Professor Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA




Australian National University, Australia


Professor Grishin studied art history at the universities of Melbourne, Moscow, London and Oxford and has served several terms as visiting scholar at Harvard University.   He works internationally as an art historian, art critic and curator. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, in 2005 he was awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for services to Australian art and art history and in 2008 was awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.  He has published 17 books and over a thousand articles dealing with various aspects of art. He is the current Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History Head, Art History at Australian National University, Canberra.

Paper title

The impact of digital technologies on contemporary Australian printmaking


The impact of digital technologies on contemporary printmaking remains a contentious issue. Digital technologies allow for a seamless grafting of images which overcomes the awkwardness of hand-crafted images through collage.  This paper surveys the introduction of digital technologies in Australian art institutions over the past decade and examines the impact of these technologies on the nature of contemporary printmaking.  Printmaking has been traditionally a physical activity ' whether this be gouging, scratching, drawing, painting, inking or printing ' on a fundamental level it engages the body, where mark making and image production relate directly to a physical engagement with materials.  Digital technologies with the tap of the keys or the click of a mouse are a non-physical activity.  It is a mechanical and non-biological act.  Many years ago, Martin Heidegger drew the distinction between writing a word and typing a word.  One of the more interesting contributions to this question of the difference between a written script and a typed one is a recent book by a social anthropologist, Tim Ingold, from the University of Aberdeen.  He writes about the nature of the written word, as opposed to the printed one.  'It is not vision that reduces words to things, but rather the disconnection of the technically effective gesture from its graphic outcome that occurs when words are printed instead of written.  To read a manuscript ' is to follow the trails laid down by a hand that joins with the voice in pronouncing the words of a text.  But there are no trails to follow on the page of print.  The eye of the reader surveys the page ' but does not inhabit it.'  By examining the practice of several prominent artist printmakers working in Australia today this paper questions the existence of a 'digital aesthetic' in contemporary Australian printmaking.


Friday 30 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm






Other sessions

Sasha will also be speaking on a panel on Fanzines on Friday 30 September, 11:00am - 12.30pm. For further information click here

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