7,877 research outputs found

    Complicated objects: artifacts from the Yuanming Yuan in Victorian Britain

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    The 1860 spoliation of the Summer Palace at the close of the Second Opium War by British and French troops was a watershed event within the development of Britain as an imperialist nation, which guaranteed a market for opium produced in its colony India and demonstrated the power of its armed forces. The distribution of the spoils to officers and diplomatic corps by campaign leaders in Beijing was also a sign of the British Army’s rising power as an instrument of the imperialist state. These conditions would suggest that objects looted from the site would be integrated into an imperialist aesthetic that reflected and promoted the material benefits of military engagement overseas and foregrounded the circumstances of their removal to Britain for campaign members and the British public. This study mines sources dating to the two decades following the war – including British newspapers, auction house records, exhibition catalogs and works of art – to test this hypothesis. Findings show that initial movements of looted objects through the military and diplomatic corps did reinforce notions of imperialist power by enabling campaign members to profit from the spoliation through sales of looted objects and trophy displays. However, material from the Summer Palace arrived at a moment when British manufacturers and cultural leaders were engaged in a national effort to improve the quality of British goods to compete in the international marketplace and looted art was quickly interpolated in this national conversation. Ironically, the same “free trade” imperatives that motivated the invasion energized a new design movement that embraced Chinese ornament. As a consequence, political interpretations of the material outside of military collections were quickly joined by a strong response to Chinese ornament from cultural institutions and design leaders. Art from the Summer Palace held a prominent place at industrial art exhibitions of the postwar period and inspired new designs in a number of mediums. While the availability of Chinese imperial art was the consequence of a military invasion and therefore a product of imperialist expansion, evidence presented here shows that the design response to looted objects was not circumscribed by this political reality. Chinese ornament on imperial wares was ultimately celebrated for its formal qualities and acknowledged links to the Summer Palace were an indicator of good design, not a celebration of victory over a failed Chinese state. Therefore, the looting of the Summer Palace was ultimately an essential factor in the development of modern design, the essence of which is a break with Classical ornament

    On Curation: A Hermeneutical Approach

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    Starting point of this paper is the philosophical field of hermeneutics. Hermeneutics was established to account for different conditions of understanding and how they shape our interpretative processes. As different times constitute different conditions, the goal of the discipline essentially is to bridge the temporal gap between the creation of a work and its perception at a given point in time. Whereas traditionally, understanding was a matter of analyzing the historical tradition of author/artist and reader/viewer, nowadays, the perception and interpretation of art is shaped by another instance, the curator. Under the premise that selection and arrangement, i.e. curating, cannot be neutral, the author analyzes different contexts in which curating takes place and how different contexts account for different effects on our perception of art. After outlining the development of the curatorial practice—from institutional to independent curation—, a case study of Swiss curator Harald Szeemann serves as opportunity to examine specific phenomena and exhibitions in a detailed manner. A cultural and methodological cesura is proposed after which curators were able to execute the power and influence they have today: independent curation and the ahistorical exhibition. Ahistorical exhibitions disregard chronological display and enable curators to create individual narratives and themes by gathering artworks in a cross-temporal and geographical manner. Throughout the paper, it is assessed if and to what degree the application of hermeneutics onto the field of independent curation is fruitful. This theoretical analysis is followed by a market overview, in which various functions the curator fulfills in different institutions, e.g. museums, galleries, auction houses, are outlined and compared. Optimally, the consideration of cultural and commercial factors enables viewers to approach and see (curated) art in a differentiated way

    CITIES: Energetic Efficiency, Sustainability; Infrastructures, Energy and the Environment; Mobility and IoT; Governance and Citizenship

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    This book collects important contributions on smart cities. This book was created in collaboration with the ICSC-CITIES2020, held in San José (Costa Rica) in 2020. This book collects articles on: energetic efficiency and sustainability; infrastructures, energy and the environment; mobility and IoT; governance and citizenship

    Small Spirits

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    Mary Jane Lenz’s insightful, authoritative text discusses the intriguing roles dolls have played in Native American cultures and explores their significance today, while historical photographs bring to life the people who made and used these remarkable creations. Featuring a superb selection from the museum’s collections, Lenz’s landmark book will appeal to scholar, collector, and general reader alike

    Selected Papers from the 6th FĂĄbos Conference on Landscape and Greenway Planning

