Contact: Trans­cul­tural Tech­ni­ques and Meta­phors of Imprin­ting (30–31 May)

9. April 2023

With the explo­sion of new repro­duc­tive tech­no­lo­gies starting in the fifte­enth century, anti­qui­ties were among the most sought-after subjects for copies, repro­duc­tions, impres­sions, seals, casts and moulds. Although there has been exten­sive rese­arch on anti­qua­rian prints and other types of repre­sen­ta­tions of anti­qui­ties, less has been written about the tech­ni­ques and processes of contact with anti­qui­ties and the meaning assi­gned to these processes. Was physical contact with ruins and remains prio­ri­tised? What methods were employed in repro­du­cing anti­qui­ties? What are the broader tech­nical and intellec­tual impli­ca­tions of copying, measu­ring, and resca­ling antique objects?

These ques­tions are among those explored by the rese­arch group Logi­ques du négatif. The network aims to explore imprin­tingdefined as a contact between two surfaces or two bodiesas an act rooted in the history of tech­nique as well as in the artistic imagi­na­tion. It considers rubbings, prints, impres­sions, casts and other forms of imprin­ting in a broad histo­rical and trans­cul­tural context. Prac­tices of imprin­ting, in diffe­rent civi­li­sa­tions, evoke Issues of presence and absence, repro­duc­tion and imita­tion, iden­tity and difference.

The group draws inspi­ra­tion from Georges Didi-Huberman’s ground­brea­king exhi­bi­tion L’em­preinte (1997) and book La ressem­blance par contact (2008), which charted atti­tudes and meanings that imprints have mobi­lized throug­hout Western (art) history. Logi­ques du négatif builds on this work and explores new areas left on the margins of Didi-Huberman’s project, for example, tech­ni­ques such as seal-making and print­ma­king in non-Western prac­tice, in parti­cular Chinese contexts. Its emphasis is on the multi-layered meta­pho­rical and trans­cul­tural dimen­sions of imprint.

Logi­ques du négatif met for a first work­shop on 23 March, 2023 in Louvain-la-Neuve.

The next meeting will be held in Berlin on 30 and 31 May, 2023, with an inter­na­tional confe­rence spon­sored by the Thyssen Foundation:

Contact: Trans­cul­tural Tech­ni­ques and Meta­phors of Imprinting

30 May, CARMAH, Centre for Anthro­po­lo­gical Rese­arch on Museums and Heri­tage — Institut für Euro­päi­sche Ethnologie

31 May, Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum, Confe­rence Room

Spea­kers will include:

Stefano de Bosio,
Kath­leen Christian,
Jennifer Chuong,
Ralph Deko­nick,
Patricia Falguières,
Jérémie Koering,
Carl Knap­pett,
Chari Larsson,
Johanna Malt,
Jeffrey Moser,
Ruth Noyes,
Verity Platt,
Nicolas Sarzeaud,
Steffen Siegelt,
Markus Spaeth,
Jakob Steiskal,
Vero­nika Tocha

Further details and the complete confe­rence program are posted here.