Uncharted Stories

Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Work: Parallels in Identity Politics of Latin American and Middle Eastern Art, 1980s – Present

In Sara Angel Guerrero-Rippberger on June 19, 2009 at 10:38 am

I investigate and compare two distinct art histories which have neither been formally compared in an academic context nor been the joint focus of curatorial analysis: the histories of critical debates about art from the Middle East and art from Latin America. From a post-identity politics perspective, I explore possible parallels and analyse exhibitions and artworks in a national, regional, and global context.

Since the 1980s regional contemporary art identities from Arab and Latino worlds have been largely constructed through international exhibitions and theoretical texts. Notions of identity and culture in art have often been central in these constructions, albeit against the backdrop of Western art theory.

Artists from both regions have used indigenous imagery, allegory, technique, and materials in a socio-political landscape, positioning themselves politically in local and international art scenes. My rationale for comparison is based on structural similarities between the regions: the existence of a dominant culture, language, and religion which transcend national boundaries, yet are contested by sub-identities. Each region has been the focus of art/cultural exhibitions which seek to define a Latino or Middle Eastern aesthetic. The Western media often portrays them controversially; Latino and Middle Eastern cultures can become (for the West) symbols of conflict, revolution, and dissent.

Influential ideas about art from both insider and outsider standpoints can reveal how regional identities undergo change through globalisation, widening diasporas, capitalism, and post-modernity. By comparing two regions which have not previously been compared in such a way, I examine whether or not art histories should solely be evaluated with reference to the “standard” of European and Euro-American art history, and search for new parallels beyond region.




Work: Masked/Enmascarados

In Marcela Montoya on June 19, 2009 at 9:22 am





Biography: Marcela Montoya

In Marcela Montoya on June 19, 2009 at 9:07 am

In 1985 Marcela obtained her Fine Art degree from “La Esmeralda” and decided to do a further year studying Printing. After that year and having met a number of interesting artists, she decided to go to Barcelona, Spain to experience the art of mainly Catalan painters. While in Barcelona she met many artists from diverse backgrounds and nationalities and was able to continue painting and exhibiting. In 1990 she moved to England where she now lives and works.  She is currently a Phd research student based at Camberwell College of Arts and TrAIN.

marcela montoya

Work: Curatorship and the mapping the ‘artistic project’ of post-Duchampian art in Brazil and the UK in the late 20thC

In Caroline Menezes on June 19, 2009 at 9:03 am

My research focuses on the problem of re-exhibiting a post-Duchampian artwork. Post-Duchampian practices can be defined as those that make regular use of abstract concepts as the key instrument for creative production rather than a tangible medium. The primary aim of this research is to configure a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the post-Duchampian art, in order to promote the artistic experience initially proposed by the artwork, and in so doing revealing something that could be called an artistic project. The artistic project dwells in the artist’s intentions, in the social and historical contents and finally, in the way the artwork was received/reviewed by the ordinary and specialized audience. How can we contextualized an artwork in order to be closer to its artistic project? This question is the basic discussion of my thesis in which I intend to identify instances where the artistic project can be recovered by an analytical process. Thus, a further core aim is to propose a curatorial strategy which could deliver the integrity of the artistic experience when the artwork is shown in another place or time distinct from the primary exhibition, particularly when it is re-introduced in a transnational contexts.

Work: Art of Play in Zones of Conflict

In Idit Nathan on June 19, 2009 at 8:39 am

This project aims to explore the strategic and paradoxical positioning of the ‘playful’ as used in visual arts practice (my peers and my own) within zones of conflict. By positioning my own practice within a wider field I examine a variety of works that use different media to create physically interactive and playful artworks. The works I make and explore all invite the audience to become active participants in works that deal with conflict.

The key research question of my project is therefore: how do I, as well as many other artists use the seemingly inappropriate notion of the ‘playful’ in the context of conflict? Furthermore, how might a critical approach to the works and their discourses facilitate an understanding of artworks made about and within zones of conflict?


idit nathan image 1

Biography: Idit Nathan

In Idit Nathan on June 19, 2009 at 8:30 am

Born 1963, Cleveland Ohio, U.S.

Childhood in Jerusalem.

In UK since 1990.


Having worked for 15 years as Scenographer in Theatres across the UK Idit is now working mainly as curator and visual artist. Her work focuses on cultural practice, conflict politics and their symbols. It aims to challenge viewers to respond to the unsettling contemporary dilemmas derived from our identity as actors of free will and actors in an historical context.



 idit nathan image 2


Work: Rossella Emanuele

In Rossella Emanuele on June 19, 2009 at 7:42 am


The intention for my practice-based research is to create an innovative body of work, the trajectory of which parallels the work of artists of the Sixties and Seventies such as Anna Maria Maiolino, Lygia Clark and Ana Mendieta and of contemporary artists such as Rivane Neuenschwander and Mona Hatoum. The project intends to contribute to the ongoing debate on strategies for a re-interpretation of the thinking of Process Art Movements of the Sixties and Seventies, in the light of theoretical critical debates on contemporary art.
My interest in locating parallels between the trajectory of my practice and the afore mentioned artists emerges from the realization that certain conceptual interests, and the processes they entail, converge in such individual artistic practices, developed in different historical periods and in different parts of the world. Beyond a question of simply pertaining to the current revived interest in Process Art Movements of Sixties and Seventies, this convergence raises important questions with regard to the historical context of these artists in relation to my own. This emphasises a need to map out a genealogy of my work – as representative of an artist who operates within the current context of both national and international contemporary art practice and theoretical debates – in relation to theirs.



Biography: Rossella Emanuele

In Rossella Emanuele on June 19, 2009 at 7:38 am

Born in Italy, lives and works in London since 1995. She studied Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design. (BA, 2001-2004), (MA, 2004-2005).

