Response papers for Week 3
Discussion questions, points
- This week we are looking at rocks, rock carving, interactions with the geological world, image-making in prehistoric societies, especially as (they relate to) bodily practices and ritual/shamanistic performances. We are alos going to be exploring questions of the representation of the body, concepts of human-animal hybridity, animism, animated landscapes and representation. What is the act of carving a rock? What are the ways through which we can understand these creative acts of the body, its accumulation of skillful knowledge to do so? Why did people represent human and animal bodies, hunts, hybrid beings, abstract signs on rocks? What is the relationship between bodies and their practices which can be perhaps understood as performance?
- What is iconography? What is Tilley's criticism of iconographic and traditional art historical approaches to rock art? What does his proposal of kinaesthetic approach to rock art entail? What may be missing in his analytical approach? An interesting example that one can use to discuss all these issues is e.g. a "mask" that is worn during a masked performance. If we consider a mask, a skilfully made object that transforms and animates the body of the wearer (also considering Gell's fear-inducing shield paradigm), I think it might be very fruitful to discuss it in relation to the imagery of rock art of various types.
- What is the role and definition of "knowledge" or "indigenous knowledge" in Turnbull and Lewis-Williams's analysis of construction of places/acts of imagemaking?
- Discussing the animal-human hybridities in the pre-pottery Neolithic, Miracle and Boric question the idea that human-animal divide as a post-Cartesian, modern phenomenon (109). They raise the question whether pre-modern cultures may also have constructed specific ontologies of the body (such as emphasizing animal-human divide, etc.). Interesting issue to discuss.