Recent art historical emphasis on objects’ biographies and their place in global networks of exchange during the early modern period have drawn increasing interest to the journeys of things, their points of origin, and their final destinations—a field of study perhaps best labeled “Early Modern Logistics.” Taking up this subject, this session aims to enrich our understanding of objects of cultural production – from paintings to pots – by examining them specifically in the context of their transportation.
Deadline: 1 Jun 2022
Understanding the state of movement between the sites of production and reception as a shifting and notionally impermanent context, we hope to examine how logistical demands left their mark on the lives of objects. Lost, broken, stolen, materially or aesthetically modified, bartered, and reclassified, the transported object offers a unique point of entry to explore forms of local knowledge, micro-cultures, and the realities of premodern journeying that remain underrepresented in current art historical discourse.
Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
a) How a consideration of material culture as cargo requires us to rethink traditional art historical concepts
b) How problems posed by climate and terrain influenced the way in which art and objects were packaged, modified, and classified
c) How local customs and knowledge networks intersected in the wider biographical journey of art and objects
d) How objects’ aesthetic properties were altered by, or in conversation with, the requirements of transportation.
e) How the logistical demands of the contemporary moment (shaped by the automation of transport and the globalization of the supply chain) have inflected our understanding of both human agency and the unique requirements of geography, climate, and terrain in early modern logistics (and vice versa).
Offered online as part of the Historians of Eighteenth-Century Art and Architecture (HECAA) Zoom Event Series, “Transporting Culture — Art, Objects, and ‘Early Modern Logistics’” will take place on Thursday, October 20, 2022 as a half-day symposium.
Please submit an abstract of max 300 words along with your CV to Harvey Guy Shepherd (Harvey.Shepherd@courtauld.ac.uk) and Lorne Darnell (Lorne.Darnell@courtauld.ac.uk). Deadline for submission is June 1st, 2022.