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robertogreco : totems   6

Kenzi Shiokava | Made in L.A. 2016: a, the, though, only | Hammer Museum
[via: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/miranda/la-et-cam-kenzi-shiokava-hammer-museum-20160705-snap-story.html ]

"Kenzi Shiokava’s work of the past fifty years has revolved around two very different sculptural forms, wood carving and assemblage. His elegantly carved totems and his staged groupings of plastic figurines offer a stark contrast in materials and methods. While wood carving is as old as the human species itself, assemblage is a form squarely rooted in the history of the twentieth century. Together each tradition bookends an art historical narrative, whose opposing poles are the sacred and the profane.

Born in Brazil, Shiokava is ethnically Japanese. His parents were among thousands of immigrant families fleeing severe economic hardship in the early twentieth century. Over the course of three generations, beginning with the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in 1908, there was little if any assimilation. Yet Shiokava’s work embodies a cultural hybridity that is readily played out in the distinction between his wood and macramé totems, which he says represent, respectively, the Japanese and Brazilian sides of himself.

Prompted by his older sister’s move to the area, Shiokava arrived in Los Angeles in 1964. He attended art school in the city, receiving a bachelor’s degree from Chouinard Art Institute (a predecessor of California Institute of the Arts) in 1972 and a master’s degree from Otis Art Institute in 1974. Among Shiokava’s peers were a notable number of African American artists—including John Outterbridge, Noah Purifoy, and Betye Saar—all of whom were engaged with assemblage, a practice that by the early 1970s qualified as a Los Angeles tradition. Found objects are featured in Shiokava’s various types of work, such as the sculptures, reliefs, and totems. His assemblages are often marked by their juxtaposition of natural and industrially produced forms. Featuring plastic cartoon figures—the Hulk, Power Rangers, and Smurfs, to name but a few—the dioramas are a discrete turn away from the natural world, focusing instead on the lowest form of entertainment industry merchandising. But no matter how industrial, these figurines are for Shiokava a form of culture ripe for resuscitation from the places where they were once discarded when tastes changed. Paying keen attention to their poses, he arranges the figures within various found box forms, crafting ensembles whose costumes, gestures, and expressions, set within an arena and juxtaposed, produce a form of theater. They are restored and reanimated as products of the imagination."

[See also: https://vimeo.com/165919705 ]
kenzishiokava  artists  art  losangeles  assemblage  wood  totems  hybridity  johnoutterbridge  noahpurifoy  betyesaar 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Molds and Totems: Nonhumans and the Constitution of the Social Self
"The role of nonhumans in social life has recently generated significant scholarly interest. The two main paradigms for explaining the sociological significance of nonhumans are constructivism and actor-network theory. We propose a pragmatist synthesis inspired by George Herbert Mead, demonstrating how interactions with nonhumans help constitute the social self—that is, the identity one constructs by imaginatively looking upon oneself as others would. Drawing upon observations of humans interacting with objects, animals, and nature, we identify two complementary ways that nonhumans organize the social self and enable people to experience group membership in absentia: (1) by molding how one is perceived by others and constraining alternative presentations of self and (2) by acting as a totem that conjures up awareness of, and feelings of attachment to, a particular social group. This formulation moves beyond constructivist claims that nonhumans reflect people’s self-definitions, and it offers a corrective to actor-network theory’s neglect of sociality."
nonhumans  totems  pragmatism  self  actor-networktheory  sociality  objects  animals  nature  georgeherbertmead  colinjerolmack  iddotavory  via:oddhack 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Object memory on Vimeo
“‘This trade’, he said, ‘was not the trade as you Europeans know it. Not the business of buying and selling for profit! Our people’s trade was always symmetrical.’

Aboriginals, in general, had the idea that all ‘goods’ were potentially malign and would work against their possessors unless they were forever in motion. The ‘goods’ did not have to be edible, or useful. People liked nothing better than to barter useless things - or things they could supply for themselves: feathers, sacred objects, belts of human hair.

‘Trade goods’, he continued, should be seen rather as the bargining counters of a gigantic game, in which the whole continent was the gaming board and all its inhabitants players. ‘Goods’ were tokens of intent: to trade again, meet again, fix frontiers, intermarry, sing, dance, share resources and share ideas.”

With Bruce Chatwins quote as a starting point, a group of friends got together to explore storytelling through the trading of objects…"
stories  things  possessions  brucechatwins  totems  tokens  richardhouguez  2011  objectmemory  memory  storytelling  trade  trading  objects 
february 2012 by robertogreco
The Technium: Your Two Things
"…2 devices each person will carry are one general purpose combination device, & one specialized device (per your major interests & style)…

At the same time the attraction of a totem object, or something to hold in your hands, particularly a gorgeous object, will not diminish. We may remain w/ one single object that we love, that does most of what we need okay, & that in some ways comes to represent us. Perhaps the highly evolved person carries one distinctive object—which will be buried w/ them when they die.

…I don't think we'll normally carry more than a couple of things at once, on an ordinary day. The # of devices will proliferate, but each will occupy a smaller & smaller niche. There will be a long tail distribution of devices.

50 yrs from now a very common ritual upon meeting of old friends will be the mutual exchange & cross examination of what lovely personal thing they have in their pocket or purse. You'll be able to tell a lot about a person by what they carry."
kevinkelly  totems  possessions  evocativeobjects  objects  devices  future  predictions  technology  specialization  generalpurpose  combinationdevices  beauty  2011  specialists 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Totems and City Avatars – Blog – BERG
At one point during City Tracking, I commented that I still felt a connection to London during my time in San Francisco through the bike-key on my keyring (above)…

The bike-key has no functionality without the service: it’s just an RFID tag inside a piece of plastic. The service itself is unavoidably located in London. The computer systems that run it do not have to be, but the bikes themselves – the critical hardware within the service – cannot be located anywhere else.

The city and the service are tied together.

And so, for me, that keyfob that I pass through my fingers when I pick my keys up, or fidget with them in my pocket, is not just a service avatar; it’s an avatar for a city…

On my keyring, everywhere I go, I carry a piece of London."
tomarmitage  berg  berglondon  avatars  cities  london  inception  memory  totems  objects  socialobjects  memoryobjects  keyfobs  connections  physical  representation 
february 2011 by robertogreco

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