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cfp: Reflecting the World: Museums and collections of visual and sound documentation around 1900

Reflecting the World: Museums and collections of visual and sound documentation around 1900 is an international conference organized by the Elysée Museum, the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva, Switzerland, 5-6 November, 2015. A paper copy of the call can be Appel_com_colloque_2015.pdf

On the occasion of the exhibition “The Vaud Iconographic Collection,” the Elysée Museum, the University of Lausanne and the University of Geneva are organizing a conference to take place in Lausanne and Geneva from the 5-6 November, 2015 on the history of the museums and collections of iconographic and auditory materials established around 1900 with local, national or global aspirations.

The spread of photography, the invention of cinema, and the development of sound recording devices around the end of the 19th century engendered the creation of a large volume of still and moving images, as well as sounds registered from across the world. At the time, various institutions were established in order to collect, archive, and highlight these materials, so as to preserve visual and auditory traces of history, geography, and all the social phenomena stemming from particular regions or states, or even the entire world. It concerns, for example, documentary photography museums which arose from local projects in France, Swiss and Belgium; the Archives de la Planète, created by the banker Albert Kahn; the project of Boleslas Matuszewski for a repository of historical cinematography; or the earliest, globally-directed sound archives, set up in Vienna and Berlin.

This colloquium has as its aim to better understand the history of these collections from a comparative perspective at an international level, following three lines of reflection:


I—History of the museums and collections, and their actors
- What networks were involved in the establishment and conception of these institutions? What were the culture, backgrounds and ambitions of those who imagined and realized these projects?
- What protocols were established for collecting the documents? What were the methods for classifying, storing and conserving the materials?
- How did these institutions reflect new ways of conceiving the archive, collections, and museums? What relations did these institutions maintain with earlier forms of archives and museums?
- What conceptions undelay the diffusion and display of the documents?
- How were the relations between these diverse projects imagined? Did they seek to stand alone regionally, or rather to be associated with one another?


II—Objectives, philosophies, and geographical or historical imaginaries underlying the projects
- What were the scientific, educational, heritage, as well as political and social goals of the project initiators?
- What gazes did the promoters of the projects bear regarding humankind, society, geography, history, and heritage? What relationships did the projects hold with emerging knowledge and science?
- What conceptions of the nation and the universal did they project? How did they articulate the local, the national, and the international?
- To what notion of social peace, or peace between states, were these projects associated?
- What were their conceptions of images and sound, and the place that these were given in relationship to texts?
- What practical, social, political or scientific utility was attributed to the new media?
- Who was the envisioned public?


III—Uses and fate of these collections
- What values did users and public authorities attribute to these documents? How were the documents ultimately used, in relation to the original objectives?
- What was the fate of these collections and these notions through the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries?
- What is the current status of these collections? What potential do they hold for research and further development?
Calendar

Calendar
- Paper proposals (including CV, title, and abstract of approximately 500 words) in either French or English should be submitted by January 15, 2014 to: anne.lacoste@vd.ch; olivier.lugon@unil.ch; estelle.sohier@unige.ch
- Speakers will be informed of their acceptance shortly after.
- The conference will be held on 5-6 November, 2015

Organizing committee
Anne Lacoste, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
Olivier Lugon, Université de Lausanne
Estelle Sohier, Université de Genève

Scientific Committee
François Brunet, Université Paris-Diderot
Elizabeth Edwards, De Montfort University
Anne Lacoste, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne
Olivier Lugon, Université de Lausanne
Estelle Sohier, Université de Genève
Jean-François Staszak, Université de Genève

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