Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures lecture series

Playlist

Details and Transcripts

Hidden Treasures from Afghanistan

Dr J. Patrick Greene | 26 March 2013

In this lecture Dr. Greene discusses the stories behind the objects in the Hidden Treasures exhibition as well as the challenges and benefits of bringing this exhibition to Australia.

'Armchair archaeology' in Afghanistan: The possibilities and pitfalls

David Thomas | 9 May 2013

In this lecture David Thomas discusses satellite imagery and its use in contemporary archaeology in Afghanistan.

David Thomas is an Honorary Research Associate at La Trobe University and currently works for Ochre Imprints, a leading archaeological consultancy in Melbourne. He has a tendency to stare at satellite images in his spare time.

Cultural Heritage Preservation in a Cyber World: The possibilities and pitfalls

Dora Constantinidis | 6 June 2013

In this lecture Dora Constantinidis considers whether the future can save the past and whether the explosion of digital technologies may provide a solution.

Dora Constantinidis, whose archaeological research focuses on the Middle East and the Aegean, is an expert in the use of computer technology in gathering and analysing archaeological data.

Preserving Afghanistan's Rich Heritage

Robyn Sloggett | 20 June 2013

Afghanistan’s cultural objects tell the stories of some of the world’s most significant events, interactions and exchanges. They have been collected as part of war and conquest, peace and scholarship, through legitimate trade and illegal looting, and are preserved in institutions around the world.

In this lecture Robyn Sloggett examines the ways in which these rare and precious objects have been cared for and explores the threats that make cultural objects vulnerable to destruction, deterioration and loss.

Contemporary War: A message from Afghanistan

Lyndell Brown and Charles Green | 4 July 2013

In 2007, Brown and Green were appointed Australian Official War Artists - as “contemporary” war artists in that immensely high profile tradition. They were deployed for six weeks in combat zones and remote military bases (both Australian and U.S. bases) across Iraq, the Gulf and Afghanistan, later finishing a 33-painting commission and a series of mural-size photographs documenting those wars for the Australian War Memorial. As critic Ray Edgar noted, “If the Australian military was after a gung-ho endorsement of the Iraq conflict, clearly they had recruited the wrong troops.”

Their method was to work with documentary objectivity in apparently neutral but very large photographs of silence and stillness, or apparently literal, extremely austere paintings of dust and emptiness.

In a 2008 feature in the pages of the Melbourne Age, Andrew Stephens assessed their contribution as follows: “CNN, YouTube and the World War II, Korea and Vietnam films that have flooded out of Hollywood have brought war images much closer for civilians, vigorously shaping perceptions. Even so, such imagery emphasises constant action. In the art of Brown and Green, the results are wholly different: stillness and the “quiet looking things” of Streeton strongly characterise their work, yet there is much to be seen. Their paintings and photographs, made after a six-week tour of Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf are, like their other work, complex and layered but much more firmly grounded in direct representation of what they saw amid a symphony of gravel, sand, dust and bomb-blast barricades. In some ways, they resemble grand 18th-century landscapes, carefully composed and steeped in one of war's overwhelming yet little-documented qualities: the state of interminable waiting.”

Dr Lyndell Brown is a Melbourne-based artist. Charles Green is Professor of Contemporary Art and Head of Art History at the University of Melbourne. Since 1989, they have worked in collaboration as one artist. In early 2007 they were Australia's Official Artists, working on location for the Australian War Memorial with the Australian Defence forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf.

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