chapter  2
The archaeology of art
Practice, intra-action and affect
ByAndrew Meirion Jones
Pages 12

This chapter introduces various scholars who have studied art: art historians, anthropologists, philosophers. It considers the basis for an 'archaeology of art' must begin with the analysis of materials, rather than an overarching reliance on written or oral accounts. A. Gell argues that art acts as a kind of 'technology of enchantment': artworks are indexes of human agency and ingenuity, 'a congealed residue of performance and agency in object-form'. Gell was concerned to examine agency as a set of transactions viewing artworks as components of networks. The chapter discusses how certain kinds of practices of intra-action produce affects. It focuses on the engagement between people and materials, and the affects produced from that interaction. Practical engagement and interaction with materials in modern and contemporary art radically changed after the introduction of M. Duchamp's readymade, and with a conscious unlearning or deskilling of traditional art practice.