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18-19 juni 2009

Showing Making. An international conference on the representation of image making and creative practices in ritual, art, media and science
Plaats: Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
Ga voor meer informatie naar de conferentiewebsite Organized by the Dept. of Media and Culture Studies (Utrecht University), the Meertens Institute (Royal Dutch Academy of Science), the Visual Culture Group (Huizinga Institute, University of Amsterdam) and the Dutch Filmmuseum

If making is thinking, as Richard Sennett has recently argued in his book The Craftsman, studying making can enable us to understand visual artefacts. Paintings, films, computer animation, or scientific images are the results of skilled procedures and complex interaction between makers, materials, tools and technologies, which generate and shape meaning. Mainly based on tacit knowledge though, these procedures and interactions tend to evade textual description and are, although enclosed in the finished product, usually not recorded. How do we get our hands and minds at these material procedures if we want to study the meaning of making?
This conference focuses on visual genres specifically dedicated to the representation of image making; depictions of practice that have a long tradition, ranging from St. Luke painting the Virgin Mary and the making-of as a genre in film to early documentaries and YouTube videos. Although these depictions contain information about the social, anthropological, technological, material and aesthetic dimensions of image production, they are also shaped by interesting paradoxes. On the one hand they enable a peek behind the scenes, providing knowledge about image making procedures. On the other hand they invest creation with magical qualities and mystify the actions of image-makers. As mediated constructs, they display ideal aspects of creative processes and tend to omit failure or routine – as art works they foreground self-referentiality as critical strategy. Taking these aspects into consideration showing making can be turned into a theoretical tool to study image making as intellectual and meaningful practice, pushing past general considerations of materiality in visual studies today.
Renowned specialists from art history, film studies, anthropology, religion studies and history of science have been invited to study the epistemic and performative elements of showing making, to analyze how image-making procedures and technologies are represented, and to create a framework in which the visualizations of image making and creative practices can be theorized.

Information & Registration at: For additional questions, e-mail Ann-Sophie Lehmann at

Program: June 18th

9:00 Coffee and Tea

9:30 – 9:45
Welcome and Introduction
Ann-Sophie Lehmann, Utrecht University

Opening lecture
9:45 – 10:30
Showing Making: Materials, Movements, Lines
Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen

Short Break

Session I: Showing Painting
Chair: Rachel Esner, University of Amsterdam

10:50 – 11:30
Showing Thinking: Visualizing Invention in the Painter ’s Studio
H. Perry Chapman, University of Delaware

11:30 – 12:00
The Journey of Two Drawing Skills
Paul van den Akker, Free University, Amsterdam

12:15 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 13:50
Discourses of Making in the Mixed Media Production of Andrea del Verrocchio
Christina Neilson, Oberlin College

13.50 – 14:10
Newton ’s Opticks, Colour Systems and the Notation of the Painting Process
Annik Pietsch, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin


Short Break

Session II: Scientific Images in the Making
Chair: Paul Ziche, Utrecht University

14:30 – 15:10
Making Images of Nature
Pamela H. Smith, Columbia University

15:20 – 15:40
Drawing a Spiral Nebula
Omar W. Nasim, Max Planck Institutes for Art History (Florence) and History of Science (Berlin)

15:40 – 16:00
The Tourism of Labor: Photography and Exhibit-Making
Victoria Cain, University of Southern California


June 19th

9:00 Coffee and Tea

Session III: Image Making Rituals
Chair: Herman Roodenburg, Meertens Institute/Free University, Amsterdam

9:30 – 10:10
Hypostasizing the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Northern Thailand
Donald Swearer, Harvard Divinity School

10:15 – 10:45
Crafting Royal Images in Present Day Thailand
Irene Stengs, Meertens Institute

10:55 – 11:15
Image and Ownership of the Lantern Festival of Saint Louis, Senegal
Ferdinand de Jong, University of East Anglia & Judith Quax, Independent Photographer

11:20 – 11:40
Screening Myths: Visualizing the Occult in the Waiãpi ‘Fiction ’
Andre Bakker, Free University Amsterdam


12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

Session IV: The Making of the Making-of
Chair: Martina Roepke, Utrecht University

13:10 – 13:50
Filming Creation: The Making of the Moment of the Making of
John Wyver, Illuminations Media/University of Westminster

14:00 – 14:20
How the Moving Image can Reveal the Interaction between Ceramicist and Material
Leah Mc Laughlin, Cardiff School of Art and Design

Short Break

14:40 – 15:10
Are We Allowed to Tell? Showing Film Making in Early Cinema
Frank Kessler, Utrecht University

15:10 – 15:30
Les Yeux ne Veulent Pas en Tout Temps se Fermer …
André Wendler, Bauhaus-University Weimar

Discussion & Closing Remarks

16:30 Drinks

Download the program in PDF