The Legitimisation of Art Photography in Italy
Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Milan, Italy
Legitimacy, status and the establishment of genres are of utmost importance in fields of cultural production. Yet, research on the subject has not systematically focused on marginalised domains of cultural production within the globalised contemporary art system. Using the field of art photography in Italy as a case study and drawing on a PhD research project, the paper examines the processes of legitimation, classification and status formation in a peripheral art world. Historically, art photography in Italy has failed to gain the status of a legitimate art form due to field-specific dynamics which fail to reproduce success stories of the same field in other EU countries. From a theoretical standpoint, studying peripheral art worlds – occupying a less market-oriented position, and less endowed with institutional resources– allows to challenge orthodox interpretations and fundamental oppositions in the sociology of cultural production. By combining different fields of investigation, namely the sociology of art with the sociology of organizations and market of cultural products, we articulate a theoretical framework that aims to challenge mainstream approaches in the sociology of artistic fields. We will present the salient analytic categories emerging from qualitative interviews to photographers, art critics, curators and gallerists conducted in 2019 and, in this way, we will demonstrate that a combination of analytical approaches is more appropriate for theoretical development than the adoption of a discipline-specific perspective. This ultimately allows to treat art photography as a distinctive field while enabling comparisons with other domains of research.
Discursive Infection, Incubation and Delirium in Life Stories on Becoming an Artist
Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Modernist street art decorating a youth festival in the ruins of 1950s’ Warsaw, Salvador Dali's performance in communist public TV in the 1970s, or an album on hyperrealist painting, owned by an older sister involved in punk since a spell of seasonal labour in the 1980s’ UK. These are examples of an electrifying first encounter with contemporary art in early childhood, still vividly remembered, emotionally recounted by my interviewees and reconstructed today as significant turning points in their lives.
This paper will be based on a research project, that resulted in a sociography of becoming a renowned visual artist, based on autobiographical narrative interviews with key figures of the Polish art world.
The virological metaphors in the title are theoretical proposals grounded in the material, put forth in order to describe processual narrative structures recurring in the interviews.
The first encounter deeply influenced the lives of my interviewees, reoriented them towards new interests, practices, and role models, in a process that eventually led them to pursue artistic education and intensive artistic production.
These early stages of entanglement with modern art seem particularly interesting in the case of my interviewees, who came from working class, peripheral, rural or small-city backgrounds, lacking the mixture of capitals associated with choosing an artistic career.
The discursive infection and incubation will be described as a reconfiguration of the budding processes of subjectivation – an interpretation inspired by Deleuzoguattarian rhizomatic ontology, actor-network theory, and the debate on embodiment, from Foucault, Bourdieu and Butler to corporeal feminism and new materialism.
Masterpieces of Visual Art - A Survey
"Babeș-Bolyai" University, Romania
Masterpieces, artworks distinguished among others, have been studied from numerous points of view in order to try to determine a common denominator in an otherwise notoriously heterogeneous group. And while the specific set of characteristics is still largely debatable – does it have to do with aesthetics, or craftsmanship, or is it more a question of ‘marketing’ – one thing is certain: In order to be considered a masterpiece, a work must be first be called as such and this label must stick. Thus a survey was designed to find out what people tend to name masterpieces. Besides the rather common questions related to age, gender, and occupation, the form asked the respondents to name 3-7 works of visual art that they consider as being masterpieces, operating on the dictionary definition of the word. The open-ended question also required that they mark the artworks which they have experienced live in order to hopefully add another layer of understanding to the mechanism behind their choices. This survey was aimed exclusively towards members of the art world, mainly those based in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. It is still a work in progress, but with over 200 responses from both professionals in various artistic fields, and from Fine Arts and Art History students, it is already shaping up to be quite revealing regarding the biases generated by a particular cultural sphere and educational environment. Ultimately it would be interesting to expand the targeted area as well as to include different categories of respondents and observe changes or constants.
The Social Turn in the Literary Field – Is Sharing Reading Experiences and the Love of Books in Social Media Reshaping the Literary Field?
University of Helsinki
The Internet and mobile technology have changed the reading habits everywhere. Literary blogs form a thriving part of contemporary book culture despite newer social media platforms whereas culture sections are shrinking in many quality newspapers (Hellman & Jaakkola 2012; Verboord 2009). Being aware of the power of algorithms, the publishing houses have included many bloggers to their marketing networks. By using netnographic methods, this paper compares the contents, esthetics and style of renown and popular literary blogs in Britain, Sweden and Finland and analyses whether a similar style of mixing personal reading experiences and more analytic book commentary is prevalent in each country. Furthermore, this research aims to find out, how blog posts curated by readers are cited and recycled in other forms of social media. Which genres of books and what kind of authors appear in popular blogs? Is the omnivorous taste pattern or taste preferring high culture (Purhonen & al. 2011; Peterson 1996) prevalent in literary blogs? In which cases are non-fiction books discussed in blogs or in other social media forms? Furthermore, by interviewing popular bloggers, the research aims also to find out, whether the bloggers motivations are related to enhancing their professional career as actors in a reputation market (Pierre Bourdieu 1984). Blogs and Bookstagram posts are also interpreted as part of a social turn in reading. Do they manage to fulfill a sense of belonging to a reading community? Could blogs or other forms of social media increase the popularity of books and reading? This paper is a preliminary report on an ongoing research and is planned to be a part of a broader research on social turn in reading.