Image Matter: Art and Materiality (Manchester, November 6, 2015)

1920295_10101429075333985_729639212555295849_n[1]Call for papers deadline: Aug 1, 2015

Image Matter: Art and Materiality
AAH New Voices Conference
MIRIAD, Manchester Metropolitan University
6 November 2015

Keynote: Professor Carol Mavor (University of Manchester)

How do art historians interpret matter? And how about artists, makers,
theorists and critics? Much recent art historical and visual culture
literature has argued for the reinstatement of the bodily and the
material in art and its encounter, rejecting the pre-eminence of a
disembodied eye in favour of a wider range of somatic responses:
touching, hearing, tasting, smelling. Similarly, the material
physicality of the art object in its myriad forms—surface, texture,
weight, spatial extension, sound etc—has recaptured our attention.

New Voices 2015 will explore approaches to materiality and the material
in light of developing discourses that implicate art history, as well
as visual and material culture studies. Even if there has been a
‘material turn’, James Elkins (2008) argues that art history remains
fearful of the material: ‘art history, visual studies,
Bildwissenschaft, and art theory take an interest in materiality
provided that the examples of materiality remain at an abstract or
general level …’. If the sensorium of seeing, tasting, feeling and
hearing exceeds the rationality of disciplinary categories and the
systematisation of knowledge, how can writing about and through art
accommodate affective objects? How have artists negotiated the conflict
of a spectatorship, which disregards hapticity, surface and substance?
How do traditions of connoisseurship engage with contemporary theories
of materiality?

As a ‘somaesthetic’ approach of beholding (re)gains currency the
primacy of sight decreases (for example, in the re evaluation of
medieval artefacts that were touched, kissed and smelled).
Alternatively, vision may at least be understood as opening haptic and
experiential exchanges between object and maker, object and viewer. But
perhaps the questionable pre-eminence of visuality also evidences an
increased derogation of manual labour in lieu of what is perceived as
more cerebral, more elevated from the yucky material of bodily
production. New Voices 2015 takes place within the intellectual and
creative space of the art school, the messy realm of art production. It
therefore asks how (the) material and its associated places of
production and ‘consumption’—from the studio to the gallery—can be
integrated in the discourses of art history and its objects.
New Voices welcomes contributions from all periods and contexts which
address the relationship between visual and material studies and
practices. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

•    Haptic encounters with artworks (incl. performative, virtual,
conceptual works)
•    Historiographic reflections on attitudes towards material(ity)
•    Explorations on the relationships between visuality and materiality
•    Historiographic and methodological approaches to the material of
art (and its making)
•    Social, technological, historical and cultural contextualisations
of the material turn
•    Art and materiality in a digital age

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers should be
submitted along with a 100-word biographical note to by 1 August 2015. Although the conference is
open to all, speakers are required to be AAH members. Convenors: Liz
Mitchell, Rosalinda Quintieri, Tilo Reifenstein and Charlotte Stokes.

New Voices are annual, one-day conferences of new doctoral scholarship
that take place at different universities throughout the UK.


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