chapter  6
16 Pages

Art works

A relational rather than representational understanding of art and buildings 1
WithGraham Harvey

This chapter outlines one root of the problem faced when we try to think about the lives of things. It is concerned with the continuing impact of an historical European crisis on what have become taken-for-granted modern assumptions about things and behaviours towards things. The chapter introduces several examples of alternatives to the modernist marginalisation of matter that impedes understanding of indigenous and popular relationships with "things". Firstly, reconsideration of "fetishes" contests the overemphasis on the artefactuality or made-ness of things. Then, negotiation over requests for the repatriation of Zuni masks challenges the normative stress placed on authenticity and uniqueness. Finally, the animacy of stones in Anishinaabe grammar encourages a rethinking of the themes of projection and anthropomorphism in interpretations of indigenous knowledges. The chapter aims to strengthen the trajectory of the relational turn in multi- and interdisciplinary studies that recognises interactions with matter as relations or interactions.