Pacific Spaces at ESfO 2017

At the upcoming European Society for Oceanists 2017 Conference in Munich, we will be offering a panel on “Transformative appropriations and iconic power in the Pacific”.

Worldwide, the traditional architecture of the Pacific is reproduced by educational institutions, government agencies, hotels and resorts, and iconic Pacific objects are displayed as tokens of ways of life. Though their intentions will vary, indigenous Pacific politicians or educators and Western marketing managers rely on the same “displacement of form, and the persistence of the sense of belonging attached to it” (Refiti 2015), the power to re-present something ‘Pacific’. How does this power work? What happens when a Fale Pasifika – an “iconic building” [3] evoking a sense of place and identity – is built at the University of Auckland? Can iconicity help us understand what Tomlinson and Tengan (2016) call “transformation in appropriation”? How may such power be harnessed to strengthen diasporic Pacific identities? Might Aby Warburg’s Nachleben (afterlife: as “protean, liquid, oceanic in scope and complexity” as life itself, be relevant? How to imagine human and non-human entities in the interfaces between iconicity and fa’atupua, in global markets, tourism sites, and new media. We welcome proposals considering material culture, place, spaces, objects and architecture, rituals, performance and art.

Five of ten accepted presentations will be by members of the Pacific Spaces research cluster based in Auckland: Metuanooroa TAPUNI, Keri-Anne WIKITERA, Ross JENNER, Albert L. REFITI and Tina ENGELS-SCHWARZPAUL. The other presenters hail from Aotearoa, Spain and France: Olivia BLYTH (Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland), David MANZANO (Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos, Seville // Spanish National High Research Council, Spain), Sebastien GALLIOT (CREDO – Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur l’Océanie // Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, EHESS, France), Julien CLéMENT (Departement de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement // Musée du quai Branly, France) and Aurélie CONDEVAUX (EIREST Interdisciplinary Research Team on Tourism // University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France).

We will set up a new Mahi page on this website soon, to publish the session abstracts and later perhaps some selected, peer-reviewed papers, too.Watch this space!

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