal with it. Anneleen Masschelein elaborates on the subject in her essay "A Homeless Concept: Shapes of the Uncanny in Twentieth-Century Theory and Culture."

According to Kofman and Cixous, Freud's complementary investigations are circular: the dictionary is called upon to corroborate the results of the case studies, but the one has no more reality than the other, because Freud merely confirms his interpretations by another interpretation. Not only is he thus trapped in the hermeneutic circle, he is also unable to distinguish between literal meaning and metaphorical meaning, between denotation and connotation, between reality and fiction.

Masschelein later argues that there is no point in trying to blame Freud not being able to conceptualize, frame the uncanny given the recent climax.

As Freud demonstrated in his article, the uncanny is, like many other concepts, a word taken from common language, which is metaphorically charged with a certain meaning. Therefore, it is impossible to reduce the origin of these kinds of concepts to just one text or to just one usage. On the other hand, there must always a "first" one to lift such a word from its ordinary context, and to put it forward as a topic for reflection, in this case Freud.

one of the critics of Freud even says that Freud was lucky that there exist such a work like "unheimlich."(I need a reference here). What if there was not such a word?

A recent article I have come across make this point a bit invalid. A text by Mark Wigley in Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture. The Domestication of the House: Deconstruction After Architecture is a quite moving work, for the ones that are uninitiated in philosophy like me.(Another issue that I dont know where to stand).
Wigley talks about the analogy between philosophy and the architecture, and Heidegger's elaboration on the subject. Heidegger takes "house" as the metaphor of all metaphors, or better put the proper place, proper meaning that makes metaphor possible.(metaphor is basically the displaced proper meaning in this line)

In this sense, the "lexiological pilgrimage" of Freud (as Nicholas Royle calls it) seems to be not totally baseless. (I find the etymological surveys in the academic papers, or in any kind of papers quite intriguing. It is not just creating an argument for the sake of an argument. It is a historical review as well.)

seeing house as the proper place, proper meaning also calls its exclusionary aspect. It needs to exclude the other to be a within. This is the point deconstruction and Derrida involves in the subject.

If we divide the different approaches towards uncanny in three different phases as Bart van der Straeten suggests, ( the 18th century: romantic period, the late 19th and early 20th century: the modernist period, and the period after 1960's: postmodernist period) this deconstructionist tendency falls under the rereading of Freud's text in 1960's.In which Freud's work was considered as an attempt to undermine the western logocentricism. It is an era where a postmodernist nostalgia for the repressed, subordinated part of the binary pair is at issue as Wendy Wheeler points at.
Anneleen Masschelein tells that:

a number of important readings of Freud's essay from a post-structuralist and/or deconstructive perspective have shaped the present form of the concept, and they function as theoretical landmarks in their own right. The most important examples are Cixous, Weber, Kofman and Hertz in the seventies and early eighties, more recent instances are Moller and Lydenberg.

Wigley, Mark. The Domestication of the House: Deconstruction after Architecture.Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture.USA: Cambridge University Press,1994.

This is the poster I have presented at the Postgraduate Conference " Kaleidoscopes and Cacophonies:Contemporary Research to be Seen, Felt, and Heard".

I found the idea of Poster Presentation quite useful. Unlike a formal presentation, which gives the speaker a more patronizing role and in return places the audience in a more patronizing stance, this informal way of sharing your research makes other people to talk about your work in a more sincere way. They are not afraid of asking silly questions, they can point at very tiny details which might guide you towards other interesting trajectories. You might think of superstitions, everyday rituals that makes a house a home, or your poster presentation as a self-portrait.

yani neymiş: poster sunumu insanın kendine yakışanı giymesiymiş

24 Kasım 2009 Salı

Home (Key Ideas in Geography) by Alison Blunt (Author), Robyn Dowling (Author)

As I promised myself earlier on, this is a brief summary of (the first chapter) of the book "Home: Key Ideas in Geography"
Blunt and Dowling describes home "as a place and as an idea, an imaginary imbued with feeling"(2). these feelings include belonging, desire, intimacy and fear, violence, alienation.
Home is thus "spatial imaginary" they conclude.
"a set of intersecting and variable ideas and feelings, which are related to context, and which construct places, extend across spaces and scales and connect places" (2).

