RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2013

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176 Material geopolitics: The Great Game by War Boutique (2011)
Affiliation Political Geography Research Group
Convenor(s) Alan Ingram (University College London, UK)
Chair(s) Alan Ingram (University College London, UK)
Timetable Thursday 29 August 2013, Session 3 (14:40 - 16:20)
Room RGS-IBG Drayson Room
Session abstract Conference participants are invited to view and take part in a discussion of 'The Great Game' by artist War Boutique, which will be exhibited at the Society on the day of the session. Exploring intersections between art, geopolitics, textiles and camouflage in response to the work, the session will also consider connections between artistic, curatorial and research practices.

From the artist's statement (2012):

"War Boutique is an artist whose practice focuses on forms of conflict - whether physical or psychological. He uses requisitioned and recycled textiles, uniforms, and other military and ballistic materials, exploiting their symbolic quality and potential to ask difficult questions about the nature of war, and our role in it. ‘The Great Game’ is a term popularized by Rudyard Kipling in Kim (1901) to describe the strategic rivalry and conflict between the British and Russian Empires for supremacy in Central Asia, and their attempts to dominate and maintain a secure trade route out of India, through the Khyber Pass and Afghanistan. War Boutique has taken this title, along with the military fabrics used in this long-running Afghan conflict, and employed them in his textile work ‘The Great Game’. The fabric letters are hand sewn on to an Afghan Keffiyeh – the traditional scarf worn in the region, and mounted on an Afghan military chador or blanket. Each letter uses a fabric worn by British soldiers, chronologically charting the changing battledress uniform of each incursion into Afghanistan, from the East India Trading Company in 1839 right up to the uniforms of HM British Forces today."

The session will be facilitated by Alan Ingram (UCL) and will be informed by an introduction by the artist and reflections from three discussants: Philip Crang (RHUL), drawing on research on material culture, transnational geographies and consumption; Isla Forsyth (Nottingham), in relation to the cultural and historical geographies of camouflage and visual culture; and Nicola Gauld, (independent curator) who has curated The Great Game as part of Caught in the Crossfire: Artistic Responses to Conflict, Peace and Reconciliation at the Herbert Art Museum and Gallery, Coventry.

The Great Game
Linked Sessions Material geopolitics: The Great Game by War Boutique (2011) [Exhibition]
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2013@rgs.org
Exhibition of work
Alan Ingram (University College London, UK)
The Great Game