CFP: Scalability and its Limits in Photography and (Digital) Sculpture

Workshop at the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, July 19 to 21, 2023.

Organized by: Ursula Ströbele (ZIKG Munich), Maria Männig (RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau), Buket Altinoba (LMU Munich), Dominik Schrey (University of Passau)

The workshop aims to focus on scaling as a cultural technique, and as an imaging practice fundamentally based on procedures of measuring, scanning, transforming, and projecting objects in time and space. Investigating the manifold intersections between two- and three-dimensionality, the workshop will examine these relations from an art history, image science, and media studies perspective. We will discuss questions of scalability and the non-scalable (Tsing 2012), with a focus on photography and (digital) sculpture. This discussion is based on the observation that these two fields are increasingly entangled with each other. The idea of merging several dimensions is now considered state of the art, both in contemporary (digitized) photographic practices and in the field of digital sculpture. In this context, we are particularly interested in exploring the limits of scalability, the aesthetics of disruption, and glitches that may result from engaging with these limits.

The use of technology to scale and measure objects, such as sculptures and spaces, raises questions about the relationship between the real and the virtual, and the role of art and technology in mediating this relationship. Tools, instruments, and (reproduction) machines have been a marginalized field of art historical research. In this workshop, we will examine them as objects, processes, and representations of art and technology in historical and interdisciplinary perspective (Cordez/Krüger 2012). However, these instruments also have a significant impact on how we perceive and interact with our surroundings. Neither time nor space exist independently of cultural techniques of scaling (Balke/Siegert/Engell 2017), while scales are the “outcomes of social, cultural and technopolitical processes” (Hecht 2018). This makes it necessary to rethink the politics of scaling and the ‘thresholds of the detectable’ (Weizman 2017) that might emerge from it. Therefore, we will explore the ethical and political implications of scaling.

Questions of scalability have always been a central concern in the history of photography. More recently, these questions have been rephrased for a post-digital media ecology by Dvořák/Parikka (2021) and others. However, scalability is also a decisive parameter for the expanded field of sculpture, especially in a digital context. “The size is nothing; what matters is the scale,” Barnett Newman said already in 1969. While in Abstract Expressionism, Minimal, and Post Minimal Art, the body is still considered a reference size for the scaling of sculptural objects, this instance of orientation and distancing is of little relevance on the screen. What needs to be illuminated, therefore, are the questions of how modes of perception change and with which methodological heuristics we encounter reproducible works oscillating between digitality and physical facticity when sculptures circulate online as files and can be printed directly on site in various sizes (and materials). This potentially variable treatment of dimensional relations and the associated translation processes question the constancy of spatial relations, site specificity, and a ‘somatic scale’ (Meyer 2004).

It is the workshop’s objective to continue and deepen these ongoing discussions by examining the relationship and interplay of photography and sculpture in terms of scaling and measurement practices. We welcome contributions from the broader fields of art history, media and cultural studies, and the history of science, among others. Submissions can discuss specific case studies or broader theoretical/methodological aspects of dealing with scalability in photography and (digital) sculpture.

There are a few spaces remaining for the workshop. If interested, please send an abstract of no more than 300 words including a short CV (max. one page) to Maria Männig ( maria.maennig [at] ) and Dominik Schrey ( dominik.schrey [at] ) by March 19, 2023.

Diesen Blogbeitrag zitieren
agfotografie (2023, 7. März). CFP: Scalability and its Limits in Photography and (Digital) Sculpture. Fotografieforschung. Abgerufen am 14. Juni 2024, von

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