The images, kolams, have an effect on people's states of mind and they mark the passage of life and the rhythm of the year.
The production of the images also accommodates individual experimentation, particularly on ceremonial occasions when the images are enlarged and more complex, says Anna Laine, who will be publicly defending her thesis in social anthropology at the University of GothenburgEvery day before sunrise and sunset women in the southern Indian state of Tamilnadu draw geometric pictures, kolams, on the streets in front of the entrances to their homes. They thereby invite in deities in order to bring their family happiness and prosperity. The kolam makes the image of the home complete, both as a material object and as an inner cultural conception.
- Kolams are central to how people relate to and interact with each other and their environment. Drawing kolams is something that most girls learn at a young age. When they marry it becomes a part of their daily domestic chores. Through the continual recreation they are constructed as feminine beings, according to Anna Laine.
The creation of social relations
The thesis analyses kolam partly as a creative process partly as a material object. The aim is to contribute to extending anthropological approaches to and understanding of images, aesthetics and artistic practice. Images as co-participants in the creation of social relations is a central aspect in the thesis.
The images do not simply articulate or mirror cultural conditions, but also contribute to the way in which people relate to the world.
In line with other contemporary anthropologists who focus on visual aspects of culture (and conceptions within Hindu philosophy) the thesis emphasizes the close connection that exists between seeing and our other senses. Aesthetics are discussed as a multisensorial experience rooted in people's everyday lives. Different perceptions of kolam reveal that its aesthetic varies locally and also over time.
Processes of iconographic change take place through interplay between individuals and cultural norms. Despite certain formal aspects, the room for personal experimentation means that the execution of kolams can be defined as artistic representation.
One year's field work
The material for the thesis was collected during one year's field work in Tamilnadu, followed by shorter annual visits. The study has been conducted in both urban and rural areas and among people of different caste and class affiliations. Photography has been used as a method in addition to participant observation. A significant proportion of the presentation consists of photographic essays that relate thematically to the written chapters.
- This experimentation with the ambivalence of images, as with the relationship between image and text, comprises an important part of the thesis.
- Prior to my academic education I worked practically with images in various ways. It is partly this background that has led to my specific interest in kolams. What I have learnt practically from the experience of making kolams myself during the field work has been an important element in my understanding and in general I consider that a practice-based method represents an important supplement to those that are verbal and text-based, says Anna Laine.Title of the thesis: In Conversation with the Kolam Practice: Auspiciousness and Artistic
Faculty opponent: Dr. Amanda Ravetz, Manchester Metropolitan University, UKBY: Lena Olson
New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences