Reloading Catalogs. New Perspectives on Critical and Computational Approaches to Art Catalogs International Forum (September 18-20, 2019)

Organized by

Universidad de Málaga (Spain) / ArtCatalog Project

In collaboration with

Cátedra Picasso Fundación Málaga

Cátedra Estratégica de Tecnologías de Vanguardias en Humanidades

Grupo de Estudios Artísticos y Visuales (GEAV)

Comité Español de Historia del Arte (CEHA)

Sociedad Internacional de Humanidades Digitales Hispánicas (HDH)

The catalogue is one of the narrative and epistemological structures that has had the greatest impact on the construction and modelling of artistic knowledge, and on the creation of its narratives and discourse (by legitimizing or delegitimizing them). In fact, the construction of art history is based on a process of categorizing cultural products, and on a dynamics involving inclusions and exclusions, the formation of hierarchies and silences, of which the catalogue is a fundamental instrument. Therefore, unveiling the mechanisms underlying the processes of producing catalogues as generators and mediators of knowledge, materialized in diverse narratives and discourses; and, investigating the model of knowledge involved in them is of vital importance to be able to understand, on the one hand, the reason why we know (and hence study) artistic facts in a particular way and, on the other, how the complex and variable epistemological and discursive framework of Art History has been constructed throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries.

Under the title Catalogs Reload: New Perspectives on Critical and Computational Approaches to Art Catalogs, the purpose of this international forum is to explore the conditions, genealogies and histories underlying the production of catalogs up to now, in order to be able to open a discussion about the new directions that research on catalogs and cataloguing practices will take –or should take- in years to come. The forum will have a dual approach: critical, dealing with issues related to classification systems as colonial epistemologies, catalogs as power structures and legitimizing discourses, genealogies of catalogs, alternative catalogs, etc.; and techno-digital, more oriented to computational problems, databases, digital editions, or new forms of computational classification with Artificial Intelligence.

The forum will be structured around two sections:

September 18-19, sessions will follow a traditional format with presentations, discussions and round tables.

September 20, the workshop Digital Catalogs. Toward Interoperability, under the coordination of Nuria Rodríguez-Ortega and Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel, will take place. This workshop continues the discussion initiated in Paris at École normale supérieure inFebruary 2019. The white paper about catalogues’ databases interoperability coming up from that meeting will be presented and discussed.

In order to expand the scope of the forum, we are pleased to announce a CFP: scholars interested in participating with a contribution in any of the session (or both), are welcomed, and pleased to send a text of maximum 300-words, along with a short bio-bibliography (100 words) to Deadline; September 5th, 2019.

We particularly, but certainly not exclusively, welcome papers, either in Spanish or in English, on the following topics:

  • – Genealogies of art catalogs
  • – Inventories, lists, catalogs and other writing techniques to record cultural artifacts
  • – Art catalogs as cultural and epistemic artifacts
  • – Catalogs and visual epistemologies
  • – Colonialism practices and classification systems
  • – Catalogs as regimes of inclusion and exclusion
  • – Accumulation technologies and cataloguing practices: Point of frictions
  • – History and evolution of art catalogs
  • – Art catalogs, cataloguing practices and Artificial Intelligence
  • – Art catalogs databases
  • – Art catalogs: formalization, data models and ontologies
  • – Art catalogs: data analysis and visualization strategies

Together the ArtCatalog Project Team and the Cátedra Picasso Fundación Picasso team, invited speakers already confirmed are:

  • Geoffrey Bowker (UC Irvine) (Opening Lecture)
  • Anne Helmreich (Getty Research Institute)
  • Elizabeth Honig (UC Berkeley)
  • Béatrice Joyeux-Prunel (formerly Ecole normale supérieure, Paris; newly : Université de Genève, Swizzerland)
  • Reyes Carrasco Garrido (Head of Collections. Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte of Spain)
  • Christian Huemer (Head, Belvedere Research Center, Vienna)
  • Rosario Peiró (Chief Curator of Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía)
  • Raphael Rosenberg (University of Vienna)
  • Sarah Turner (Paul Mellon Centre, London)
  • Manuel Fontán (Fundación Joan March)
  • Antoinette Friedenthal (Independent scholar, Postdam)
  • Lijljana Kolešnik (Universidad de Zagreb)

This forum opens a series of events that will delve into new forms of categorizing cultural phenomena, artifacts, forms, images and processes.

The attendance to the forum both as listener and as presenter is free. We encourage anyone interested in getting involved in this crucial conversation to join use next September in Málaga.