• Why is the Indian government locking up students?

    For the last two and a half years I’ve been pursuing a PhD in Art History at the University of Sussex. In the last month, the fate of another Sussex alumni, Devangana Kalita, and several other students in India, has come to my notice, hence this blog post. Student protest: it’s a welcome phenomena. Students …

    June 22, 2020
  • Back to the future in Liverpool

    Liverpool doesn’t have a prehistoric cave, but it does have a historic Cavern. So it might prove not too much of a distraction from writing on paleolithic art. Beyond the Beatles heritage trail and the football, it had become a centre for visual arts in the UK. It is also, one might argue, a marker for …

    September 11, 2019
  • Visiting Lascaux II

    [author’s photo] In my last post I promised to note the lighting arrangements in Lascaux II. Well, I went to inspect them today, and, as it happens, I was not disappointed. The tour began with a couple of gloomy exhibition spaces. But already it was clear that the cave’s original replica (indeed, ‘original replica’) was …

    July 24, 2019
  • Visiting Lascaux IV

    “Lascaux IV”by Alexandre Dolique is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0   As I looked up at an 18 metre painted ceiling known as the Diverticule axial, I was, for the first time not merely intrigued by prehistoric art, but moved by it. The weird thing is, I was not in a prehistoric cave. I was …

    July 23, 2019
  • The faux pas of primitivism

    “Lascaux 170”by Ma Boîte à Image is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 In post war France, prehistoric art got people talking. At least it got intellectuals talking, but this being France we can imagine that the zone of interest was widespread. The basis for this post, about primitivism in the years following the Second World …

    July 16, 2019
  • How authentic is cave painting?

    I have been reading a correspondence between Spanish academic José Díaz Cuyás and Dean MacCannell. MacCannell is a former soixante-huitard who lost faith in a 1960s style Revolution. But as he observes, some fifty years later: “‘The revolution’ and especially the romantic figure of the revolutionary is a myth that effectively disables the left today.” …

    July 11, 2019
  • Lascaux: an intangible monument

    I’ve been reading an essay by Rosemary J Coombe about world heritage in an age of neoliberal politics. Whereas a monolithic state may once have strived to preserve monumental artefacts and artworks of supposed universal appeal, we now have a web of agencies both within and outside of government that connect around artefacts that may …

    July 4, 2019
  • How French is Lascaux?

    In a hypothetical word association game, I predict that food, the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa would all get a mention long before Lascaux. The cave at Montignac seems French only insofar as a specimen of moon rock appears to be American. Today I was reading about the heritage industry and wondering just who …

    June 27, 2019
  • Review: Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern (1991)

    Although Latour’s contentious book is a mere 145 pages long (in fact he calls it an essay), the notion that, after one reading, this fledgling researcher is qualified to review this for you feels like hubris. However, We Have Never Been Modern reads like a manifesto and, as such, the pages call for a response. …

    June 13, 2018
  • General Data Protection Regulation: GDPR

    Just a note to prompt you to unsubscribe if you no longer want to get updates from my site. I cannot ask you to opt in because my subscriber list is lost in the ether somewhere. I genuinely can’t find it. Apologies…

    May 22, 2018