Picturing the State. Political Representation, Infrastructure, and Visual Culture in Kuwait

Hindelang, Laura Katharina (2 June 2018). Picturing the State. Political Representation, Infrastructure, and Visual Culture in Kuwait (Unpublished). In: Art, Materiality and Representation. British Museum; School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS). 01. - 03.06.2018.

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Following the argument that infrastructures can be ascribed a political function beyond or even irrespective of their technological functionality, I propose that their significance can be assessed based on their aesthetic (architectural) form or based on their negotiated representation in visual culture. As a case study, this paper analyses the first Kuwaiti postage stamps (1959) and first national paper money (1961), of which the majority displayed illustrations of infrastructural projects completed during the 1950s. Considering the project of decolonial nation building in Kuwait at the time, the paper discusses how political claims are expressed in visual representations of infrastructural projects on stamps and paper money, two elements often considered benchmarks of sovereignty and mobile carriers of political messages. Methodologically, I used an interdisciplinary approach combining art historical formal analysis of stamps and paper money in the tradition of a political iconography (Warnke 2010, Fleckner/Wagner/Ziegler 2011) with the theoretical framework of an anthropology of infrastructure. Thus, stamps, coins, and paper money are conceptualized as infrastructures themselves, objects that enabling the systemic movement of values and images. I argued that the illustrations of infrastructures on these stamps and paper money became new political iconographies of the emerging petro-state of Kuwait. By being displayed on stamps and money that circulate in everyday life, these objects materialized a new infrastructure of the emerging state.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History > History of Architecture and Historic Monuments
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Art History

UniBE Contributor:

Hindelang, Laura Katharina

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
700 Arts
700 Arts > 720 Architecture
700 Arts > 740 Drawing & decorative arts

Language:

English

Submitter:

Laura Katharina Hindelang

Date Deposited:

16 Jun 2020 10:00

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2020 10:00

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/143302

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