206 Chapters
Medium 9780253007414

CODA: Apprentices and Entrepreneurs Revisited: Twenty Years of Workshop Changes, 1987–2007

Edited by Sidney Littlefield Kasfir and Indiana University Press ePub

Sidney Littlefield Kasfir

The original version of chapter 14 was prepared for a graduate seminar taught by John Picton at the School of Oriental and African Studies. It was further developed several years later for “The Artist and the Workshop in Traditional Africa,” a conference organized by Christopher Roy in 1985, and appeared in the 1987 The Artist and the Workshop in Traditional Africa as “Apprentices and Entrepreneurs: The Workshop and Style Uniformity in Subsaharan Africa.” It included comparisons of training and innovation among Akweya, Idoma, Ebira, Tiv, Kalabari, Dogon, Dan, Gola, Kulibele-Senufo, Maconde or Makonde, Yoruba, and Annang or Ibibio sculptors. The first five were chosen as examples of woodcarvers who learned their techniques and styles informally, without serving as apprentices to master carvers. The last seven went through apprenticeship systems of various kinds and were therefore trained by experienced members of their profession; some of these artists went on to set up their own individual practices, others were expected to join the kin- or ethnicity-based workshops or cooperatives where they apprenticed.

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Medium 9780253349118

8. Shopping along the Vishvanath Gali

Pravina Shukla Indiana University Press ePub

READYMADE CLOTHING, including salwar suits, is sold in the garment district on Dashaswamedh Road, while saris are available in shops south of Godaulia along Madanpura Road. Silver and gold ornaments can be purchased from small shops in Chauk and Godaulia or from one of the big Kanhaiya Lal stores. The last need women have in the creation of their body art consists of daily items such as toiletries, nail polish, henna and hair products, bindis, sindur, bangles, and “artificial jewelry.”

Women buy these everyday essentials with frequency, for personal pleasure and with little concern for cost, since they are inexpensive and ephemeral; they will be used immediately and not kept for posterity. As women browse through the markets, their choices are spontaneous and casually considered, being inspired by whim or late-breaking fashion. They plan little in advance and do not seek the advice of their husbands or girlfriends, as they do when purchasing expensive jewelry or saris. Shopping for bindis, bangles, and imitation jewelry, women are on their own. They engage directly with the salesmen, listening closely as the merchants provide no end of expert guidance.

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Medium 9780253353801

20 Brunswick = Fluxus

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Aaron Jaffe

The image of man is always intrinsically chronotopic.
Bakhtin

This chapter considers the cultural meaning of “wood” in The Big Lebowski.

There are unusual quantities of wood in the film: paneling, floors, bowling alley lanes, furniture, numerous props, and so on. From the opening sequence of exquisitely shot bowling balls casting down wooden runways to the final encounter between the Dude and the Stranger bellied up to the wooden bowling alley bar, Lebowski makes the uncanny “cultural power of wood” conspicuous, as Harvey Green puts it in his book on this subject (xxii).

In Coen films—and in Lebowski especially—design takes on a degree of agency that moves its significance from the background into the foreground. The role of wood, in particular, underscores a decisive concern in the plot and a cultural innovation the film makes concerning it: the role of genealogy—as in the genealogical tree. The Lebowski family tree (Jeffrey, Bunny, the Dude, Maude, the little Lebowski on the way) is decidedly not arborescent in the sense Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari criticize in A Thousand Plateaus, because it’s hardly unidirectional, patrilinear, patrimonial, or branching ever vertically. Nor is it rhizomatic, the more famous alternative the pair propose to designate the non-hierarchical, heterogeneous, and horizontal. The Lebowski family wood might be more adequately described as lumberescent—cultural wood that functions no longer as a signifier of vertical or horizontal growth but as a plasticized gift and plaything of design.

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Medium 9780253005984

3 Z’chor! Roman Vishniac’s Photo-Eulogy of Eastern European Jews

Carol Zemel Indiana University Press ePub

If Bruno Schulz and his images constitute a variety of diasporic tensions, Roman Vishniac and his pictures deliver a diasporic eulogy. Vishniac’s photographs of Eastern European Jews were taken in the mid to late 1930s and published several times in book form: as Polish Jews (1947), A Vanished World (1983) (figure 3.1), and To Give Them Light (1992). Framed by Vishniac’s camera, the images give pictorial form to a society almost destroyed in the Holocaust; for Jews and non-Jews, they have become tokens of memory, emblems of a culture once thriving, now gone. The photographs have been widely acclaimed both in their published forms and in exhibitions. Jewish audiences in particular embrace them as memorial, and cued by A Vanished World’s title, claim nostalgic connection to the society pictured here. But the photographs are also valued as historical markers, and their combination of portrait and documentary picturing heightens their status as social evidence and archive. At the same time, even as documentary, the pictures bear a stylistic signature. The high-contrast lighting, the dark spaces and illuminated details, the dramatically framed compositions that offer special, privileged views of the past, the faces seen in stark and close-up intimacy: these features are hallmarks of Roman Vishniac’s photographic style and seal the pictures’ status as works of art.1

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Medium 9780253013873

7 Zombie Performance

Edward P Comentale Indiana University Press ePub

Come and get it! It’s a running buffet! All you can eat!

Shaun, Shaun of the Dead

The zombie consumes us. It occupies our minds, books, screens, and streets; devours and squanders our flesh and bodies; infects us with disease; and overwhelms our very social order. And yet we chase after zombies. In recent years we have facilitated their rise as a veritable cultural phenomenon, compelling them into our movie-theater screens in greater and faster-moving hordes than ever before, into our homes with shows like The Walking Dead, and onto our college campuses with Humans vs. Zombies, a live-action game of survival. Even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have launched a zombie preparedness campaign, encouraging people to equip themselves against a whole range of catastrophes. The zombie apocalypse, it appears, offers itself as a natural disaster par excellence.

But we humans do not simply want to destroy and survive the zombies; we actually want to be them. In walks and runs across the country, people regularly adorn themselves in fake blood, gaping wounds, and tattered clothing to perform zombie “undeath” in our very streets. The zombie survival guides in our bookstores now find themselves in the company of titles such as So Now You’re a Zombie: A Handbook for the Newly Undead (Austin); Zombies for Zombies: Advice and Etiquette for the Living Dead (Murphy); and How to Speak Zombie: A Guide for the Living (Mockus and Millard). For every piece of information on how to combat zombies, there is now parallel advice on how to enact zombie existence.

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