logi­ques du négatif

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Logi­ques du Négatif: Tech­ni­ques et méta­phores de l’empreinte / Logic of the Nega­tive : Tech­ni­ques and meta­phors of imprin­ting 

Inter­na­tional scho­larly rese­arch network, 2022–2024

The network aims to explore imprin­ting, defined as a contact between two surfaces or two bodies, as 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. In diffe­rent civi­li­sa­tions, prac­tices of imprin­ting 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. Logic of the Nega­tive builds on this work and explores new areas left on the margins of Didi-Huberman’s project, for example, tech­ni­ques such as gem engra­ving and blown glass, as well as rubbing and print­ma­king in non-Western prac­tices, in parti­cular Chinese contexts. In close dialogue with thin­kers like Gilbert Simondon and Hans Blumen­berg, the emphasis is on the multi-layered meta­pho­rical and trans­cul­tural dimen­sions of imprint.

The rese­arch network met for a first work­shop on 23 March, 2023 in Louvain-la-Neuve. The second meeting was held in Berlin on 30 and 31 May, 2023 as an inter­na­tional confe­rence spon­sored by the Thyssen Foun­da­tion, and the third meeting is being held on 15 and 16 May, 2024 at the Univer­sité de Fribourg.

Scien­tific board: Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin (scien­tific coor­di­nator); Kath­leen Chris­tian, Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin; Ralph Deko­ninck, Univer­sité Catho­lique de Louvain; Jérémie Koering, Univer­sité de Fribourg

Current members of the network: Buket Alti­noba, Ludwig-Maxi­mi­lians-Univer­sität München; Jennifer Chuong, Harvard Univer­sity / Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin; Chari Larsson, Grif­fith Univer­sity, Queens­land; Jeffrey Moser, Brown Univer­sity, USA; Ruth Noyes, National Museum, Copen­hagen; Nicolas Sarzeaud, Univer­sité Lyon II-Lumière; Jakub Stejskal, Masaryk Univer­sity, Brno

Supported by: Humboldt-Univer­sität zu Berlin, Univer­sité Catho­lique de Louvain, Univer­sité de Fribourg 

Plaster casts after clas­sical engraved gems, © The Trus­tees of the British Museum