Call for Papers: Narrating Home in Visual Arts Through an East West Divide

This conference seeks to explore representations of home in the visually based arts in specific Eastern and Western European cultural and political contexts.

About

Homemaking and everyday life have been central to political debates, artistic practices and for theorists in the twentieth century. For instance, Walter Benjamin considered the home at the beginning of the 20th century to be like a universe for the private citizen. To represent the home was not just à la mode; interior design as a form of self-expression was much spread across Europe and the American continent. Home interiors became metaphors for bourgeois identity, but the home was also treated as the battlefield for existential and social problems.

The Swedish author Ellen Key proposed that better tastes in interior design, with simple lines and light colour schemes, would create better citizens. The Russian writer and revolutionist Alexandra Kollontay had a radically differing view than Key on family life and propagated for communal care and women’s roles outside of family structures. In the post-war period consumerism and advertising evolved around the ‘perfect’ home and private family-life. The home became once again a debated topic with political impetus.

Research on the home has contributed to discussions regarding, for instance, canon formation and power structures. In many countries in the West, the women’s movement changed how the home environment and family life were politicized in society and narrated in art in the 1960’s. In Eastern Europe and the Baltic states domestic environments have been equally potent matters but within a different political and artistic framework. Through this conference “Narrating Home in Visual Arts Through an East West Divide” we wish to explore how different fields in the visually based arts including film, design and architecture have investigated home and family life in specific Eastern and Western European cultural and political contexts. We propose a particular focus on the 1960’s – 1980’s, but we also open up for larger historical trajectories.

Confirmed Keynote speakers:

Susan E. Reid, Professor of Cultural History, Loughborough University
Andres Kurg, Senior Researcher, Estonian Academy of Arts, Faculty of Art and Culture, Institute of Art History and Visual Culture.

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Home in the visual arts, design and architecture in the 1960’s-80’s.
  • The home in art as heterogenic and culturally specific.
  • The home in relation to social, political, historical and aesthetic contexts.
  • The complexity of comparison.
  • Home in art and feminism in the Baltic states.
  • The home in art as a contested place.
  • The home in art as a protected place.

Please email a 300 word abstract and short CV to katarina.macleod@sh.se, or to tora.lane@sh.se by 15 October 2017.

Conference to be held 24-25 January 2018, Södertörn University and Moderna Museet, Stockholm. 

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