Art is a Movement

39 minutes

Welcome to CultureMade: Heritage Enterprise in a World on the Move, an audio collaboration series from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the American Anthropological Association and This Anthro Life Podcast.

Join hosts Adam Gamwell, Leslie Walker and Ryan Collins as they explore what it means to craft, form, and make culture in a world defined by movement, migration, and changing borders. Step into behind the scenes conversations and candid interviews from the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Hear from artists, fashion designers, dancers, weavers, and craftsmen who give life to heritage and shape the many worlds of traditional culture in a planet on the move.

"Art is a Movement" How does art help contribute to political protest? Should art never be sold for money? How can dance unify a community? How are traditions like calligraphy and traditional dances passed on between generations?

In this episode, we overview the subject of art as informed by representatives from The Armenian program and the Catalonia program of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The above ideas on art put forth by Ruben Malayan encompasses the complex feelings, ideas, and understandings that art not only evokes within society but also those of who seek to understand art from a more holistic perspective.

Art is complex. Though what counts as art within a society is often recognizable to insiders, the rationale as to why is often much more difficult to discern. Anthropology, at its best, can help us explore the complexities of art. Through critical dialogue, anthropologists can ask what it means to experience art from the vantage point of different cultures and explore the messages that the artist intended to convey.

The purpose of this series is to create narratives linking the diverse peoples, perspectives, and activities across the Festival from a series of micro ethnographies like those above. The open format interview style allowed participants to define in their own words the relationships between their artisanship, musical ability, or experiences and the ways in which migration and movement shape their lives. Conversations with curators and other researchers supplemented the interviews with Festival participants and helped us to identify the research involved in selecting participants and the presentation of cultural heritage for the Festival. This approach allows us to foreground a central or thematic conversation and to narrate events and activities at the Festival that listeners can paint in their minds as if they had been there to experience it.

Read more and see photos here: https://www.thisanthrolife.com/art-is-a-movement/

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