International Conference – Contact: Transcultural Techniques and Metaphors of Imprinting

Date(s) - 30/05/2023 - 31/05/2023

Grimm Zentrum
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Contact: Transcultural Techniques and Metaphors of Imprinting
International Conference

Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum, Auditorium
GeschwisterSchollStraße 1-3, 10117 Berlin

Imprinting can be broadly defined as the result of the contact between two surfaces or two bodies. Throughout different civilizations, imprints involve reflections on issues of presence and absence, reproduction and imitation, identity and difference. Cutting across time and space, this conference investigates imprinting and its multifarious aspects, offering new avenues for the study of its transcultural and transhistorical dimensions. The meeting, organized by Stefano de Bosio, Kathleen Christian and Ralph Dekoninck, was made possible by a generous grant from the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung and is part of the activities of the international research network Logiques du négatif.


Registration recommended by 28.05.2023 AT


For more information on the conference and the research network:

Contact: Dr. Stefano de Bosio (


May 30, 2023

10:00-10:30  Kathleen Christian, Stefano de Bosio and Ralph Dekoninck
Welcome and Introduction


Session 1 – Techniques and Technologies

Chair: Kathleen Christian, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

10:30-11:00  Jeffrey Moser, Brown University
The specular mode in medieval chinese art

11:00-11:30  Ruth Noyes, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
Cera, cartapesta, and pasta di reliquie: impressing and imprinting corpisanti
relic-sculptures in 18th-century Rome

11:30-12:00  Jennifer Chuong, Harvard University / Humboldt-Universität
Printing with Nature in Early America

12:00-12:30    Break

12:30-13:00 Steffen Siegel, Folkwang Universität der Künste
Feathers, butterflies, and some prussian kings: Johann Carl Enslen and the beginning of photographic imprinting

13:00-13:30 Buket Altinoba, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Hands-free? Machines for reproducing sculpture and the question of the authentic imprint

13:30-15:00    Lunch (for speakers only)


Session 2 – Discourses

Chair: Jérémie Koering, Université de Fribourg

15:00-15:30 Carl Knappett, University of Toronto
Technologies of imprinting and containing: conjoined strategies for structural objects

15:30-16:00 Verity Platt, Cornell University
Sponge, foam, and the truth in painting

16:00-16:30 Kathleen Christian, Humboldt-Universität
The compass and the cast: contact as rhetoric in the Early Modern reception of Antiquity

16:30-17:00    Break

17:00-17:30 Ralph Dekoninck, Université Catholique de Louvain
Homo in imagine [impressa] ambulat: the proof of the (engraved) image

17:30-18:00 Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Universität
The logic of the negative: on engraved gems and their Early-Modern (im)prints

20:00               Dinner (for speakers only)


May 31, 2023

Session 3 – (Trans-)cultural metaphors and imaginaries I

Chair: Ralph Dekoninck, Université Catholique de Louvain

10:00-10:30 Markus Späth, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Bodily impression and legal authentication. Dimensions of materiality in sealing culture of medieval Europe

10:30-11:00 Nicolas Sarzeaud, Université Lyon II-Lumière
Holy stains in print culture? On the imprints of the body of Christ

11:00-11:30    Break

11:30-12:00 Patricia Falguières, École des hautes études en sciences sociales
Animal typographies: on life casting

12:00-12:30 Jérémie Koering, Université de Fribourg
Imprints to swallow: instituting community in Early Modern Europe

12:30-14:00    Lunch (for speakers only)


Session 4 – (Trans-)cultural metaphors and imaginaries II       

Chair: Stefano de Bosio, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

14:00-14:30 Jakub Stejskal, Masaryk University, Brno
What do rubbings preserve? A foray into the aesthetics of a technique

14:30-15:00 Johanna Malt, King’s College
The Thing and the Hole

15:00-15:30 Chari Larsson, Griffith University
Breathing, erasing, dripping: imprinting in contemporary aboriginal art

15:30-16:00    Break

16:00-16:30 Matthias Mansen, Berlin
On making matrices (and woodcuts), in conversation with Stefano de Bosio

16:30-17:00 Veronika Tocha, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin
Critical perspectives on anthropological casts from colonial contexts

17:00-17:30    Final discussion

18:00-19:30    Aperitif