The international conference „Unique Objects in an Age of Ubiquity” addresses a central question that is of consequence for the humanities, social sciences and the arts as well as of great importance for cultural institutions such as museums and libraries: The question of the functions and potentials of unique objects in an age of digital reproducibility.
Unique objects are centres in a decentered, networked world. They signal unavailability and distance in a world of global digital availability. While in daily life unique objects serve as lifestyle items of individualization, in a cultural and scholarly context they have the subversive potential to disrupt processes of canonization and, as deep facts, rewrite history. Unique objects can, moreover, resist reproduction, through object-specific functions or close links between text and textual object.
Building on research concerning the materiality of the book, object biographies and historical practices of creating and exhibiting unique objects, the interdisciplinary conference aims to analyse the cultural function of unique objects in today's society. Contributions focus, on the one hand, on the social functions of unique physical objects and of practices of collecting and exhibiting such objects in a predominantly digital environment. On the other, they try to articulate the scholarly, literary and artistic potential of unique objects.
The interdisciplinary conference addresses scientists from media studies, material culture studies, book studies, museology, art history, literature studies, digital humanities, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, as well as practitioners from museums, archives and libraries.
Talks will be presented in English.
The conference is accompanied by an exhibition at the University Library.