Rossella Emanuele creative career started in the Performing Arts. She trained as a dancer and in the theatre, and from 1983 to 1995 performed with renowned international contemporary dance companies and in experimental theatre. Her dance and theatre background has informed her art-practice since the very beginning. Notions of movement, of event and a ‘performative’ element are strongly present in her earlier work.

More recent work explores ideas of time and duration, which she investigates through the processes of transformation of materials and the change in objects over time. She tends to use active, unpredictable materials, which are in continuous transformation and affected by changes in the environment. Through the use of materials that highlight ideas of impermanence and degradation Emanuele explores the relation between the ever-changing nature of life and the inner world of the subject. The tenuous balance between chaos and order and a reference to the body underpin much of her work. This manifests itself as an interest in the pivotal moment when objects disappear or dissolve thus encouraging the dehiscence of the object, allowing entropy to become the strength of the work.

Taking the form of traces of events, very evocative and with a sense of memory, Emanuele’s work transforms emotions into physical form shifting between material forms and experimentation with media.

Her current practice considers the dynamic relationship between form and formlessness in Fine Art practice by focusing on the art making process. This area of enquiry has recently become the subject for a practice-based PhD investigation, she has undertaken with the research centre for Transnational Art, Identity & Nation (TrAIN) at UAL.

Additionally Emanuele works as Associate Lecturer for Sculpture and Drawing at Camberwell College of Art.

Work: Troubling the Map

In Hannah Hurst on June 10, 2009 at 9:06 am


My intention is to consider, through research and practice, how textile household memorabilia have survived a history of continued displacement. Whilst much documented research (Hall & Said) establishes significant contemporary links between cultural, personal and historical aspects, I will be looking at how material and textile memorabilia from the Diaspora can be a container or carrier of memory. This will include my own personal experiences in this process with specific reference to Lithuanian Jewish culture. Historical memory books such as Al-Nakba and Yiskor continue to be honoured and archived and these, together with a map, are the fabric and thread of cultural memory and are seminal to the development of my practice.

This practice- led research explores dialogic practice as it engages with personal memory and post memory.  My focus is familial memorabilia and fragments of memory.  As well as addressing the autobiographical, the research investigates cultural and material contexts of displaced women artists through significant textile/photographic or text memorabilia.

My personal history frames my research; a personal feeling of displacement which is exacerbated by having little oral history relating to my great grandparents¹ life in Lithuania or their emigration South Africa pre 1900. However, it is known that they brought down feathers sewn into their clothing. This tangible evidence, passed down through subsequent generations, is a carrier of memory and narrative. I have moved such testimony (the family linen and photos) across three continents.

I extended my research to Torah Binders, Genizah fragments and Yiskor books. In addition, maps and mapping, both metaphorical and literal, became important. In combination, maps and textile-related memorabilia have become the material signifiers through which narratives of displacement and memory can be told. In my practice I explore the notion and activity of Œtroubling¹ through cloth to tell a story of a connection to the body as well as to the damage of displacement, often with bias (in a sense of bias-binding and biased interpretation). Memorabilia serve as a holding mechanism for secrets, which can be released through techniques such as stitch repair etc.

I divide my work with displaced women artists into two stages:
Interviews with displaced women artists to discuss the role of memorabilia within their art practice and personal life.
Meeting as a group to discuss shared histories and collaborate on a practice-based exhibition that reflects these discussions.

My theoretical framework embraces Hall (1993) and Said (1993) who focus on personal, cultural and political issues of displacement and otherness. Lloyd (1999) and Hirsch (1997) concentrate on aspects of memory as traces or fragments of the past. Most importantly anthropologists Schneider and Weiner explore how cloth informs social and political life. Maharaj (2001) and Barnett (1997) have located cultural and material memory through their analysis of textiles in visual art.





Work: Visual Politics

In Joanna Choukeir on June 10, 2009 at 9:05 am

Visual Politics started in 2007 as Joanna Choukeir’s Master of Arts thesis and project at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, and is now published by Naji Zahar on ////o/, an online resource documenting writings, artworks and projects on Lebanon. Visual Politics can be visited here.


Visual politics is a project addressed to scholars and professionals in the fields of visual communication, visual sociology, and social and political science. It is composed of 2 volumes:

Volume 1: A thesis presenting a transferable methodology for analysing contemporary socio-political graphics in a specific society, over a specific period of time.


Volume 2: An archive documenting the collection of graphics used in the case study for the development of the methodology in Volume 1. This collection corresponds to socio-political graphics produced in Lebanon between January 2005 and September 2007. The archive can be browsed using three analytical tools: Display, Search and Mapping. Every tool is supported by clear user guidance instructions.





Volumes 1 and 2 go hand-in hand. Volume 1 presents the guidelines necessary for extracting information from the archive in Volume 2, and Volume 2 exemplifies the guidelines proposed in Volume 1. A call for submissions of visuals will be relaunched on the 17th of July, to build upon the collection in Volume 2 and create an ongoing open archive of Lebanese socio-political graphics.

Visual Politics is the first initiative to document contemporary socio-political graphics in Lebanon, in real time. This is very essential in a country such as Lebanon, where individuals do not need to be politicians or sociologists to have a socio-political statement, and do not need to be designers to produce visuals about these statements. This is the notion of personal politics. It highly influences the visual communications of designers, non-designers, politicians and sociologists, who in turn use the visual work to influence the personal politics of their receptive audiences. What Visual Politics does is, on one hand, document this ongoing visual conversation, and on the other hand, offer an interactive platform of tools that help researchers understand the value and impact of graphics as a medium through which social and political life occurs. In a wider context, Visual Politics proposes a transferable analytical methodology that can be adapted and adopted for archives of socio-political graphics from different societies.