CfP: International Symposium: “Towards a graphic culture : studying drawing”

Philippe Marion (Louvain-La-Neuve university, Belgium) and Benoît Berthou (Sorbonne Paris Cité University, France) are Comics specialists. They’re organizing in June an international symposium in Florence (Italy). It’ll focus on drawing and they would be very interested by some proposals dealing with games (video or not : board games or role play are welcome) and their graphic issues (photorealism, inspiration in the art history…). Symposium lectures will be published in two international peer-reviewed journals (Comicality. Studies in graphic culture and Studies in communication).


Towards a graphic culture : studying drawing

International conference

Benoît Berthou (Sorbonne Paris City North university, France), Philippe Marion (Louvain-La-Neuve university, Belgium)

15-16 of June 2015, Firenze (Italy)


Drawing seems nowadays to know unprecedented expansion and to invest all domains of the expression and the communication. In the book industries, illustrated children books and comics are one the most dynamic publishing sector and offer proposals clearly giving way to the graphic ingenuity (let us think of the new faces of well known hero, proposed in the United States by the label Vertigo or in France by Media Participation). Cartoons and animation movies show an unprecedented profusion : long-time known compagnies specialized in adaptations (for example Belvision or Toei) operate next to independent studios or creators with other logics (such as Nina Paley’s involvment in the free culture movement). Such is also the case in video games : if Silent Hill looked like an exception in 1999 by its artistic inspirations (Francis Bacon’s works), number of productions nowadays develop accomplished graphic universes (like Limbo of the studio Playdead) designed for all the ages and platforms (Nihilumbra on iPad). Even the corporate communication becomes more complex, the constitution of logos and graphics standards taking a considerable importance today and raising long-term reflections on forms and typography.


We can even speak about contamination: image editings and special effects become widespread, weakening the territories of the photography and other mode of production of the image (” the real shooting “). And we indeed face kind of a paradox : omnipresent in all kind of communication, drawing seems almost impossible to define. It is difficult to characterize it towards a technique: it is possible to draw with liquids (watercolor), computers (by using graphics palettes and of image software processing) and with any sorts of utensils exceeding what traditionnaly understand by « pencil » (feather, mines of all size, charcoal…). Impossible also to reduce the drawing to a support or a broadcasting mode: we can draw on paper (or more exactly on any sorts of paper, having not the same properties), but also on wood, on metal, on plastic, on stone, on screen… Some philosophers like Jean-Luc Nancy invite us to accept the “unthinkable” nature of the drawing and to consider it with regard to a “future” and to a ” run-up” towards a shape, as if it was constantly necessary to think of it as an art of the movement (Le Plaisir au dessin).


The international conference we organize on June 15th and 16th of this year in the villa Finaly of Firenze (Italy) does not intend to adopt similar position. Without wishing necessarily to produce a definition of the drawing, we intend to progress towards its understanding and request to this end 20 to 30 minutes individual or collective lectures (panels can be proposed). All the types of drawing (maps, architecture, art…), coming from all the times, can be evoked by adopting for example the following approaches.


·      History: thinking the evolution of drawing, whether it is in term of techniques (of production and creation) or of broadcasting mode (situation of the drawing in the media).

·      Communication: questionning its modes of transmission (sequential art, plans, diagrams) or use (for example, drawing and the transmission of the knowledges).

·      Style: characterizing the drawing as expression, by analyzing the various apparences and configurations of its constituent elements (line, color, rhythm).


A large time will be given to discussions and the lectures will be published in two international bilingual peer-review journals: Comicality. Studies of graphic culture and Studies in Communication.
The entrance fee in the colloquium is fixed to 200€ for the researchers and to 99€ for the PhD students (prices including two meals and an apéritif) and an accommodation can be proposed in the villa Finaly at affordable prices (from 55 euros at night). Feel free to contact us for any questions about financial issues.
The proposals are to be sent by March 16th at the following address:

Answers will be given before March 23, 2015.
This conference is organized by Benoît Berthou (university Sorbonne Paris City North) and Philippe Marion (Louvain-La-Neuve university, Belgium).
For any piece of information: benoitberthou@gmail.com


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