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    This book contains five research articles and one review article derived from the 6th Fabos Conference on Greenway Planning held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in April of 2019. Specific topics covered include greenway planning and analysis for urban morphology, typology, climate change impact and recreational and health usage, in addition to historic greenway restoration. All the articles illustrate multidisciplinary approaches for analyzing urban greenway functions within expanding and contracting cities

    Ludotopia

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    Where do computer games »happen«? The articles collected in this pioneering volume explore the categories of »space«, »place« and »territory« featuring in most general theories of space to lay the groundwork for the study of spatiality in games. Shifting the focus away from earlier debates on, e.g., the narrative nature of games, this collection proposes, instead, that thorough attention be given to the tension between experienced spaces and narrated places as well as to the mapping of both of these

    Supernatural crossing in Republican Chinese fiction, 1920s–1940s

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    This dissertation studies supernatural narratives in Chinese fiction from the mid-1920s to the 1940s. The literary works present phenomena or elements that are or appear to be supernatural, many of which remain marginal or overlooked in Sinophone and Anglophone academia. These sources are situated in the May Fourth/New Culture ideological context, where supernatural narratives had to make way for the progressive intellectuals’ literary realism and their allegorical application of supernatural motifs. In the face of realism, supernatural narratives paled, dismissed as impractical fantasies that distract one from facing and tackling real life. Nevertheless, I argue that the supernatural narratives do not probe into another mystical dimension that might co-exist alongside the empirical world. Rather, they imagine various cases of the characters’ crossing to voice their discontent with contemporary society or to reflect on the notion of reality. “Crossing” relates to characters’ acts or processes of trespassing the boundary that separates the supernatural from the conventional natural world, thus entailing encounters and interaction between the natural and the supernatural. The dissertation examines how crossing, as a narrative device, disturbs accustomed and mundane situations, releases hidden tensions, and discloses repressed truths in Republican fiction. There are five types of crossing in the supernatural narratives. Type 1 is the crossing into “haunted” houses. This includes (intangible) human agency crossing into domestic spaces and revealing secrets and truths concealed by the scary, feigned ‘haunting’, thus exposing the hidden evil and the other house occupiers’ silenced, suffocated state. Type 2 is men crossing into female ghosts’ apparitional residences. The female ghosts allude to heart-breaking, traumatic experiences in socio-historical reality, evoking sympathetic concern for suffering individuals who are caught in social upheavals. Type 3 is the crossing from reality into the characters’ delusional/hallucinatory realities. While they physically remain in the empirical world, the characters’ abnormal perceptions lead them to exclusive, delirious, and quasi-supernatural experiences of reality. Their crossings blur the concrete boundaries between the real and the unreal on the mental level: their abnormal perceptions construct a significant, meaningful reality for them, which may be as real as the commonly regarded objective reality. Type 4 is the crossing into the netherworld modelled on the real world in the authors’ observation and bears a spectrum of satirised objects of the Republican society. The last type is immortal visitors crossing into the human world. This type satirises humanity’s vices and destructive potential. The primary sources demonstrate their writers’ witty passion to play with super--natural notions and imagery (such as ghosts, demons, and immortals) and stitch them into vivid, engaging scenes using techniques such as the gothic, the grotesque, and the satirical, in order to evoke sentiments such as terror, horror, disgust, dis--orientation, or awe, all in service of their insights into realist issues. The works also creatively tailor traditional Chinese modes and motifs, which exemplifies the revival of Republican interest in traditional cultural heritage. The supernatural narratives may amaze or disturb the reader at first, but what is more shocking, unpleasantly nudging, or thought-provoking is the problematic society and people’s lives that the supernatural (misunderstandings) eventually reveals. They present a more compre--hensive treatment of reality than Republican literature with its revolutionary consciousness surrounding class struggle. The critical perspectives of the supernatural narratives include domestic space, unacknowledged history and marginal individuals, abnormal mentality, and pervasive weaknesses in humanity. The crossing and supernatural narratives function as a means of better understanding the lived reality. This study gathers diverse primary sources written by Republican writers from various educational and political backgrounds and interprets them from a rare perspective, thus filling a research gap. It promotes a fuller view of supernatural narratives in twentieth-century Chinese literature. In terms of reflecting the social and personal reality of the Republican era, the supernatural narratives supplement the realist fiction of the time

    The Adirondack Chronology

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    The Adirondack Chronology is intended to be a useful resource for researchers and others interested in the Adirondacks and Adirondack history.https://digitalworks.union.edu/arlpublications/1000/thumbnail.jp
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