Talk with Mark E. Frank & Magnus Bärtås + Nora Taylor

October 2022

‘Art as Research: Microhistory as Method’

Called the ‘science of real life’ by historians Carlo Ginzburg and Carlo Poni, microhistory describes an approach to studying history that employs what we could think of as a microscopic lens, focusing on seemingly irrelevant details, habits and routines, and underlying mentalities. Such studies can serve as ‘histories from below’, giving voice and representation to subjects made silent or abstract in prevailing master narratives.

In this webinar, historian Mark E. Frank and artist Magnus Bärtås will discuss how the concept of microhistory has developed as a research method within their respective fields of study. Mark E. Frank will elaborate on the origins of microhistory in the discipline of history, and will share how artistic visualization has supported his own research in Sino-Tibetan history. Magnus Bärtås will discuss how a mutual exchange can come about between the historical perspective/approach used in microhistory, and visual art, especially the video essay genre, with examples from his own moving image practice.

This program is part of an inter-institutional research exchange between Fulbright University Vietnam and Konstfack – University of Arts, Crafts and Design, funded by a Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education (STINT) Mobility Grant for Internationalization. It also joins the educational programming for ‘Illuminated Curiosities’, an exhibition presented by Nguyen Art Foundation.