Call for Articles | Special Issue of ‘Perspective’ on Multiples

Posted in Calls for Papers by Editor on August 3, 2018

Utagawa Kunisada (1786–1864), Shokunin (Artisans), 1857, woodblock, triptych, mitate
(London: The British Museum, 1907,0531,0.204)

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From the English Call for Papers (with the French version available here). . .

Perspective: actualité en histoire de l’art 2019.2
Special Issue on Multiples

Proposals due by 24 September 2018; full texts due by 30 April 2019

Using the notion of multiples, the next thematic issue of Perspective: actualité en histoire de l’art (2019.2) will examine the issue of mechanical reproduction. Though the phrasing inevitably refers to Walter Benjamin and his famous essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935–36), this call for papers does not intend to limit the scope of contributions to the mass reproduction pertaining to the advent of photography and cinema, but to embrace all the means of reproduction, ranging from the most traditional, such as bronzes, terracottas, and coins, to the most contemporary related to the rise of new technologies, while not neglecting engraving, screen printing, or lithography. The aim is to analyze the ways in which reproductive techniques influence the production of works of art, while disturbing ontological presuppositions that oppose the original to its copy, the aura to inauthenticity, ritual value to exhibition value.

Starting from Walter Benjamin’s statement that “in principle the work of art has always been reproducible,” this propensity for multiplication, which may appear to be a work of art’s vital principle, does not signify the same reality in different geo-cultural periods and areas. Furthermore, is the distinction between the original and its copy a fact of modern Western culture which, since the eighteenth century and the rise of the art market, has celebrated the gure of the author and invented the notion of genius? A series of questions emerges and among them, to list just a few at random: To what needs—aesthetic, historical, anthropological, political, economic, etc.—does this propensity for multiplication that is a characteristic of artworks respond? What are the different modalities of the dialectical relationship between the original and its reproduction? Can we distinguish different phases within the history of reproduction? In what way does the advent of mass reproduction techniques constitute a turning point in the production and dissemination of artworks? Does the successive appearance of different techniques that rely on an increasingly complex apparatus which downgrades the hand in favor of the eye necessarily lead to the disappearance of the craft? Can we imagine the very existence of the aura outside of techniques of mass reproduction?

Furthermore, this issue will focus on all possible forms of multiples produced by means of mechanical reproduction processes, from the most rudimentary to the most elaborate, within a broader theoretical and geographical perspective that will give full weight to the periods preceding our own, as well as non-Western production. Though the journal is dedicated to artworks, heritage, history of architecture and urbanism, archeology, or museography, it also welcomes articles on photography, cinema, performance, dance, design, music, theater, and all forms of hybridization that the encounters of these different media can produce, provided that they are considered through the lens of visual history. Regardless of the subject proposed, contributions should follow the editorial guidelines of Perspective which publishes articles (25,000 or 45,000 characters) offering historiographical surveys of fundamental questions and/or which embody current trends in the discipline within the proposed topic.

Please submit your proposals (2,000–3,000 character summary and a 2–3 line biography) to the editorial address (revue-perspective@inha.fr) by Monday, 24 September 2018. The journal will take responsibility for translations if necessary. Proposals will be examined by the editorial committee of the issue, regardless of the language of submission. Authors of selected articles will be informed of the committee’s decision in October 2018 while full texts of accepted contributions will be due by the end of April 2019.

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