Contested Grounds: Fieldwork Collaborations with Artists in Corrientes, Argentina

By Schneider, Arnd | Critical Arts, October 2013 | Go to article overview

Contested Grounds: Fieldwork Collaborations with Artists in Corrientes, Argentina


Schneider, Arnd, Critical Arts


Abstract

This article represents an exercise in dialogical anthropology, based on a collaboration with contemporary visual artists in a specific fieldwork locale in Argentina. The deeper epistemic interest is in exploring contemporary 'speaking terms' (which James Clifford [1988] originally found characteristic of art-anthropology encounters in France in the 1920s and 1930s). The specific project under review involved a collaboration with contemporary visual artists from Corrientes, Northeast Argentina, and the making of a series of hybrid 'works' between art and anthropology. This included material participation in (rather than 'observation of') the performance of the procession of the patron saint of a nearby village, Santa Ana, i.e., making a new dress for the saint's statue, producing a video, and field notes. The appropriation of and material intervention into a setting of popular religiosity raise questions about the epistemological status of art and anthropology collaborations as hybrid knowledge productions, where participants contest each others' disciplinary assumptions. Extending on work by Nicolas Bourriaud, Grant Kester and Trinh T. Minh-Ha, this author concludes that it is precisely from such an uneven hermeneutic field and the recognition of dialogical difference that productive collaborations can develop.

Keywords: anthropology, Argentina, art, collaborations, dialogue, fieldwork, hermeneutics

Introduction

This article represents an exercise in dialogical anthropology, based on a collaboration with contemporary visual artists in a specific fieldwork locale in Argentina. My deeper, epistemic interest in this exercise is in exploring those 'speaking terms' which James Clifford (1988: 126) found characteristic of artanthropology encounters in France in the 1920s and 1930s, epitomised by the interdisciplinary, surrealist journal Documents. (2) Evidently, Clifford was writing about a historically contingent phenomenon, but I consider 'speaking terms' useful to think with and through art-anthropology encounters in the present. Since the early 1990s, a number of writers and initiatives (3) have tried to gauge and critically assess the potentials of contemporary (visual) art--anthropology collaborations. 'Dialogue', of course, has been a much-discussed term in anthropology's hermeneutic tradition (see Crapanzano 2004; Maranhao 1990; Maranhao and Streck 2003; Tedlock 1983; Tedlock and Mannheim 1995), and despite different emphases it is clear that it can never just mean a level positioning of partners, collaborators or actors, but has to account for difference. It is in this sense, then, that I use an expanded notion of 'uneven hermeneutics' or an 'uneven hermeneutic feld' throughout the article when exploring the critical implications and the potential of dialogical art--anthropology collaborations (4) which employ the seemingly 'open' ethnographic fieldwork situation as their locale. Moreover, the specific art--anthropology collaborations I engaged in are also set in what characterises many fieldwork situations outside so-called 'First World' countries, implying unequal relations of real differences in economic power, as well as differential access to educational and other symbolic capital (such as the hegemonic First-World education system, and the equally hierarchically structured international art world). Practised by somebody (myself) who was educated and is based at metropolitan First-World institutions, this kind of anthropology is, inevitably, an admittedly hegemonic practice. At the same time there is, of course, as in other Latin American countries, a specific Argentine anthropological research tradition which has to be accounted for (itself marked by the complex challenges of doing research and fieldwork throughout the country's troubled economic and political history) (Guber 2002).

Background and setting

The material for this article comes from my own fieldwork collaboration with contemporary artists in Corrientes, Northeast Argentina, over the course of two summers in 2005 and 2006. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Contested Grounds: Fieldwork Collaborations with Artists in Corrientes, Argentina
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.