September 12: Janez Janša
Name Readymade is a project presentation dealing with a wide range of
issues related to the “name changing” gesture perpetrated by three
Slovenian artists who, in 2007, legally, and with all the papers and
stamps required, changed their names and assumed the name of the
Slovenian Prime Minister at the time, Janez Janša. Ever since, all their
works, their private and public affairs – in a word, their whole life –
have been conducted under this new name.
It is a parcours through different stages and aspects of the act of name
changing and its consequences, including public, relational and intimate
September 26: Michael Cole
Professor, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
"Leonardo Against Nature"
Leonardo da Vinci’s investigations of nature led him to reflect on the “counter-natural,” a category revived from antiquity that identified art with violence. This paper will examine Leonardo's redefinition of the counter-natural, looking both at his sources and at the significance of his thinking for the understanding of painting ca. 1500.
October 3: Steven Shapin
"'You Are What You Eat': Historical Changes in Ideas about Food and Identity"
The D. Lorne Gales Lecture in the History of Science
6PM Tania Schulich Hall, Faculty of Music
October 13: "Spaces of Hacking" Symposium
2-6PM Notman House, 51 Sherbrooke West
October 25 & 26: “Liquid Intelligence and the Aesthetics of Fluidity" Conference
Théâtre J. Armand Bombardier, McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke Street W
January 23rd: Joanne Latimer
For Love and Money: How to Turn Your Fine Arts Degree into a Paycheque
January 30th: Glenn Peers
Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
Thinking with Things in Byzantium
The first preposition in the title matters to the degree that it not only indicates some mutual work humans and things can do together, but it also supposes agency and determinacy for objects themselves in that culture. So, if objects thought (as this talk will argue), little separated them from human subjects that ostensibly acted on their things. Objects spoke, moved, bled, and acted like humans, though less predictably and perhaps in the way rocks act: without much speed for the most part, but undeniably. By examining some Byzantine things closely, from the point of view of materials, crafting and independent afterlife, this paper tries to reclaim the spread of thinking in that world that our own assumptions have led us to overlook.
February 6th: Cornelius Borck
Professor of History, Theory, and Ethics of Medicine and Science at the University of Lübeck in Germany
The index card as thinking machine: Media, memory and writing in Hans Blumenberg
February 20th: Amy Slaton
Department of History and Politics, Drexel University, Philadelphia PA
Go/No-Go: Measurement, Inscription, and the Legible Industrial Worker
The visual and tactile efforts that constitute modern industrial labor reproduce famously durable social structures. From around 1880 onward, the shop-floor workers, supervisors, and design engineers employed in North American manufacturing increasingly deployed rulers, gages, calipers, bevels and other standardized instruments. Those acts of measurement and comparison, described in this paper, subjected raw materials and finished products to inspection in a sweeping positivist linkage of perception and certainty. They also enlisted workers into the capitalist rationality of stratified wage labor, with variable “capacities” for vision or touch ascribed to each occupational level. Industrial instruments, inscriptions, products and bodies made perfect sense of one another. We follow these layered technical, representational and social processes through to the current day, as they prove themselves now exquisitely suited to emergent neo-liberal ideologies of labor, talent, and privilege.
March 27th Mechthild Fend
University College London
Body to Body: The Dermatological Wax Moulage as Indexical Image
The lecture will focus on a very particular kind of medical imagery: dermatological wax moulages, casts taken from the body of people infected with diseases of the skin to document their condition. The talk will explore the ways in which these images – made by contagion in the most literal sense – engage with the body of the sick. It will query what kind of images these medical wax casts actually are and why they were so popular as a medium of dermatological visualisation from the middle of the nineteenth century until the 1960s. The talk will explore the nature of these impressions based on the contact between the somatic symptom and the plaster which was used to make the moulds from which the wax casts were then taken.
While much of the diagnostic utility of the dermatological casts relies on the re-working and colouring of the moulages by the wax modeller, their claim for truth and authenticity is based on their quality as mechanically produced images. This links them structurally to photography, and the latter medium was indeed introduced into dermatology at the same time as the wax moulages. This is particularly striking the case of the Hôpital Saint Louis in Paris (the first clinic dedicated entirely to the treatment of skin diseases): Alfred Hardy and A. de Montméja published their Clinique photographique de L'hôpital Saint-Louis published in 1868 and Jules Baretta, hired as a mouleur for the hospital in 1863, finished his first moulage in 1867. I will discuss the preference for these mechanically produced images in relation to Daston and Galison’s notion of “Images of Objectivity”. At the same time, I would like to stress the traditions of an animist believe in the lifelikeness of images at work in both of these media and discuss the similarity between the display of the wax moulages at the Musée des Moulages at the Hôpital Saint-Louis and religious votives. In this respect I would like to argue, adapting Bruno Latour, that these images have never been entirely modern.
April 10th: Natasha Schull
Time on Device: Slot machine design and the turn away from risk in gambling