Anna Grasskamp joining the Kolleg
A warm welcome to our new fellow Anna Grasskamp who joins the Kolleg until late summer 2023.
Anna Grasskamp is a lecturer in art history at the University of St Andrews. She has authored Art and Ocean Objects of Early Modern Eurasia. Shells, Bodies, and Materiality (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) and Objects in Frames: Displaying Foreign Collectibles in Early Modern China and Europe (Reimer, 2019). Her articles have appeared in Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Renaissance Studies and other journals. Anna is a subject editor at the review journal SEHEPUNKTE and a member of the editorial boards of the book series Global Epistemics and the Journal for the History of Knowledge.
Trash as treasure: value disconnections and the recycling of Chinese matter in art and design, 1500–2020
Recycling materials ‘made in China’ has a short history in the daily practices of middle-class households, but a long history in global art and design. Chinese natural resources, such as rare-earth metals used in digital devices and commodities like porcelain made of Chinese clay, have been pivotal to material, technological and artistic exchanges between Europe and Asia since early modernity. This project investigates art and design as fields of pioneering research in which strategies to reuse Chinese matter were developed centuries before the term ‘recycling’ – as we use it today – was adopted. It researches material flows of garbage in relation to disrupted material value systems associated with trash. Disruptions take place across cultural boundaries that allow for radical changes in systems of material evaluation (e.g. enabling the perception of ‘trash as treasure’) and through transcultural artistic research, which reuses and re-evaluates seemingly ‘meaningless’ garbage by turning it into multi-million-dollar art installations and prized design innovations. The project offers a non-hegemonic history of art and design, which researches urban hubs and rural ecologies, the works of artists and artisans, as well as the products of craftsmen and factory workers across social, historic and cultural divides.