In Aircraft Stories noted sociologist of technoscience John Law tells “stories” about a British attempt to build a military aircraft—the TSR2. The intertwining of these stories demonstrates the ways in which particular technological projects can be understood in a world of complex contexts. Law works to upset the binary between the modernist concept of knowledge, subjects, and objects as having centered and concrete essences and the postmodernist notion that all is fragmented and centerless. The structure and content of Aircraft Stories reflect Law’s contention that knowledge, subjects, and—particularly— objects are “fractionally coherent”: that is, they are drawn together without necessarily being centered. In studying the process of this particular aircraft’s design, construction, and eventual cancellation, Law develops a range of metaphors to describe both its fractional character and the ways its various aspects interact with each other. Offering numerous insights into the way we theorize the working of systems, he explores the overlaps between singularity and multiplicity and reveals rich new meaning in such concepts as oscillation, interference, fractionality, and rhizomatic networks. The methodology and insights of Aircraft Stories will be invaluable to students in science and technology studies and will engage others who are interested in the ways that contemporary paradigms have limited our ability to see objects in their true complexity.
What can Roger Rabbit tell us about the Second Gulf War? What can a woman married to the Berlin Wall tell us about posthumanism and inter-subjectivity? What can DJ Shadow tell us about the end of history? What can our local bus route tell us about the fortification of the West? What can Reality TV tell us about the crisis of contemporary community? And what can unauthorized pictures of Osama Bin Laden tell us about new methods of popular propaganda? These are only some of the thought-provoking questions raised in Avoiding the Subject, which highlights the feedback-loops between philosophy, technology, and politics in today's mediascape.
Live Nude Girl: My Life as an Object is a lively meditation on the profession of art modeling as it has been practiced in history and as it is practiced today. Kathleen Rooney draws on her own experiences working as an artist's model, as well as the famous, notorious, and mysterious artists and models through the ages. Through a combination of personal perspective, historical anecdote, and witty prose, Live Nude Girl reveals that both the appeal of posing nude for artists and the appeal of drawing the naked figure lie in our deeply human responses to beauty, sex, love, and death.
When Christianity was imposed on Native peoples in the Andes, visual images played a fundamental role, yet few scholars have written about this significant aspect. Object and Apparition proposes that Christianity took root in the region only when both Spanish colonizers and native Andeans actively envisioned the principal deities of the new religion in two- and three-dimensional forms. The book explores principal works of art involved in this process, outlines early strategies for envisioning the Christian divine, and examines later, more effective approaches.
Maya Stanfield-Mazzi demonstrates that among images of the divine there was constant interplay between concrete material objects and ephemeral visions or apparitions. Three-dimensional works of art, specifically large-scale statues of Christ and the Virgin Mary, were key to envisioning the Christian divine, the author contends. She presents in-depth analysis of three surviving statues: the Virgins of Pomata and Copacabana (Lake Titicaca region) and Christ of the Earthquakes from Cusco.
Two-dimensional painted images of those statues emerged later. Such paintings depicted the miracle-working potential of specific statues and thus helped to spread the statues’ fame and attract devotees. “Statue paintings” that depict the statues enshrined on their altars also served the purpose of presenting images of local Andean divinities to believers outside church settings.
Stanfield-Mazzi describes the unique features of Andean Catholicism while illustrating its connections to both Spanish and Andean cultural traditions. Based on thorough archival research combined with stunning visual analysis, Object and Apparition analyzes the range of artworks that gave visual form to Christianity in the Andes and ultimately caused the new religion to flourish.
Did socialist policies leave the economies of Eastern Europe unprepared for current privatization efforts? Under communist rule, were rural villages truly left untouched by capitalism? In this historical ethnography of rural Hungary, Martha Lampland argues not only that the transition to capitalism was well under way by the 1930s, but that socialist policies themselves played a crucial role in the development of capitalism by transforming conceptions of time, money, and labor.
