30 novembre, roma: “conceptual refractions – the aesthetics of the book” (incontro in presenza e online)


Nov. 30th, h. 6:00pm
Entrance: Via Liguria 20, Rome

The moderated discussion will be held in English and it can be followed online. 
Please register here to participate in Rome.
Please register here to follow the event online.

Conceptual Refractions – The Aesthetics of the Book

The digitalization has called into question the continued utility of print media, given the ease of accessibility and dissemination of digital publication formats. At the same time, however, the special importance given to its digital properties also highlighted the book’s significance as an item of social and cultural production. Following this line of argument, the panel aims to assess from a philosophical, historical and artistic point of view the social and cultural dimensions of the book. In so doing, particular attention will be given to questions regarding materiality, space, time, network and communities, and images.


Nils Röller (ZHdK)
David Finkelstein (Heriot Watt University)
Johanna Drucker (UCLA)

Moderator: Ilaria Andreoli (INHA – Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art (Paris)

In collaboration with Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)

Getting work published is one of the main activities that artists and researchers have in common. The expectations, however, toward what a book could potentially be and the objectives associated with the act of publishing vary considerably. Researchers from all disciplines usually work under high pressure to advance their academic careers by way of publishing new insightful research in journals, anthologies, and in the form of monographic contributions. Artists, on the other hand, are less constrained by the limitations of what constitutes highly standardized publication formats. They challenge accustomed conceptions of the book, experimenting with materials, designs and different ways of presenting.

The book constitutes a sort of common space in which interaction is possible: surely, interaction with the book, its shape, and the modes of expression it permits, but it also figures as a point of reference, a common playground that connects different actors involved in the business of making books. In its many manifestations, the book can be construed as an intellectual challenge to be mastered, a cultural artefact to be cherished, a toolbox to be played around with, a carrier of ideas, imaginaries and information to be consumed, or as an opportunity to exhibit and showcase collaborative endeavors. There are indeed many ways of thinking of the book in view of both its tactile-experienceable qualities and the more notional-abstracting dimensions that describe its conception and contents.

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This event is part of Take the Book – Spaces for Art and Sciencea series that will take place during November and December 2021 entirely devoted to the book, between history, art and science. Here are the other two events of the series:

Empire of Letters – The Construction of Memory and the Self
02.12.2021 H18:00
In inglese
Discussione che esplora le modalità in cui la memoria delle figure storiche è stata e continua a essere plasmata attraverso l’utilizzo delle corrispondenze personali.

Unlocking Potentials – The Art of Publishing Books
10.12.2021 H18:00
In italiano
Talk sull’arte editoriale innovativa attraverso la presentazione di due progetti di libri, uno dall’Italia e uno dalla Svizzera.