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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
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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
Art, process, archaeology

This book presents a study of material images and asks how an appreciation of the making and unfolding of images and art alters archaeological accounts of prehistoric and historic societies. With contributions focusing on case studies including prehistoric Britain, Scandinavia, Iberia, the Americas and Dynastic Egypt, and including contemporary reflections on material images, it makes a novel contribution to ongoing debates relating to archaeological art and images. The book offers a New Materialist analysis of archaeological imagery, with an emphasis on considering the material character of images and their making and unfolding. The book reassesses the predominantly representational paradigm of archaeological image analysis and argues for the importance of considering the ontology of images. It considers images as processes or events and introduces the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. The book is divided into three sections: ‘Emergent images’, which focuses on practices of making; ‘Images as process’, which examines the making and role of images in prehistoric societies; and ‘Unfolding images’, which focuses on how images change as they are made and circulated. The book features contributions from archaeologists, Egyptologists, anthropologists and artists. The contributors to the book highlight the multiple role of images in prehistoric and historic societies, demonstrating that archaeologists need to recognise the dynamic and changeable character of images.

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Ing-Marie Back Danielsson and Andrew Meirion Jones

In the book’s introductory chapter long-held assumptions concerning archaeological art and images are addressed and challenged, particularly representationalism, and new ways to approach and understand them are offered. Specifically, it is argued that art and images continuously emerge in processes of making and engagement, both in the past and in the present. Hence, art and images are always in motion, multiple and unfolding, and the Introduction thus stresses the importance of considering the ontology of images. The chapter introduces the verb ‘imaging’ to underline the point that images are conditions of possibility that draw together differing aspects of the world. It is also demonstrated that images, as ongoing events, encompass and realise affects, and the significance of experimental play in processes of making is equally underlined.

in Images in the making