inspired by their word play I will suggest to consider home as "imaginary space". (How brilliant!)
the authors lists several frameworks that conceptualize the "home".
Marxist conceive home as a site for social reproduction, where the worker prepares him/herself for work./Basically/
Humanist geographers investigate how places entail meanings, significance for people. they are interested in how people relate to the dwelling, how a sense of home is created. this is what I am interested in as well.
they dont consider home as house or shelter, rather it is an "irreplaceable centre of significance".A place to withdraw and venture forth. this is where feminist critics are suspicious about. It is rather a romantic take of home they argue. As they find such an approach masculinist, the home is a haven for the men, who rest in it, but for women it is a workplace and more than that most of the time a site for oppression and violence.
I find the quote of Dovey quite interesting, she sees home as a relationship with the environment through which people make sense of their world. It corresponds with Stuart Hall's definition of culture. In a similar manner Nikos Papastergiadis sees home as a place where personal and social meanings are grounded.

"Being Home refers to the place where one lives within familiar, safe, protected boundaries; "not being home" is a matter of realizing that home was an illusion of coherence and safety based on the exclusion of specific histories of oppression and resistance, the repression of differences even within oneself."
chandra Talpade Mohanty


8 Kasım 2009 Pazar

james elkins on practice-based phd

It also seems wholly in keeping with the way art is often produced, in the company of many disparate interests that do not, at least for some time, seem to be directly linked to one another. It avoids the usual academic demands of coherence, rationality, and intellectual synthesis-which again is appropriate for much of visual art.

Because the purpose of the candidate's forays into different disciplines is to mine them in order to further her artwork. Hence normal scholarly criteria of truth, the production of new knowledge, thoroughness, clarity, and scholarly protocol just do not apply. The dissertations can still be checked, and the candidates can be advised as if they were students of art history, anthropology, and other disciplines: but in fact they aren't, and the normal protocols of readings by specialists is not logically appropriate. It needs a separate justification.

It would make sense to put se minars on theories of reading especially Paul De Man's-at the heart of the new programmes. Translation theory, too, could playa part, and so could anthropological theories of interpretation. Perhaps the new degree should be understood as a fundamental critique of disciplinarity itself-in which case it might frUitfully engage vvith existing debates about the nature of interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and subdisciplinary work in many other fields

The Three Configurations of Practice-Based Phds

3 Kasım 2009 Salı

"home" by alison blunt and roby dowling

the book talks about different approaches to studies on home. I like the idea of including some ongoing phd projects on the topic, it gives not only an idea on current projects, also different and more minor trends in the field. the authors draw attention to the fact that the interest on the topic of home is quite recent.(Wonder why) from mid 90s on more and more researches have been conducted on the topic. several approaches at hand, feminist and post-colonial perspectives are the ones that sounds intriguing and might help me get out of my little box I think.
anyway the book is a good anthology, a kind of beginners book that might allow you to jump to other stuff.
home as a micro-cosmos, a space we develop an ethic of existence.
It feels like a valid starting point for the quest for familiar, the place of the exotic. Still vague how to move on from there.
"the anthropology of domestic space can become a native research paradise illustrating the exotic in the familiar"
Irene Cieraad says in page 43
I will try to write a more comprehensive summary of the book when I turn back from the trip (hopefully).

