Professor Lamia Balafrej will be delivering a talk entitled “Reproducible Labor? On Medieval Slavery and the Mechanical Arts” at The Medieval Multiple, a conference hosted by the Index of Medieval Art on January 27, 2024.
Recent efforts to conceptualize the “pre-modern multiple” only occasionally reckon with the Middle Ages. Medieval multiples are frequently positioned against their modern counterparts—especially print—and subsequently presented as isolated, unrealized forms of mass (re)production. Yet the multiple was not an anomaly but rather the product of a common mode of artistic creation in the Middle Ages, found in a wide variety of materials and object types. Recognizing its ubiquity in visual and material culture.
This conference brings together scholars to consider the multiple in the interconnected cultures of Afro-Eurasia between ca. 500 and 1500: its ontological status, the ways in which it could be produced, and how its makers and viewers recognized (or failed to recognize) replication.