[artinfo] CFP: Reconsidering Walter Benjamin (Leeds, 6-8 Apr 06)

zolyom franciska fzolyom at freemail.hu
Wed May 4 12:09:23 CEST 2005

Dátum: Wed, 4 May 2005 07:23:48 +0200
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Tárgy: CFP: Reconsidering Walter Benjamin (Leeds, 6-8 Apr 06)

"A Tremendous Shattering of Tradition": Reconsidering Walter
Benjamin's 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction'

Association of Art Historians
University of Leeds
6.4. - 8.4. 2006


Association of Art Historians Annual Conference:
(University of Leeds, UK, 6. 4. - 8. 4. 2006)

Academic Session: "A Tremendous Shattering of Tradition":
Reconsidering Walter Benjamin's 'The Work of Art in the Age of
Mechanical Reproduction'

Session Abstract:

This session will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publication
of Walter Benjamin's seminal essay 'Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner
technischen Reproduzierbarkeit', translated into English by Harry Zohn
in 1968 (year of revolutionary discontent) as 'The Work of Art in the
Age of Mechanical Reproduction'.

In 1936 the essay offered a challenge not only to Fascist
appropriations of art, but also to conventional Marxist aesthetics as
well as to phenomenological theorisations of art - witness its
problematic reception by Adorno and others, its expressed discontent
with what it sees as depoliticised modes of aesthetic engagement, and
its analysis of "a world without aura" (Rodolphe Gasché). These
challenges are repeated in different ways in the essay's influence on
the turbulent intellectual scene of the late 1960s. It has contributed
significantly to the development of both Marxist and postmodernist
theorisations of culture, as well as to the ongoing art-historical
reassessment of the art work and its roles in contemporary
media-dominated societies. In short, Benjamin's essay constitutes a
major, if continually contested, contribution to debates about
modernism and postmodernism that retain their currency in the age of
digital reproduction, "a period when politics as spectacle has become
a commonplace in our televisual world", as Susan Buck-Morss argues.

The essay's perennial appeal to discontented Marxist and other modes
of reading modern and postmodern art may constitute one line of
enquiry. Papers are also sought that will explore the essay's
continuing significance for contemporary theories, practices and
histories of art. The essay has exerted a profound influence on the
work of key theorists (eg October) and practitioners (Warhol, Burgin,
Sherman); papers may wish to explore or assess aspects or examples
this influence. Other topics might include Benjamin's notions of the
aura of the art work, of originality, of reproduction; changes in the
significance for art history of mechanical and other forms of
reproduction; the implications and consequences of accommodating
photography and film (Benjamin's exemplary modern media) within the
configurations of art historical practice, and the essay's
contribution to current debates about inter- and trans-disciplinarity
(the 'contents' of the discipline of art history); the essay-form
itself as exemplifying politicised, interventionist aesthetic
practices of modernist and postmodernist malcontents; the essay itself
considered as a work of art, enacting its own arguments in
fragmentary, inconsistent forms; and considerations of the various
publication contexts and initial critical receptions of and responses
to Benjamin's essay.

Papers are invited that address these and other topics in relation to
reconsiderations of Benjamin's essay.

Details for Submission of Proposals:

Papers must not exceed 30 minutes. Please email a 200 word abstract
the session convenors before the 11th November 2005. Include the title
of your paper, your full name and contact details and institutional
affiliation (if applicable).

Session chairs / organisers: Patricia Allmer, Loughborough University
School of Art and Design, Epinal Way, Loughborough LE11 3TU,
sears at allmer.fsnet.co.uk

John Sears, Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire),
Interdisciplinary Studies, Hassall Road, Alsager ST7 2HL,
J.Sears at mmu.ac.uk

Please note that the call for papers for all the conference sessions
will be published in the June edition of the AAH Bulletin and at the
AAH website: www.aah.org.uk


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