Monday 20 May 2019
Professor Amanda Ravetz
Spitting on clay: liveness and how we forget it
In the tale of Gilgamesh, the Goddess Aruru "takes some clay, moistens it with her spit, and forms another man, named Enkidu."
In a local primary school a four-year-old boy spits into his hand making sure the teacher cannot see him, examines it then instigates a gaze between himself and the researcher, wiping his fingers on his trousers.
In a photography workshop, a small group of women in recovery write the worst things they've ever been called on one another's skin before replacing these insults with words of recovery.
In the Australian War Memorial, a pullover made of long johns and fabric scraps by a WW2 prisoner of war lies stretched out on tissue paper.
Running through my research is a preoccupation with growth, transformation, loss and decay, all understood as intimations of liveness. Liveness appears in broken places, flees from psychological and physical pain, gathers in unexpected interstices and dissembles under standardized metrics. To commit to liveness in research is to refuse to construct objects of study, in favour of research 'events', the success of which rely less on agreement than on actively shared intense matters of concern. 'Those you address' says Isabelle Stengers (2011) 'must be empowered to evaluate the relevance of your interest, to agree or refuse to answer, and even to spit in your human, too human, face.'
This talk looks at the fugitive appearance of liveness during research with recoverists, primary school children, and small arts organisations wanting to institute new forms of infrastructural critique. It asks: how do we recognise liveness? What does it demand of researchers in Arts and Humanities? Why do we forget liveness? Can research do without it?
Amanda Ravetz is a member of the Department of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University. She has an MA and a PhD in social anthropology (with visual media) and a BA in painting. Her interests lie in poetic methodologies, artistic and practice-led research, and situated ways of knowing, explored over the last few years with artists, small arts organizations, recovery activists and school children. Recent publications include ‘The ethnographic turn - and after: a critical approach to the re-alignment of art and anthropology' (with Anna Grimshaw) in Social Anthropology, 23 (4), 2015; the films Wonderland: the art of becoming human 2016, and My Recoverist Family, (co-directed with Huw Wahl and commissioned by Portraits of Recovery) 2017; 'Black Gold: trustworthiness in artistic research (seen from the sidelines of arts and health)' in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 3-4(43) 2018; and 'On Reverie, Collaboration and Recovery', in Collaborative Anthropologies, Volume 10, Numbers 1–2, Fall–Spring 2017–18
Amanda Ravetz will be introduced by Professor Malcolm Press. Professor Malcom Press was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015, having previously held positions at the Universities of Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester and UCL. Malcolm is an ecologist with over 200 publications covering the impacts of climate and environmental change, tropical rain forest ecology, and subsistence farming in sub-Saharan Africa. He has studied plants and environments in a diverse range of ecosystems from the tropics to the high Arctic.
Professor Tim Ingold will be the respondent to this lecture. Tim Ingold is Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen, and a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Following 25 years at the University of Manchester, Ingold moved in 1999 to Aberdeen, where he established the UK’s newest Department of Anthropology. In his recent work, Ingold has explored the links between environmental perception and skilled practice, focusing on questions of movement, knowledge and description. His current research is situated at the interface between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture. He is the author of The Perception of the Environment (2000), Lines (2007), Being Alive (2011), Making (2013) The Life of Lines (2015), Anthropology and/as Education (2017) and Anthropology: Why it Matters (2018).
Tickets Free – available on Eventbrite
This event will begin with a wine reception from 5.30pm – 6pm and the lecture will start at 6pm.