Exploring the effects of social change thrust upon communities against their will, Lampland examines the history of agrarian labor in Hungary from World War I to the early 1980s. She shows that rural workers had long been subject to strict state policies similar to those imposed by collectivization. Since the values of privatization and individualism associated with capitalism characterized rural Hungarian life both prior to and throughout the socialist period, capitalist ideologies of work and morality survived unscathed in the private economic practices of rural society. Lampland also shows how labor practices under socialism prepared the workforce for capitalism. By drawing villagers into factories and collective farms, for example, the socialist state forced farmers to work within tightly controlled time limits and to calculate their efforts in monetary terms. Indeed, this control and commodification of rural labor under socialism was essential to the transformation to capitalism.
Sayre defines for the first time the apparently diffuse avant-garde art of the past two decades in terms of its distinctly postmodern concerns. The range of arts discussed here encompasses contemporary dance, photography, oral poetics, performance art, and earthworks.
"Sayre has written one of the most intelligent, sensible, and readable accounts of the tenents of Postmodern artmaking published to date."—Jeff Abell, New Art Examiner
"No one can read The Object of Performance without gaining a far better idea than before of what has happened to art, and, in some measure, why. . . . I find this book consistently illuminating."—Arthur C. Danto
The Object of the Atlantic is a wide-ranging study of the transition from a concern with sovereignty to a concern with things in Iberian Atlantic literature and art produced between 1868 and 1968. Rachel Price uncovers the surprising ways that concrete aesthetics from Cuba, Brazil, and Spain drew not only on global forms of constructivism but also on a history of empire, slavery, and media technologies from the Atlantic world. Analyzing Jose Marti’s notebooks, Joaquim de Sousandrade’s poetry, Ramiro de Maeztu’s essays on things and on slavery, 1920s Cuban literature on economic restructuring, Ferreira Gullar’s theory of the “non-object,” and neoconcrete art, Price shows that the turn to objects—and from these to new media networks—was rooted in the very philosophies of history that helped form the Atlantic world itself.
What is it that art historians do when they approach works of art?
What kind of language do they use to descibe what they see? How do they construct arguments using visual evidence? What sorts of arguments do they make? In this unusual anthology, eighteen prominent art historians specializing in the medieval field (European, Byzantine, and Islamic) provide answers to these fundamental questions, not directly but by way of example. Each author, responding to invitation, has chosen for study a single image or object and has submitted it to sustained analysis. The collection of essays, accompanied by statements on methodology by the editors, offers an accessible introduction to current art-historical practice.
Elizabeth Sears is George H. Forsyth Jr. Collegiate Professor of Art at the University of Michigan. She has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, a Research Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, and a Paul Mellon Centre Fellowship at the British School in Rome.
Thelma K. Thomas is Associate Professor of the History of Art and Associate Curator of the Kelsey Museum, University of Michigan.
In search of the origins of some of the most fundamental problems that have beset philosophers in English-speaking countries in the past century, Claire Ortiz Hill maintains that philosophers are treating symptoms of ills whose causes lie buried in history. Substantial linguistic hurdles have blocked access to Gottlob Frege's thought and even to Bertrand Russell's work to remedy the problems he found in it. Misleading translations of key concepts like intention, content, presentation, idea, meaning, concept, etc., severed analytic philosophy from its roots.
Hill argues that once linguistic and historical barriers are removed, Edmund Husserl's critical study of Frege's logic in his 1891 Philosophy of Arithmetic provides important insights into issues in philosophy now.
She supports her conclusions with analyses of Frege's, Husserl's, and Russell's works, including Principia Mathematica, and with linguistic analyses of the principal concepts of analytic philosophy. She re-establishes links that existed between English and Continental thought to show Husserl's expertise as a philosopher of mathematics and logic who had been Weierstrass's assistant and had long maintained ties with Cantor, Hilbert, and Zermelo.