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Arts, Volume 3, Issue 2 (June 2014), Pages 190-302

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Shades of the Rainbow Serpent? A KhoeSan Animal between Myth and Landscape in Southern Africa—Ethnographic Contextualisations of Rock Art Representations
Arts 2014, 3(2), 215-244; doi:10.3390/arts3020215
Received: 30 September 2013 / Revised: 12 February 2014 / Accepted: 10 May 2014 / Published: 2 June 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1624 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The snake is a potent entity in many cultures across the world, and is a noticeable global theme in rock art and inscribed landscapes. We mobilise our long-term ethnographic research with southern African KhoeSan peoples to situate and interpret the presence of [...] Read more.
The snake is a potent entity in many cultures across the world, and is a noticeable global theme in rock art and inscribed landscapes. We mobilise our long-term ethnographic research with southern African KhoeSan peoples to situate and interpret the presence of snake motifs in the region’s rock art. We contextualise the snake as a transformative ontological mediator between everyday and “entranced” KhoeSan worlds (those associated with “altered states of consciousness”), to weave together both mythological and shamanistic interpretations of southern African rock art. Ethnographic explorations of experiences of snakes as both an aspect of natural history and the physical environment, and as embodiments of multiplicitous and mythical meaning by which to live and understand life, shed light on the presence of snakes and associated snake-themes in southern African rock art. By drawing on ethnographic material, and in conjunction with review of literature, we highlight a dynamic assemblage of extant associations between snakes, rain, water, fertility, blood, fat, transformation, dance and healing. We suggest that these extant associations have explanatory potential for understanding the meaning of these themes in the rock art created by the ancestors of contemporary KhoeSan peoples. Our paper contributes to a live debate regarding the interpretive relevance of ethnography for understanding rock art representations from the past. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection World Rock Art)
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Open AccessArticle The Architecture of Metabolism. Inventing a Culture of Resilience
Arts 2014, 3(2), 279-297; doi:10.3390/arts3020279
Received: 10 May 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 10 June 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Metabolist movement, with its radical and visionary urban and architectural schemes, drew the attention of an international architecture community to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the movement’s foremost concern was cultural resilience as a notion [...] Read more.
The Metabolist movement, with its radical and visionary urban and architectural schemes, drew the attention of an international architecture community to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s. Seen from a contemporary perspective, the movement’s foremost concern was cultural resilience as a notion of national identity. Metabolism responded to the human and environmental catastrophe that followed the atomic bombing of Japan and vulnerability to natural disasters such as earthquakes, with architecture envisioning the complete transformation of Japan as a system of political, social, and physical structures into resilient spatial and organizational patterns adaptable to change. Projecting a utopia of resilience, Metabolism employed biological metaphors and recalled technoscientific images which, together with the vernacular, evoked the notion of a genetic architecture able to be recreated again and again. A specific concern was to mediate between an urbanism of large, technical and institutional infrastructures and the freedom of the individual. My aim is to critically examine the notion of sustainable architecture by rereading Metabolist theories and products, such as terms, models, projects, and buildings. For a better understanding of the present discourse, this text searches for a possible history of sustainable architecture, a subject mostly presented ahistorically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Pleistocene Palaeoart of the Americas
Arts 2014, 3(2), 190-206; doi:10.3390/arts3020190
Received: 7 July 2013 / Accepted: 27 February 2014 / Published: 4 April 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1786 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In contrast to the great time depth of Pleistocene rock art and mobiliary ‘art’ in the four other continents, the available evidence from the Americas is very limited, and restricted at best to the last part of the final Pleistocene. A review [...] Read more.
In contrast to the great time depth of Pleistocene rock art and mobiliary ‘art’ in the four other continents, the available evidence from the Americas is very limited, and restricted at best to the last part of the final Pleistocene. A review of what has so far become available is hampered by a considerable burden of literature presenting material contended to be of the Ice Age, even of the Mesozoic in some cases, that needs to be sifted through to find a minute number of credible claims. Even the timing of the first colonization of the Americas remains unresolved, and the lack of clear-cut substantiation of palaeoart finds predating about 12,000 years bp is conspicuous. There are vague hints of earlier human presence, rendering it likely that archaeology has failed to define its manifestations adequately, and Pleistocene palaeoart remains almost unexplored at this stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection World Rock Art)
Open AccessReview Pleistocene Paleoart of Europe
Arts 2014, 3(2), 245-278; doi:10.3390/arts3020245
Received: 22 March 2014 / Revised: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
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Abstract
As in Australia, Pleistocene rock art is relatively abundant in Europe, but it has so far received much more attention than the combined Ice Age paleoart of the rest of the world. Since archaeology initially rejected its authenticity for several decades, the [...] Read more.
As in Australia, Pleistocene rock art is relatively abundant in Europe, but it has so far received much more attention than the combined Ice Age paleoart of the rest of the world. Since archaeology initially rejected its authenticity for several decades, the cave art of France and Spain and the portable paleoart from various regions of Europe have been the subjects of thousands of studies. It is shown, however, that much of the published information is unreliable and subjective, and that fundamental trends in the evidence have been misunderstood. In particular, the data implies that the paleoart of the Early Upper Paleolithic, the work of robust humans such as Neanderthals, is considerably more sophisticated and developed that that of more recent times. Thus, the European paleoart demonstrates that the teleological model of cultural “evolution” is false, which is to be expected because evolution is purely dysteleological. This is confirmed by the extensive record of pre-Upper Paleolithic European paleoart, which is comprehensively reviewed in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection World Rock Art)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessDiscussion The Significance of the Pech Merle Spotted Horses
Arts 2014, 3(2), 207-212; doi:10.3390/arts3020207
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 10 April 2014 / Accepted: 28 April 2014 / Published: 8 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (365 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Pech Merle spotted horses have been one of the key lines of evidence put forward in support of the notion Upper Palaeolithic cave depictions relate to a concern for the supernatural. Recent findings from genetics has cast doubt on this notion [...] Read more.
The Pech Merle spotted horses have been one of the key lines of evidence put forward in support of the notion Upper Palaeolithic cave depictions relate to a concern for the supernatural. Recent findings from genetics has cast doubt on this notion in confirming that such horses actually existed during the Upper Palaeolithic in Europe and therefore it is possible real, rather than fictitious, horses were being portrayed. As well as examining criticisms in response to this finding, the present paper presents further evidence to support the possibility real horses were portrayed and the implications for explanations that continue to rely on the supernatural. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection World Rock Art)
Open AccessAddendum Addendum: Bednarik, R.G. Pleistocene Palaeoart of the Americas. Arts, 2014, 3, 190-206.
Arts 2014, 3(2), 213-214; doi:10.3390/arts3020213
Received: 22 May 2014 / Accepted: 26 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract The author wishes to add the following paragraph to his paper published in Arts [1], doi:10.3390/arts3020190, website: http://www.mdpi.com/2076-0752/3/2/190.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the collection World Rock Art)
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Open AccessBook Review Walking and Mapping: Artists as Cartographers. By Karen O’Rourke. Cambridge, MA. MIT Press, 2013.
Arts 2014, 3(2), 298-302; doi:10.3390/arts3020298
Received: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 13 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
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Abstract
While there is a long well-documented tradition of poets walking and writing about the landscape, for at least the past fifty years visual artists have been laying out walks as various kinds of artwork. More recently, with the technology of mapping morphing [...] Read more.
While there is a long well-documented tradition of poets walking and writing about the landscape, for at least the past fifty years visual artists have been laying out walks as various kinds of artwork. More recently, with the technology of mapping morphing into electronic devices, artists have begun using these tools to develop entirely new genres. Full article

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