Mario’s Time: Ethnographic Reflections on Art and Multiple Temporality

Mario’s Time: Ethnographic Reflections on Art and Multiple Temporality

28. 02. 2024

Presentation by Maruška Svašek, Monday, May 13, 2 PM.

The presentation zooms in on the life and works of the Czech artist Marius Kotrba. Taking a holistic approach to artistic production and temporality, it draws on new materialism, the anthropology of time, and the work of the Czech philosopher Miroslav Petříček (2009) to explores the affective relationality of humans and material things. Central to the argument is that human life, both within and outside worlds of art, cannot take place without (1) physical movement in time and space, (2) emerging bodily sensations and emotions, and (3) ongoing processes of making, becoming and entanglement. In this relational process, both human producers and the tangible products of their activities have dynamic social lives. The concrete, visible results of making gain new meanings, values, and impact as they are presented and incorporated in changing socio-historical, spatial, and affective settings. This is not only the case during the lifetime of art producers, but also posthumously.

To understand the process, it is necessary to incorporate, but go beyond, a chronological art historical perspective. Additional temporal perspectives that will be examined during the presentation include the temporality of growing oeuvres, the specific times of making, care, and curatorship, the ups and downs of fluctuating careers, the dynamics of artists’ routines within and beyond worlds of art, and art-focused processes of embodied remembering and anticipation.


Maruška Svašek is Professor of Anthropology at Queens University Belfast (UK), Co-Director of the Centre for Creative Ethnography, and Fellow of the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice. At present she is Visiting Fellow at the Czech Academy of Science, at the Institute of Ethnology. Her main research interests include migration, art/efacts, politics and emotions. In the last ten years, her work has brought these strands together, exploring the affective relationality of humans, artefacts and spaces in an era of globalization, transnational connectivity and environmental change. At present, she is working on a book on art and the politics of visibility in Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic. Her publications include Ethnographies of Movement, Sociality and Space: Place-Making in the New Northern Ireland (2018, with Milena Komarova), Creativity in Transition: Politics and Aesthetics of Cultural Production Across the Globe (2016, with Birgit Meyer), Emotions and Human Mobility: Ethnographies of Movement (2012), Moving Subjects, Moving Objects: Transnationalism, Cultural Production and Emotions (2012), Anthropology, Art and Cultural Production (2007), Postsocialism: Politics and Emotions in Central and Eastern Europe (2006) and Mixed Emotions: Anthropological Studies of Feelings (2005, with Kay Milton).

Institute of Ethnology, Czech Academy of Sciences, Na Florenci 3, Praha 1