Analysis of an object from the beginnings of civilization to the year 1800 CE
Some important details:
1)The objective of this paper is to consider different approaches to the study of art and design from the beginnings of civilization to the year 1800 CE. It asks you to critically analyze an object and consider it within its broader social, political and cultural context. Your paper will respond to one of the excerpts below using an object of your choice as the focus.
2)The object should be chosen from AGO or ROM museum that is currently on display(2 museums in Toronto)
3)The essay should include a clear and assertive thesis statement at the begining of the essay, and include a reproduction or rendering for your object along with complete information.
4)The excerpts are:
1. ?In a sense the indissoluble unity of graphic and linguistic marks is already there in the Greek word gramma, meaning picture, written letter, or piece of writing. In Greek graphein means to write, draw, or scratch, and so the word enlarges the association of picture with writing by bringing in engraving and opening the field to marks of all sorts: hard chisel marks, glyptic impressions in wax, the impressions of tokens on clay containers. And if we go deeper into the history of language, then gramma and graphein come in turn from the Indo-European root *gerebh?, which is the Western world?s most general lexeme for writing, drawing, scratching, and marking of all sorts. The Greek words and their putative Indo?European origin reflect a Near Eastern practice [defined by] a confluence of pictures, writing, notation, and sculpture that served economic purposes. (It is implicit in Denise Schmandt-Besserat?s explorations of ancient MiIDle Eastern clay tokens that the origins of numbers, pictures, and writing cannot be disentangled.) Those connections are the bare outlines of a broader notion of the image that was once the normal state of affairs, and now has been largely forgotten.? James Elkins, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998),p. 188.
2. ?When I look, what I see is not simply light but intelligible form: the rays of light are caught in?a network of meanings?For human beings collectively to orchestrate their visual experience together it is required that each submit his or her retinal experience to the socially agreed description(s) of an intelligible world?Between the subject and the world is inserted the entire sum of discourses which make up visuality, that cultural construct, and makes visuality different from vision, the notion of unmediated visual experience?when I learn to see socially, that is, when I begin to articulate my retinal experience with codes of recognition that come to me from my social milieu(s), I am inserted into systems of visual discourse that saw the world before I did, and will go on seeing after no longer see?It may?be that I always feel myself to live at the center of my vision?but?that vision is decentered by the network of signifiers that come to me from the social milieu.? Norman Bryson, ?The Gaze in the Expanded Field,? in Hal Foster, ed., Vision and Visuality (Seattle, WA: Bay View Press/Dia Art Foundation, 1988), pp. 91-94.
3. ?From a Eurocentric perspective, art history came to be constructed and construed as a universal empirical science, systematically discovering, classifying, analyzing, and interpreting specimens of what came thereby to be naturalized as a ?universal? human phenomenon. It was devoted to investigating the ?natural? artisanry or ?art? of all peoples, or rather of all those peoples and cultures invented by art historians?[From this perspective it was believed that] all specimens of art in this vast and unsurpassable archive sit as if they were delegates or ?representatives??that is, as representations?in a congress of imaginary equals, as the myriad of manifestations making up a ?Universal World History of Art.? ?There was no ?outside? to all of this: all alien objects were ranked as primitive, exotic, charming, or fascinating distortions of a central classical (European) canon or standard?? Donald Preziosi, ?Performing Modernity: The Art of Art History,? in Amelia Jones and Andrew Stephenson, eds., Performing the Body/Performing the Text (London: Routledge, 2005) pp. 27-28.
4. ?Left to its own devices, unlit by the spotlights of the story and before the first fitting session with the designers, the world is neither orderly nor chaotic, neither clean nor dirty. It is human design that conjures up disorder together with the vision of order, dirt together with the project of purity. The thought trims the image of the world first, so that the world itself can be trimmed right after. Once the image has been trimmed, the trimming of the world (the desire to trim it, the effort to trim it?though not necessarily the feat of the trimming accomplished) are a foregone conclusion. The world is manageable and demands to be managed, in as far as it has been remade to the measure of human comprehension. Francis Bacon?s injunction ?Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed? was not an intimation of humility and less a counsel of meekness. It was an act of defiance.?? Zygmunt Bauman, ?In the Beginning was Design or the Waste of Order-Building,? in Hazel Clark and David Brody, eds., Design Studies: A Reader (Oxford: Berg, 2009), p. 167.