Monday, August 15, 2011

Feminist jewelry

I've been alerted to the existence of another very interesting source for anyone interested in body politics and jewelry - disappointed I didn't have access to it prior to writing my own book! By Susan Cohn:

RECODING JEWELLERY: identity, body, survival addresses a central problem facing contemporary jewellery practice: through the course of the Contemporary Jewellery Movement, the potential of the jewellery-object to mediate intricate social relationships has become constrained. This is in part due to a singular focus of ideas in the field, and in part due to the developmental trajectory of contemporary jewellery networks. Caught up in the art-craft debate, contemporary jewellery missed the potentials in theory for developing a critical voice. This was not helped by the fact that academic discourse (philosophical, social, sexual, political) has largely neglected the significances of jewellery. The aim in this thesis is to negotiate this mutual neglect - or 'double gap' - by finding connections between theory and jewellery in practice. Jewellery involves complex interactions between makers, objects, wearers and audiences within social networks. Possessing a distinct set of codes enlivened by its relationship to the body, jewellery is a way of thinking and connecting which is strongly embedded in the activities of managing identity that define cultures and epochs. In the process, the instinct for adornment becomes an integral means of survival. This thesis draws on modern and postmodern theory, as well as art and jewellery practices, to examine contemporary shifts in thinking about identity, the body and reproduction. Through the three main chapters of this thesis I endeavour to: (i) provide an informed interpretation of the internal and external pressures that have defined contemporary jewellery practice over time; (ii) introduce relevant examples of my own work, and seek ways to move beyond the limitations of my own practice; and (iii) advocate new ways of thinking about contemporary jewellery that might lead it to a different voice. Reflected in this approach are three fundamental influences to my practice: the Contemporary Jewellery Movement; non-jewellery practices such as art, architecture, street culture, technology and performance; and academic writing across a number of fields. The thesis concludes with a discussion of how these interests came together in a single show, Black Intentions. However, the span of work covered extends through my career in jewellery to provide a basis for future directions.
 Thanks to Christopher Hardwick for the heads up. 

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