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Workshop // Scalability and its Limits in Photography and (Digital) Sculpture



19.07.2023 um 14:15 bis
21.07.2023 um 12:00


Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Raum 110, I. OG

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The workshop aims to focus on scaling as a cultural technique, and as an imaging practice fundamentally based on procedures of measuring, scanning, transforming, and projecting objects in time and space. Investigating the manifold intersections between two- and three-dimensionality, the workshop will examine these relations from an art history, image science, and media studies perspective. We will discuss questions of scalability and the non-scalable (Tsing 2012), with a focus on photography and (digital) sculpture. This discussion is based on the observation that these two fields are increasingly entangled with each other. The idea of merging several dimensions is now considered state of the art, both in contemporary (digitized) photographic practices and in the field of digital sculpture. In this context, we are particularly interested in exploring the limits of scalability, the aesthetics of disruption, and glitches that may result from engaging with these limits.
The use of technology to scale and measure objects, such as sculptures and spaces, raises questions about the relationship between the real and the virtual, and the role of art and technology in mediating this relationship. Tools, instruments, and (reproduction) machines have been a marginalized field of art historical research. In this workshop, we will examine them as objects, processes, and representations of art and technology in historical and interdisciplinary perspective (Cordez/Krüger 2012). However, these instruments also have a significant impact on how we perceive and interact with our surroundings. Neither time nor space exist independently of cultural techniques of scaling (Balke/Siegert/Engell 2017), while scales are the “outcomes of social, cultural and technopolitical processes” (Hecht 2018). This makes it necessary to rethink the politics of scaling and the ‘thresholds of the detectable’ (Weizman 2017) that might emerge from it. Therefore, we will explore the ethical and political implications of scaling.
Digitales Plakat zu einem wissenschaftlichen Workshop. Schwarze Schrift auf hellem Hintergrund ( Verlauf gelb/weiß). Links am Bildrand eine Skala in 50er Schritten. Inhalt des Plakats sind Angaben zu Titel, Datum und Ort der Veranstaltung. Questions of scalability have always been a central concern in the history of photography. More recently, these questions have been rephrased for a post-digital media ecology by Dvořák/Parikka (2021) and others. However, scalability is also a decisive parameter for the expanded field of sculpture, especially in a digital context. “The size is nothing; what matters is the scale,” Barnett Newman said already in 1969. While in Abstract Expressionism, Minimal, and Post Minimal Art, the body is still considered a reference size for the scaling of sculptural objects, this instance of orientation and distancing is of little relevance on the screen. What needs to be illuminated, therefore, are the questions of how modes of perception change and with which methodological heuristics we encounter reproducible works oscillating between digitality and physical facticity when sculptures circulate online as files and can be printed directly on site in various sizes (and materials). This potentially variable treatment of dimensional relations and the associated translation processes question the constancy of spatial relations, site specificity, and a ‘somatic scale’ (Meyer 2004).
It is the workshop’s objective to continue and deepen these ongoing discussions by examining the relationship and interplay of photography and sculpture in terms of scaling and measurement practices. We welcome contributions from the broader fields of art history, media and cultural studies, and the history of science, among others. Submissions can discuss specific case studies or broader theoretical/methodological aspects of dealing with scalability in photography and (digital) sculpture.

ORGANIZED BY: Ursula Ströbele (ZIKG Munich), Maria Männig (RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau), Buket Altinoba (LMU Munich), Dominik Schrey (University of Passau)



Wednesday, 19 July 2023
13:30 Welcome coffee and registration
14:15 Greeting and introduction
14:30 Multitudes of Scale #1 Photography – an Introduction by Maria Männig & Dominik Schrey
14:45 Mira Anneli Naß, Bremen // Scaling the Future? On Clemens von Wedemeyer's Crowd Control (2018) and Images of a Simulative Sovereignty
15:30 Coffee break
16:00 Tomáš Dvořák, Prague // Image Stacks
16:45 Break
18:15 Aurora Hoel, Trondheim // On Imaging Technologies and the Operational Realities They Give Rise to [Evening lecture, hybrid]

Thursday, 20 July 2023
10:00 Multitudes of Scale #2 (Digital) Sculpture – an Introduction by Buket Altinoba & Ursula Ströbele
10:15 Susanne Kähler, Berlin // Monuments in Public Space, Their Reproduction in 2 and 3D
11:00 Matthias Krüger, Munich // The Scale of Memory – the Size of Memorials
11:45 Coffee break
12:15 Rachel Wells, Oxford // Monumental Images: Photography, Sculpture and Scale in Samson Kambalu’s Antelope (2022) and Hank Willis Tromas’s The Embrace(2022)
13:00 Lunch break
14:30 Megan Luke, Tübingen // Models, Monuments, and Miniatures: Photogrammetry in the Late 19th Century
15:15 Matthew Wells, Manchester // Mixed Media: Scale, Vision, and Truth in Victorian Britain
16:00 Coffee break
16:30 Franziska Lampe, Munich // Removed from Time and Place: Retouching Techniques and Methods of Photographic Sculpture-Reproductions from the Bruckmann Image Archive. [Hands-on session @ Bruckmann Image Archive]

Friday, 21 July 2023
09:00 Julia Wallner, Remagen // Cells, Constellations, Families of Forms. Technology and Reproducibility in the Work of Jean Arp in the Perspective of Digital Extensibility
09:45 Bettina Papenburg, Freiburg // Swinging Dimensions – Delirium and Delight in Digital Models of Molecules, Cells, and Galaxies
10:30 Coffee break
10:45 Florian Lechner, Munich // Artistic Condensates of Hybrid Action. Abstract Sculptural-Plastic States in the Interstice of Aesthetics and Data Space
11:30 Multitudes of Scale #3 – Conclusional Thoughts
12:00 End of conference


To participate in the workshop, please register at

No registration is required for participation in the evening lecture.


[Poster: Art direction and design by @maurobonillo