Theories, Databases and Experimental Research Tools

Conference & Workshop
December 14, 2011 / 12:00 – 2:00 pm and 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Organized by: Global Visual Cultures
Department of Art History, University of Barcelona
and Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris (INHA)


Modernity, as an epistemic project, consisted in universalizing knowledge by means of a systematic accumulation of data. Universities and Museums played –and still play today an important role in this sort of worldwide documentary utopia. However, in the last decades we have seen a multi-directional critique of these two institutions, mainly focused on the reexamination of their legitimate authority to preserve and give sense of collective social memories. Based on the accession/deaccession of records, the configuration of new databases, and the democratization of knowledge production technologies, this shift has resulted in the creation of new documentary centers linked to academic departments, research institutes, libraries, and museums. The vast majority of these documentary centers are devoted to expand public access to records and to consolidate a more democratic net of institutions. In doing so, documentary centers operate as bridges across museums, libraries, and universities. At the same time, this new interplay opens up a new deal between different researching communities, museum imaginaries, and archival expertise.

Under the umbrella of a three-year collaborative project between the University of Barcelona and the program Art et mondialisation (Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art-Paris), Global Visual Cultures have organized a series of talks entitled Documenting Global Art. Theories, Databases, and Experimental Researching Tools. The first of these talks will be held at the University of Barcelona, on December 14, 2011. During this talk, diverse researchers and contemporary art museum archivist will examine the challenges this new documentary centers are facing today. As a part of this seminar we will discuss projects launched by museums such as MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona), Fundació Antoni Tàpies and the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, as well as research institutes such as the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art-París.

Joaquín Barriendos | Columbia University
Anna Maria Guasch | University of Bacelona
Zahia Rahmani | Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art-Paris


UB, University of Barcelona
Art History Department
Montalegre, 6 / 08001 Barcelona

This project has the support of the program Art et mondialisation (Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art-Paris), the Plan Nacional de Investigación Científica, Scientific Research, Development and Technological Innovation National Plan (Ministry of Education of Spain) and the Department of Art History (University of Barcelona).

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