Chapter 8. The Shamanic and Archeological Imperative of Contemporary Art

Stag and Stone - Religion, Archaeology and Esoteric Aesthetics - Jay Johnston

Jay Johnston [+-]
University of Sydney
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Dr Jay Johnston (B.A., M.Art Admin., M.Litt(Dist), M.A.Hons, PhD) is an interdisciplinary researcher who utilises her training in religious studies, continental philosophy, gender studies, and art history to investigate theories of the intermediary, or 'in between', and its role in religious belief and practice. In particular she rethinks theories of embodiment, agency, image and materiality and their use in the construction of individual identity, religious belief and the negotiation of cultural difference. Current projects include investigating the proposition of 'prehistoric religion' and the interpretation of artefacts, images and texts of ritual power. Specific areas of interest include cultural exchange in Late Antiquity and Scottish and Norse cultures pre1400. Previous research has focused on energetic concepts of embodiment (subtle bodies), forms of intermediary subjectivity and diverse spiritual epistemologies. Dr Johnston has also undertaken curatorial and research projects that explore religious aesthetics including viewer experience, the cultivation of perception and the interrelation of aesthetics and ethics.


Evaluates the turn towards shamanic and archaeological themes in recent contemporary art, critically analysing the engagement with the disciplines of archaeology and religion. Specifically considers what these practices offer both disciplines by way of critique of their normative concept formations while also highlighting the productive potential for increased intersubjective dialogue and practice.

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Johnston, Jay. Chapter 8. The Shamanic and Archeological Imperative of Contemporary Art. Stag and Stone - Religion, Archaeology and Esoteric Aesthetics. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jan 2021. ISBN 9781781793381. Date accessed: 21 Nov 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.27300. Jan 2021

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