“You were not expected to do this”
On the Dynamics of Production
(Distraction/Interference – Resistance/Accident)
Dr. Daniel Blanga-Gubbay / Dr. Elisabeth Ruchaud.
@ Graduiertenkolleg Materialität und Produktion,
Heinrich Heine Universität, Düsseldorf (Germany)
In ordinary terms, the word production refers to an act of creation
and its result, or to a process at the end of which there is a
materialisation of some kind, or to the act of making something
present. By productively interfering with this common idea of
production we would like to work towards establishing different ways
of thinking about this concept.
Distraction and Interference as well as Resistance and Accident are
exemplary categories of the unexpected moments that may or may not
take place in the course of production. They remind us that production
cannot be reduced to the momentum of ‘achieving a product’. Rather,
these categories help to reveal the physical presence of those who
produce, the materiality of the objects involved and the unforeseen
effects of the ‘product’. Furthermore, they allow us to question the
alleged linearity of the processes that form part of production.
Thereby, Distraction, Interference, Resistance and Accident make us
aware to what extent production involves a ‘lived’ and ‘living’
tension between the producer and what is being produced, between the
subject and the world. Distractions or Interferences involve an
examination of the subject of production. Correspondingly, on the side
of the objects of production, Resistances or Accidents are capable of
– and sometimes violently so – interrupting any given course of
These dynamics of production and their distinctive and creative
potentialities will form the main focus of this conference. In order
to structure the topic, the conference will be divided into four
sections. The following suggestions serve purely illustrative
Who: Traces of production This panel aims to question the unexpected
traces of the producers‘ presence, from medieval copyists’ variations
to Hitchcock’s cameos in his own movies. There are at least two
different approaches towards exploring the traces of production: on
the one hand, by starting from the object so as to find the unexpected
traces of the authors‘ physical presence (beyond his signature); on
the other hand, by starting from the author/actor in order to see the
(un-) intentional plan of leaving archaeological traces in the course
Where: Spaces of production This section investigates the relationship
between distance and production in two different directions. Firstly,
by concentrating on the interval between task and result and on the
singular forms of creation evolving from this space. Secondly,
unexpected results can also emerge from any production of distance in
terms of material objects or practices such as: proxemics in
theatrical performances, modern museography, Warburg‘s Bilderatlas.
Why: About the necessity of resistance Far beyond the contingency of
the unexpected, this session aims to examine the material presence of
a refusal to produce. This is manifest in, for example, the modern
idea of going on strike or in the well-known “I would prefer not to“
with which Melville's Bartleby stubbornly decides to resist the
process of copying. The identity between task and result is only
alleged and this tends to conceal the self-productive presence of
production as an intrinsically human process! We would like to analyse
the political aspects of resistance by concentrating on the
potentialities of inaction.
historical continuities as well as ruptures in the unexpectable
dynamics of production. This can be achieved by asking how the very
notions of production or temporality, for example, have been modified
in the course of historical evolution. From the copyists of antiquity
to the invention of the printing press and beyond, from the ‘birth of
the artist’ in the 12th/13th centuries to Walter Benjamin’s concept of
technical reproduction, this session is dedicated to the heterogeneous
and discontinuous processes of production and their relation to the
category of the unexpected.
We would like to invite scholars from the Humanities and related
fields (art, history, literature, cultural studies, art history,
cultural anthropology, sociology, philosophy etc.) to engage with this
subject in a 20 minute paper.
Abstracts of no more than 600 words with a title and a short
professional biography of no more than 100 words (.pdf or word.doc)
should be sent to notexpectedphil.hhu.de by October 31st 2013.
Papers should be in English; however, papers in German or French may
also be accepted.
A publication of the proceedings of this conference is foreseen;
therefore, please indicate whether you would be interested in further
developing your paper for a publication of collected essays after the
CFP: On the Dynamics of Production (Düsseldorf, 2-4 Apr 14). In: ArtHist.net, Jul 12, 2013 (accessed Mar 20, 2023), <https://arthist.net/archive/5746>.