Call for Papers | Before Publication, Montage

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on March 16, 2012

Before Publication: Montage Between Privacy and Publicity
Zurich, 28-29 September 2012

Proposals due by 30 April 2012

Idea and Conception: Dr. des. Nanni Baltzer (Institute for Art History, University of Zurich) and Dr. Martino Stierli (Institute for the History and Theory of Architeture (gta), ETH Zurich)

At the moment of their going to press, publications irreversibly reach their definite form. At the same time, they also reach an audience. What is frequently forgotten in this process is that printing is preceded by several, sometimes complex steps towards the construction and montage of (visual) meaning. This conference sees these constructions of meaning as montages, and addresses the materials and processes involved before publication. Our focus is on concrete artistic and visual artifacts such as scrapbooks, diaries, book mock-ups, and press layouts by artists, authors, and graphic designers. In particular, we intend to shed light on the relationship between the spheres of privacy and publicity. This aspect has so far received only sparse attention, whereas questions concerning the historical genealogy of montage and collage as well their theoretical bases have increasingly been addressed in more recent research.

The conference is divided into two sections:

1) In the private realm: scrapbooks and diaries

2) For the public domain: layouts and mock-ups

Scrapbooks and diaries are for normally intended as a collection of intimate memories and souvenirs or as a kind of personal archive. They are usually only published posthumously, as documentary material or in the sense of an autonomous artistic expression. In contrast, press or book publications usually lack the mock-ups, i.e. the layout and mock-ups consisting of text and image montages. Depending on the archival situation, the more or less numerous steps that lead to a publication can be reconstructed only in singular cases in order to shed light on the production processes as well as the author’s intentions.

Products of the press are from the very beginning intended for a larger audience and aim to trigger a particular reaction by the public. For this reason, they are of high interest with regard to questions of aesthetic response. In this respect, the most important issue is how books and magazines are being produced by authors, photographers, graphic designers, and editors in reference to their audience. The relationship of montage to politics and propaganda remains to be discussed, but also questions concerning the interpretative strategies that allow for the construction of an (intended) meaning. Possible key questions on specific case studies include: the unfinished in the production of meaning through montage; the relationship of text and image; montage in press and book; ‘tabular’ montage as spatial dispositif for the production of meaning.

The focus of the conference will be on the presentation and interpretation of artifacts for which the concepts of montage, collage, and assemblage form a productive frame of reference. Individual case studies are not limited to a certain historical epoch, but should address one of the two sections sketched out above. Contributions on pre-modern subjects are explicitly welcome. We invited interested individuals from art and architectural history, history and cultural studies as well as related disciplines to send a 250-word abstract and short cv to Nanni Baltzer and Martino Stierli (nannibaltzer@gmx.net, martino.stierli@gta.arch.ethz.ch) by April 30, 2012.

Confirmations will be sent out by end of May, 2012. The definitive program will by communicated by the end of May 2012. The conference will take place in Zurich on September 28 and 29, 2012. The conference is co-organized by the Institute for Art History of the University of Zurich and the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta), ETH Zurich. Depending on funding, grants for travel and accommodation will be made available. A selection of the contributions will be published.

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