CONF : Working on Things (Berlin, 21-22 Nov 16)


Working on Things. On the Social, Political, and Economic History of Collected Objects


Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum, Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1/3, 10117 Berlin

Venue : Lecture Hall of the main library at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, November 21 – 22, 2016
Registration deadline: Nov 13, 2016

Various kinds of work have to be invested in objects before they become worthy of collection, before they can be researched, preserved, and exhibited. Work on the dinosaur skeleton of Brachiosaurus brancai in Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde, for example, extended far beyond the decades of the fossil’s preparation in the Museum. This object’s history also includes the colonial forced labour on cotton plantations in German East Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century that produced the packing material necessary for transporting the findings to Europe. Such figurations of work across time and space form the focus of the conference: Which materials and what kinds of immaterial labour were necessary to acquire or produce a given object, in order to transport it, examine it, exhibit it, or valuate it? What existing knowledge, and which social, political, and legal conditions characterized this work? What types of materials, tools, or techniques were used?

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CONF : Art & Market : Alienation or Emancipation? St.Gallen, November 17-18, 2016

unistgallenInternational congress organised by the Research committee Sociology of Arts and Culture (RC-SAC) of the Swiss Sociological Association (SGS) and the Institute of Sociology of the University of St.Gallen (SfS-UNISG), Switzerland

The market plays an ambivalent role in the sociological analysis of art. Some authors suggest it implies commodification or even bondage of art. From this point of view, the accursed artist – who continues to create pieces of art even if he is not selling them – may become an epitome of authentic creation.

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