The actual website has succeeded two previous drafts begun since 2011. After the last one put under the name of Seminesaa in April 2014 on the OpenEdition website dedicated to electronic resources in the humanities and social sciences , Semin’R has taken off and lists now 3500 to 4000 different visitors per month.
Semin’R is an online platform and a part of the Interdisciplinary Research Unit concerned with studies of, and engagement with, Conservation of artistic and Heritage artifacts [IRU-cr] at the Ecole Supérieure d’ Art in Avignon, France. This is conceived as a “research notebook” which is aimed at both the students of conservation and readers concerned with the preservation of cultural property. One of the challenges of this forum is to provoke the students to detach themselves form the prevailing, standard ways of thinking about a static, immobile object and to develop, and argue for, an interdisciplinary approach exemplified by carefully selected case studies. It is intended to open up on current and future researches for students of second and third cycles, providing also a set of tools into links, as well as for teachers and external researchers interested in these topics.
Semin’R hopes to attract the curiosity of those who are curious and open when it comes to thinking about conservation and its related issues – this discipline too often still supposed to the prism of erroneous clichés.
Our space wishes to contribute to the historical, epistemological, methodological and meta-critical approach in conservation. It acts on the cross-sections of hard sciences, human (and social) sciences, and borders on certain artistic practices. Being an online research notebook, it aims to examine the field of conservation and its varying applications contingent on the ontology and system of objects under consideration by the conservator-restorer.
Our platform raises a number of field-related questions concerning a variety of problems and attempts to initiate a discussion. Among issues discussed are.. (describe here more specifically. The involved factors are numerous, whether of artworks or cultural artefacts; they require a special attention and determine to a large extent the approaches and possible hypotheses, as well as the requirements that the conservator faces. Our research interested and reflected in this forum, revolve around means of production, appropriation, and signification related to social situations. Taking into account diverse viewpoints and contexts, the critical inquiry pursued here investigates the shifting status of objects, the aspects of identity, authenticity and originality, the fate of images and discourses in socio-cultural processes.
From this perspective, Semin’ R engages in a reflection that exceeds the ideological “restoration”. Acknowledged as hold of a monopoly institutional and centralized of the rhetoric on the discipline, conservation is still too often envisaged according to a scientistic or positivist conception, and confined to the rank of auxiliary activity which activities are reduced to the investigations of the physicality of the objects it is called upon to treat. Still somewhat confined to invisibility and mutism by the virtue of an outdated anachronistic ideology of restoration, the conservator, now involved in a liberal-minded activity, must endorse the more theoretical discourse and be capable to sustain it.
Further, Semin’R engages with projects related to the maintenance and conservation of both contemporary artistic and ethnographic artifacts. The ” art and artefactuality ” seminar that the philosophizer Jean-Pierre Cometti (1944-2016) launched in 2011, is the heart of this program. This seminar ‘art and artefactuality’ proposes sessions wishing to provides responses on questions which will mark the stages with it. It is intended to open up to resources of other disciplines and to current researches.
The approach is prospective in that it is also oriented towards the theorization of a conservation engineering (see https://seminesaa.hypotheses.org/5479). This is part of the ‘material turn’ — which refutes the categorial division as form / matter, image / medium, material / immaterial — is capable of underpinning a re-conception and a repositioning of the profession of conservator according to the criteria of an engineering.
(translation with the precious help of Hanna Hölling)
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