27 Ekim 2009 Salı

15th of October- 29th of October

ornament: originated from the Greek kosmos,meaning universe.
the concept term kosmos is related to order, ornament and universe.
I have found an amazing book on ornament, written by Kent Bloomer, The Ornament.
the passage quoted below is from the book mentioned.
"for the ancient Greeks, the words Kosmos was set in contrast to the word Chaos. Chaos preceded the emergence of the world as we know it, but was succeeded by Cosmos, which manifested the profound order of the world and the totality of its natural phenomena. In that respect, Cosmos made possible the knowable and thus the visible structure of the universe as the latter established the relations between its elements and its inhabitants. We might say that Cosmos could be represented as a consensus, a magnificient diagram, a universal, a universal tapestry, a comphrehensive text, or, in the light of architecture, a supreme temple. Cosmic articles expelled chaos and revealed order.
In pre-Socratic culture, the totality of the universe was generally thought to be constituted by the Earth, the Heavens, and Eros. Eros is the god of love, and in antiquity the origin of the world was expressed in an act of procreation. Love was a uniting power that, treated either as a divinity or an idea, was responsible for the organization of the whole Cosmos and the achievement of union out of Chaos. In the beginning, Eros appeared and transformed the decomposed, dark, and stormy chasm of Chaos into the creation of the world. Elements formerly scattered were united into a productive embrace, and thus the earth and skies, the wet and the dry, the hot and the cold were nurtured into specific locations, ranks, and degrees of animation. Eros was also described as intransigent, unconquerable, wandering and among the dwellers of the wilderness capable of inciting madness and convertingjustice to evil. But those attributes did not prevent Eros from performing as an organizing force capable of controlling strife and conflict. Thus the forces of love and strife came to be understood as everlasting cycles that, like life, death, and the seasons, were to be manifested by visual figures that evoked rhythm and temporality. This vibrant world picture of order gained from desire, union, and rhythm was implicated with the earliest concepts of ornament, just as today rhythm is still poetically associated with feelings of unity.
In the ancient sense, Eros was an external agent, someone or something that could intervene to control the potentially chaotic entities of earth and sky.

Ornament...like a force that unites and transforms conflicting worldly elements."

for my recent project I am working on, I was looking for the origin of floral design. why there appeared the tendency to depict nature? It is a rather wide question, I know. Anyway, the things I have found are more interesting than the question. I have read through a couple of books on the origin of gardens, like Quest for Paradise and The Garden of Eden. As their title suggest, the building of gardens is strongly associated with the recreating the Garden of Eden,the moment before Adam and Eve fell into the world, before the world was scattered, before we lost the innocence. Garden of Eden is conceived as a place where all nature served Adam. With the first sin, with the first knowledge man was expelled from that heavenly life.
all the idea behind the botanical garden was, for most, the recreate that heavenly garden, that's why they began to collect different kinds of plants from all over the world, to establish the unity of the scattered world. this is also the idea behind the zoo, animals used to serve Adam in the garden of Eden before the Fall. And now in the zoo they are reenacting their role in the Eden, to be under the rule of man.That is what John Prest says in his book The Garden of Eden: The Botanic Garden and the Re-creation of eden.
the botanical garden has also been the origin of science. In a rather odd way, the story of the Fall repeats itself in a reverse fashion. Once expelled from the Eden for his desire for knowledge, now he returns to it through the knowledge.
The Islamic gardens also have a similar motive in creating gardens. they are creating the paradise that is promised for professed Muslim. but they are not recreating the garden of eden. (I am a little confused about the "eden" and "paradise" to be honest. Türkçede bir tane cennet var. ve de islamda ilk günah olmadığından olsa gerek, cennet bahçesini yeniden yaratmak değil, vaad edilen cenneti yaratmak söz konusu. tabi yaratmak tam da karşılamıyor bu eylemi. zira şirk koşmak demek yaratmak. ne peki bu fiil?)
and the rugs, carpets, and prayer rugs in Islamic countries do most of the time represents the paradise. an idealized piece of land, a promised land, a place that is not here, a point of hope, escape if you like.

22 Ekim 2009 Perşembe

au-pair and their relation with their new environment

I come across with an article on (Slovakian) au-pairs and how they relate with their room in their new environment. the paper was written by Zuzana Brikova under the tittle "the embarrassment of co-presence: aupair and their rooms" and published in Home cultures. I was really moved by her analysis and observations. the way they relate or refuse to relate their room, they patterns of using the facilities at home, the way they consume the food... It is so bizarre that our relation with the space effects even our way of eating.
(when I am not comfortable in someone's place, somewhere unfamiliar I tend to eat little as well. so simple and so silly it might sound, but that's the way it is. )
brikova observes that the au-pairs do not prefer to open new food package, or they do not prefer to be the one finishing the food, as they dont want their presence to be felt, to be underlined. as they do not feel as the part of the house, they want to give as less "impression" as possible.
horror of leaving a trace.

the way aupairs relate to their room also show differences. some prefer to embellish their rooms, leave a personal mark on it, try to make it their own while some others do not want to do emotional investment where they will stay temporarily. even they become obsessed about not leaving a stain on the carpet...

21 Ekim 2009 Çarşamba

sir walter scott

demiş ki: I am safe when I am enclosed
moreover, I have learned that he is the inventor of the "historical novel" genre.