VIA – Visualisation in Archaeology

During WAC I was lucky enough to meet Sara Perry, a fellow PhD candidate who is also interested in photography and media/self representations of archaeology (among many other things).  She let me know about this conference in Southampton in October, Visualisation in Archaeology:

From the webpage:

Images are intimately linked to the theory and practice of archaeology. The epistemological nature of their deployment within the profession has typically revolved around the supportive means of effectively picturing, ordering and understanding the complexity of archaeological data. More recently, researchers have reflected upon the process of image production and the problematic relationship between images and knowledge creation.

Visualisation in Archaeology has been established in order to provide a ‘space’ in which high quality research can be undertaken around interrelated themes centred on visual communication in archaeology. To this end the project team comprises a robust cross-section of specialists drawn from different fields of study to critically explore the production, the form and the organisational power of images in archaeology and to re-think the boundaries of that exploration.

I submitted this abstract, while still at Çatalhöyük over the summer:

Anna’s Shoulders: Visualization and Ekphrasic Narrative at Çatalhöyük, 1961-2008

Visually documented for almost fifty years, Çatalhöyük has become lacquered by multiple layers of archaeological interpretive gaze.  The images taken at Çatalhöyük provide an excellent test case to further a visual methodology for investigating scopic regimes within major theoretical and technological shifts in archaeology.  Using a method of visual content analysis developed by Kress and Van Leeuwen (1996), I hope to illustrate these shifts as well as provide a more rigorous methodology for site photography.  Additionally, I will discuss visual narrative building in the practice of interpretation and a possible way to illustrate this iterative and highly contextual process.

Kress, G. and T. Van Leeuwen
1996    Reading Images: The Grammar of Visual Design. Routledge, London.

The reference to “Anna” above is to Anna Karenina–a character who has been the object of men’s gaze until her shoulders were lacquered with their many layers of desire.  I spoke about performative, extemporaneous, archaeological narrative with a new professor in Performance Studies and New Media last night, and she had some really interesting suggestions for readings but also possible media projects that she would be interested in pursuing with me.  I still need to hammer together a lot of my video from this summer, but we’ll see.

Author: colleenmorgan

Dr. Colleen Morgan (ORCID 0000-0001-6907-5535) is the Lecturer in Digital Archaeology and Heritage in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York. She conducts research on digital media and archaeology, with a special focus on embodiment, avatars, genetics and bioarchaeology. She is interested in building archaeological narratives with emerging technology, including photography, video, mobile and locative devices. Through archaeological making she explores past lifeways and our current understanding of heritage, especially regarding issues of authority, authenticity, and identity.

2 thoughts on “VIA – Visualisation in Archaeology”

  1. “a character who has been the object of men’s gaze until her shoulders were lacquered with their many layers of desire”

    I am sorry, I too old school to understand what that sentence means.

    I understand the lacquer-analogy in the archaeological case; people are taught to see specific things, and the preconceptions that they inherit from their teachers and transform through their own experiences are passed on to the next generation of researchers (Berger & Luckmann, 1967) and form a no longer perceptive layer of distortion in the visual acquisition process.

    Like lacquer, sociologists and historians of science can identify these layers of distortion and peel them off in layer like fashions, revealing some of the conceptual preformations. (They possible in doing so “lay down some new ones, that would require a separate discussion.)

    But what’s the analog in Anna Karenina. Are the ways that the first men see her influencing the ways the other men see her? That seems difficult to show and an apparent pre-requisite for the lacquer metaphor.

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