Objects + Ritual
Objects + Ritual Sumposium

Objects and Ritual: Function, Value and adornment

‘Ritual is the means by which individual perception and behaviour are socially appropriated or conditioned; and rites are determined modes of action that can be characterised in terms of their intention and the objects used to perform the action.’

(C. Bell ‘ Ritual Theory - Ritual Practice’)

In this project, supported by Arts Council, ACJ, and Goldsmiths funding Maria Hanson has investigated the role contemporary artefacts have within both identified rites of social passage and ritual acts found within domestic contexts.

This practice-led research, informed by established ideas within ‘ritual theory', ‘archaeology’, and ‘material culture’, dissected and reconstructed everyday objects and functions, to create a series of artefacts that re-present ways of engaging with the fundamental ritual acts, of eating and drinking on a more conscious level. It utilises the Althusserian model that ‘Ritual practices are produced with an intent to order, rectify or transform a particular situation’ and proposes that objects that we own and use define who we are and enhance our experience of the ordinary. It addresses the debate about the value and reading of craft objects within contemporary culture, which relates to issues such as lifestyle and consumerism. It proposes the emotional attachment engendered through a handmade object stimulates a more intimate relationship with the user and is a contributing factor in making products durable.

These key issues were disseminated and debated in the symposium instigated and organised by Hanson which brought together four cross disciplinary speakers (Giles, Glanville, Hanson, Unger)

This research culminated in a joint exhibition with Chris Knight at the Harley Gallery from 27th October – 23rd December 2007, showing 30 objects developed over a 2 year period. This work produced through a collaborative dialogue included drinking sets; commemorative cups; christening / birth cups; spoons and scoops.