‚Ghost Objects‘ – 19th century paper mould techniques and the portability of antiquities

Blog Post – Anna McSweeney July 2016

Among the members of the Bilderfahrzeuge group, we have been thinking recently about  ‚immutable mobiles‘ and the object-oriented theories of Bruno Latour in relation to our work on image vehicles, the movement of images. In his essay ‚Visualisation and Cognition‘, Latour casts inscriptions as the explanatory principle of modern scientific culture. He uses the term ‚immutable mobiles‘ to describe objects which are characterized by the properties of mobility, immutability, presentability, readibility and combinability with each other. He claims that the history of these objects is the history of scholarship in visualisation and cognition.

It seemed to me that paper moulds are a good example of an immutable mobile. Using layers of wet paper to make a negative impression of a building or object, from which a positive could be cast in plaster, paper moulds were used by archaeologists and antiquarians in the mid-nineteenth century to copy the façades of monuments that were far away, at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Palenque in Mexico or the Alhambra in Spain, for example. Described as ‚facsimiles‘ by the inventor of the technique, Lottin de Laval (1810-1903), paper moulds allowed explorers to transport a version of a building or sculpture with all its details back to the museum in the age before both digital reproduction and cheap and reliable photography. Weiterlesen

Conference: Aby Warburg 150. Work. Legacy. Promise.

13 June – 15 June 2016

Venue: UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Conference celebrating the life, work and impact of Aby Warburg including a screening of Aby Warburg: Metamorphosis and Memory (60 minutes. 2016), a film by Judith Wechsler.

On 13-15 June 2016, the Warburg Institute celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Aby Warburg. At the centre of this commemoration is a conference dedicated to his work and heritage. It will reclaim the centrality of Warburg’s thought and vision not only for the London Institute but for the world of international scholarship. A large group of distinguished scholars will discuss the implications of his thought for the history of art, images and cultures. The aim will be not only to illuminate the past, but to reveal the potential of his writings for the debate about contemporary cultural differences as well.

NB: Registration for Sessions 4 & 5 (15th June) has closed, but places are still available for Sessions 1-3 (13th and 14th June). For any queries please email warburg@sas.ac.uk.

All sessions are available to view online via live streaming during the conference. Please click on the appropriate link to be redirected to the live stream:

 Monday 13 June (Day 1)

Tuesday 14 June (Day 2)

 Wednesday 15 June (Day 3)

For the live stream available from Germany (all sessions), please click on the following link:
Live stream from Germany

For more information and the programme of the conference, please visit the Warburg Institute website.

This conference is generously supported by the following organisations:

Max Kohler Stiftung
Martha Pulvermacher Stiftung
Samuel H. Kress Foundation
German Federal Ministry of Education and Research / Bilderfahrzeuge Project
Warburg-Haus

 

Conference: Botticelli

To coincide with the exhibition Botticelli Reimagined, this two-day international conference will explore our perception of Botticelli“s artistic practice, legacy and fame, as well as its impact and reception from fifteenth century to the present. Organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in collaboration with the Warburg Institute and the Bilderfahrzeuge, this event will bring together international scholars to consider how the art of the past remains a principal source for contemporary practice.

This conference is generously supported by the Kress Foundation and the Italian Embassy.

London, 13 & 14 May 2015, 10.30 – 17.00

Buy tickets

Botticelli Conference Programme (as pdf)

NB: This conference is taking place at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre

Victoria and Albert Museum

Cromwell Road

London SW7 2RL