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Film Screening: Pottery in China

May 23, 2013

A documentary about the manufacturing of pottery in China was shown on May 23, 2013, at 7 pm, at the Karl Jaspers Centre in room 212. The film entitled “Abgedreht! China töpfert bodennah” focuses on specific body techniques and was produced by Anette Mertens with filmmaker Christof Thurnherr.

The ethnological film project "Abgedreht! China töpfert bodennah" does not only depict how porcelain objects are created in China, but also focuses on specific body postures and movements, which are constitutive for their production. Within the framework of two excursions, the film team visited three different porcelain manufactures in Jingdezhen and documented the daily life of the ceramicists based on participant observation. The documentary exemplifies how practices of embodied knowledge are culturally conditioned and transmitted. Implicitly, the film also raises the question of differences and commonalities regarding these practices in Asia and Europe and provides a valuable case study for discussing a potential transcultural perspective.

The film was shown on May 23 at 7 pm at the Karl Jaspers Centre. The documentary was presented by its producer Anette Mertens who gave a short introduction to the film project before the screening.

Anette Mertens is ceramicist, sinologist and ethnologist. She is responsible for the East-Asian porcelain database of the “Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation – Berlin-Brandenburg”. Furthermore, she was visiting curator of the exhibition “Abgedreht! China töpfert bodennah” at the Ethnographic Museum Zurich.

The film screening was part of the Symposium "Re-Thinking Artistic Knowledge Production". It is organised by Franziska Koch (Heidelberg University) and Samantha Schramm (University of Konstanz), who are members of the DFG network "Media of Collective Intelligence". It is hosted by the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and chaired by Monica Juneja, Cluster Professorship of Global Art History.


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  • Ceramic Painting (Source: China at Work/Anette Mertens)