Venerative artefacts and narrative objects
1 Nov 2011 - 31 Oct 2013
The case study will develop technology enhanced ‘craft noveau’ in relation to narrative and drama. It will merge media technology and craft into new forms of popular art objects. The aim will be to develop an entire “product line” of objects such as these – based upon the same collaborative design principles as the interactive video shrine completed as part of the pilot project carried out in November 2009.

The narratives contained will continue to be the product of social processes, namely aesthetic preparations and ritualtheatrical transformations; in itself the ground of the origin of drama. The project renders additional tools both conceptually and technically, whereas it introduces contemporary adaptations of traditional expressions. To combine the old with the new is crucial for the survival and resilience of cultural identities. New skill sets will facilitate the production of craft noveau, and extend the type of productions made by local craftsmanship outside of the realm of traditional crafts.

With the emergence of modern archaeology and anthropology providing new kinds of interpretation for the meanings and origins of saintly places on the one hand, and the projects of modernity and religious reform aiming the purification and reinterpretation of rites and sites on the other, saintly places and their origins have become subjects of conflicting interpretations and contested practices. 

Modernity here enters the place as disciplinary and exclusionary force in service of a civilising project aiming to either eradicate or to marginalise popular communal and religious traditions that do not seem to fit the project of authoritarian top-down progress. Rather than erasing the sites and landscapes of saint veneration and religious imagination, however, the projects of modernity and reform have initiated a process of profound changes in the ways in which locality in its different levels is being perceived and enacted. In a way, the policing of the modern meaning of local attainments also leads to a restrengthening, re-structuring and re-inventing of venerative practices.

Performing Pictures has spent the last two years working with issues of venerative practices and new forms of venerative artefacts in the village of Sta Ana, Zegache, and in the case study, we wish to continue our examination of issues relating to the historical continuity and transformation of sacred places, the changing configurations of the sacred and social order in the structures of villages and cities and their histories as sites of contestation over cultural and national identity.


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