The Event of Archaeology: Manufacturing Histories & Extraction

This event is the first in a series of lectures, workshops and screenings titled ‘The Event of Archaeology’ taking place at the School of Architecture, Royal College of Art, organised by Dr Ines Weizman and research students of the MPhil/ PhD Programme.

Location: RCA, Kensington Campus, DAR 120, Darwin Building (Jay Mews Entrance)
8 February 2024
10:00am – 5:00pm
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Event Programme:

Ines Weizman
Royal College of Art

10:15 -11:00am
Frederika Tevebring
King’s College London
Prehistoric Matriarchies and Utopian Futures

The early twentieth century saw an increased fascination with the irrational, “primitive”, symbolic and mythical. During this same period, archaeologists began in earnest to explore humanity’s earliest art. Discoveries such as the Paleolithic so-called “Venuses” seemed to testify to a heritage that was radically different, both in its aesthetics, and possibly in its social organization, from the periods that had stood in the center of historical research in the preceding century. Prehistory developed into a malleable complex that was held up to lend legitimacy to both radical and reactionary politics.

This talk will discuss how artists, scholars and political thinkers looked to theories of prehistoric matriarchies as inspiration for rethinking community. Using Jacquetta Hawkes’s archaeological display at the 1951 Festival of Britain as my example, I will begin by discussing the origins of matriarchal theories and how they became linked to modernist art and radical politics. In the talk’s second half, I turn to the resurgence in interest in matriarchies and archaeology among contemporary artists. I discuss how artists today are adopting the practices and rhetoric of archaeology to critically examine (often racialized and/or gendered) claims of “what has always been” and to imagine new ways of organizing society. Frederika Tevebring is an intellectual historian working across queer & gender studies, the history of sexuality, and the history of archaeology and museums. Her work investigates how the ancient past has been reconstructed in literature, museums, and scholarship since the 19th century and is particularly interested in figures and tropes described as obscene or primitive that have challenged idealised notions of antiquity. She is currently a British Academy postdoctoral fellow in the department of classics, King’s College London.

Nelson Crespo
Royal College of Art

The future of making: a journey through digital visualisation & manufacturing in arts and cultural heritage.
Nelson Crespo is Computing & Technology Coordinator Royal College of Art. Nelson is a tech-driven creative enabler, whose work in tech encompasses a broad spectrum, including coding, intelligent digital manufacturing, visualisation, VR, AR, creative coding, Generative AI, Machine Learning, and Robotics. Between 2005 and 2012 he was a Collection Care Specialist at the Tate Gallery where he first became intrigued by the concept of facsimiles. In 2017 he worked with Factum Arte in Madrid, a technologically-driven artistic production studio, where he gained insight into scanning and fabrication methodologies applied to cultural heritage and archaeological sites and artefacts. More recently Nelson’s research interests have taken him to explore mixed reality making technologies and how holographic making
can aid art and craft practitioners bridge the gap between the analogue and digital fabrication processes.

Colleen Morgan
University of York
Digital archaeology and heritage (tbc)

Colleen Morgan is a Senior Lecturer of Digital Archaeology and Heritage at the University of York. She is the Director of the Digital Archaeology and Heritage Lab, the MSc in Digital Archaeology and the MSc in Digital Heritage. Her research follows bringing digital archaeology into conversation with current theory from feminist, queer, posthuman and anarchist approaches, developing multisensorial interventions and digital embodiment through avatars of ancient people, and use of tools and theory in analogue and digital methods within archaeology. Morgan published, ‘Avatars, Monsters, and Machines: A Cyborg Archaeology’, looking at the creative potential in the practice of a cyborg archaeology, which draws from feminist posthumanism to transgress existing constructions of people through history and today.

12:15-13:30 Discussion

13:30-14:30 Break

Marisa Müsing
Royal College of Art
From Frescoes to Cyperfeminism

Marisa Müsing is a PhD student at the School of Architecture and a transdisciplinary artist & designer from Tkaronto, Canada. She has a background in architecture, having received her Masters of Art in Architecture from the Royal College of Art. Constantly driven by the process of fabrication and making, her work ranges from architecture, furniture design, 3D animations, fashion, painting and sculpture. Marisa has lectured and taught at Parsons School of Design, Harvard GSD, Rhode Island School
of Design and ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.

15:00-15:30 Discussion

Tiago Patatas
Royal College of Art
Violent Extractivism
Tiago Patatas is a PhD student at the School of Architecture and spatial practitioner, whose work investigates forms of environmental violence and its articulation with spatial politics. His recent practice interrogates modalities of green extractivism, in particular the eruption of lithium mining frontiers, and nuclear imperialism, including instances of nuclearization and their destructive global expanses. Formats of his practice include installations, digital platforms and evidence for legal cases. Individual and collaborative projects have been presented internationally, including at the Nieuwe Instituut, Helsinki Biennial, Cornell AAP, Galeria Municipal do Porto, and Porto Design Biennale. Tiago has taught at Lusófona University and University of Porto and holds a MA in Research Architecture with distinction from Goldsmiths, University of London.

16:30-17:00 Discussion
Break and bus transfer to Battersea Campus for Manufacturing Histories – Max de Esteban

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