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Yann LeGall

Debates on the relevance of repatriation of indigenous human remains are water under the bridge today. Yet, a genuine will for dialogue to work through colonial violence is found lacking in the European public sphere. Looking at local remembrance of the Majimaji War (1905–7) in the south of Tanzania and a German–Tanzanian theatre production, it seems that the spectre of colonial headhunting stands at the heart of claims for repatriation and acknowledgement of this anti-colonial movement. The missing head of Ngoni leader Songea Mbano haunts the future of German–Tanzanian relations in heritage and culture. By staging the act of post-mortem dismemberment and foregrounding the perspective of descendants, the theatre production Maji Maji Flava offers an honest proposal for dealing with stories of sheer colonial violence in transnational memory.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Greer Vanderbyl
John Albanese
, and
Hugo F. V. Cardoso

The sourcing of cadavers for North American skeletal reference collections occurred immediately after death and targeted the poor and marginalised. In Europe, collections sourced bodies that were buried and unclaimed after some time in cemeteries with no perpetual care mandate, and may have also targeted the underprivileged. The relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and abandonment was examined in a sample of unclaimed remains (603 adults and 98 children) collected from cemeteries in the city of Lisbon, Portugal, that were incorporated in a collection. Results demonstrate that low SES individuals are not more likely to be abandoned nor to be incorporated in the collection than higher SES individuals. Furthermore, historical data indicate that the poorest were not incorporated into the collection, because of burial practices. Although the accumulation of collections in North America was facilitated by structural violence that targeted the poor and marginalised, this phenomenon seems largely absent in the Lisbon collection.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Abstract only
Tangible engagements in the making and ‘remaking’ of prehistoric rock art
Lara Bacelar Alves

This chapter investigates some of the steps that might have taken place before and after carving or painting a dot on to a rock surface, as images come into being, from the observation of features emanating from the landscape to the tasks of experiencing and interpreting rock art sites, in which both logic and intuition play a fundamental role. Primary focus is on the post-glacial art in the north-west corner of Iberia, a region that is particularly interesting for studying the relationship between imagery making, natural environment and socio-cultural contexts because it is a region where two major rock art traditions come together and may have overlapped, in time, in the fouthth and third to the beginning of the second millennia BCE. Inspired by the poetics of Kandinsky’s work, an effort is made to reinforce the idea that thinking about different ‘modes of becoming’ may help to establish wider connections to other spheres, times and spaces of human life.

in Images in the making
Upping the ontological ante of Alfred Gell’s anthropology of art through a focus on making
Benjamin Alberti

This chapter addresses the question of how to best explain anthropomorphic and zoomorphic forms in the La Candelaria ceramic pot corpus from first millennium CE north-west Argentina. It is argued that a formal analysis of the ceramics along the lines proposed by Alfred Gell in his analysis of Marquesan visual art has the potential to reveal underlying conceptual principles that motivated their production. The claim is further made that it is through a focus on the making of the ceramic forms that these conceptual worlds can be accessed through the ceramics. A preliminary analysis of the pots suggests a consistent concern with particular volumes and their transformation, as well as an emphasis on the point of contact where two volumes come together. Ultimately, ‘anthropomorphism’ can be understood as less a descriptive term and more a conceptual placeholder for the potential of the La Candelaria ceramics to reveal alternative worlds of bodies and pots.

in Images in the making
Tim Ingold
in Images in the making
Chantal Conneller
in Images in the making
Joana Valdez-Tullett

Cup-and-rings, cup-marks, penannulars and wavy lines are some of the main motifs of Atlantic Rock Art’s iconography. These symbols were extensively carved, during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages, in many regions across Western Europe, including Britain, Ireland, Portugal and Spain. The homogeneous morphology of the imagery was identified by a few authors in the 1950s, arguing for a common origin of the tradition, a suggestion never systematically assessed. This chapter discusses the results of a research project intended to investigate the unity of Atlantic Rock Art in western Europe, through a multi-scalar and interdisciplinary methodology. It provided an interesting insight into the making process and Atlantic Art’s chaîne operatoire. The study demonstrated that there are many ways of achieving a similar visual result and that many of these techniques and other particularities of the designs are present simultaneously in distant regions. Furthermore, it argued that only a process of intentional teaching could explain the wide distribution of the carvings. The rock art of the regions of the Machars Peninsula (Scotland) and Iveragh Peninsula (Co. Kerry, Ireland) was studied in depth. Their similarities and differences demonstrated that they maintained a strong connection with each other, but also regional personalities.

in Images in the making
Abstract only
Ian Dawson

RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging) is a synthetic imaging process often used by archaeologists to reveal the hidden stratigraphy within artefacts. This chapter explores the process of RTI as part of a contemporary art practice. The author describes how the technique was manipulated and distorted to generate complex narratives of sequencing and duration. The process of creating these ‘dirty’ RTIs is discussed alongside the exploration of earlier vision technologies such as metric photography.

in Images in the making
Scandinavian Late Iron Age gold foil figures through the lens of intra-action
Ing-Marie Back Danielsson

This chapter discusses minuscule gold foil figures from the Scandinavian Late Iron Age and demonstrates how the figures are continuously in the making, rather than being still representations of gods. In the past, the figures’ affectual qualities, such as their small size, their shininess and their human-like and foldable character, invited play and experimentation, stressing the figures’ ongoing-ness. Equally, their capacities to be simultaneously image, object and component allowed them to be reconfigured into new arrangements, stressing their fractal, emerging and open-ended character. By contrast, in the present, they become ‘victims’ of representationalist thought, through the framing and boundary making practices set up by for instance museums, keeping the figures in complete motionlessness. Instead, it is only through the help of different apparatuses (digital photography, copying etc.), that they become generative and are in the making in the present, stressing that we today to a greater extent deal with gold foil figures’ hauntology, rather than their ontology.

in Images in the making
The carved stone balls of Northeast Scotland
Andrew Meirion Jones

This chapter discusses the carved stone balls of Neolithic Scotland. An analysis of the making of carved stone balls using digital imaging methods is presented. This analysis provides a platform for the reassessment of Plato’s well-known approach to art, in which images are considered to be illusory representations. A reflection on carved stone balls as forms generated in-the-making enables us to reconsider the relationship between form and image proposed by Plato. Rather than thinking of form as a ready-made template into which matter is inserted (the Platonic view), we can instead envisage that matter and form are coextensive, and the form and matter take shape through practices of working and engagement.

in Images in the making