Call for papers for Études de communication no. 63 “The Artwork and Its Digitized Image: Representation, Production, Documentation”.
Coordination: Nicolas Navarro (UR AAP, university of Liège) and Lise Renaud (Centre Norbert Élias – UMR 8562, Avignon university).
Deadline : 15 octobre 2023

The development of digitization leads to a proliferation of digitized images of objects, artworks, and even individuals. From video game avatars to “digital twins” promoted by the Internet of Things, the ambition to duplicate the world, to digitally reproduce it, invades many social spheres. Among these, the fields of art and heritage are strongly impacted due to a dual tradition of image fabrication for research purposes (archaeological reconstruction, radiography, photographic observatory, etc.) (Sicard, 1998) and the circulation of mediated imagery (postcards, documentary films, merchandise, art books (Saemmer and Tréhondart, 2017), etc.), which forms the breeding ground for an appetite for these digital representations.

The fascination with these digital images tends to overshadow the entirety of the communicative processes that govern their existence, particularly those concerning the relationship between the artwork and its image—a process that has already been scrutinized for its implications, notably by the works of the Frankfurt School (Benjamin, 1936). However, within the fields of art and heritage, contemporary research has thus far focused more on the adjustment processes of professionals (Sandri, 2020) or the reception of these images (Vidal, 2018) than on the processes involved in constructing these images. From a communicative perspective, these processes are seen as social, technical, and symbolic mediations, often described simplistically through the frequent use of the term “digital mediation” (Navarro and Renaud, 2019). While acknowledging the complexity and richness of these mediations, we posit that paying attention to questions of representation, fabrication, and documentation promotes a critical perspective on the production of these digitized images and is likely to shed new light on the associated socio-symbolic issues.

The objective of this issue is to analyse the ambivalence in the relationships between the artwork and its digital representation. Therefore, the focus is not on discussing the specificity of artworks that are inherently digital but rather on examining those that offer a representation of an original artwork through a digital reproduction. These “artworks” are, however, considered in a broad and open sense as objects with a unique social and symbolic operability (Marin, 1994; Davallon, 2007), characterized by a uniqueness that constructs their authenticity. In this sense, the articles may explore a variety of artistic forms and heritage objects if they involve the digital representation process mentioned (theatrical representation and its capture, the original and its duplicate, the monument and its digitization in a video game, etc.). The goal is to question these modes of representation and their implications.

Three axes are thus considered as:

The first axis develops a conceptual approach to the artwork and its representation, as well as the relationship between the model and the copy. Authors, especially in information and communication sciences, have proposed several ways to characterize these representations, from the notion of a “double” to that of a “substitute,” and even the term “twin.” These qualifications appear to carry different ways of conceptualizing the relationship between the work and its image. However, through these questions of terminology, what is the status of the digitized object that can be perceived through it? How is the relationship between these two instances qualified and specified? The proposals integrated into this axis can focus on how digitization interrogates the representation of the object, sometimes allowing it to become present (as in the digitization of prehistoric caves). They can also consider the different statuses attributed to digital representations, between copy and original, raising questions about accuracy or plausibility, as well as error or falsification. Finally, they can also examine the semiotic nature of the relationship between the work and its representation, as they constitute visual traces or go through a process of iconization.

The second axis focuses more specifically on the processes involved in the creation of the digitized image. It involves considering its creation as a set of mediations that presuppose and often leave invisible choices and values that guide and govern production. In other words, the digitized image is the result of a socially embedded process, carrying social and political imaginaries. How does the analysis of these representations, understood as processes, from their production to their reception, allow us to understand the mediations that take place Proposals addressing this axis can thus examine the modalities of digital writing of artistic and heritage objects and the frameworks and tools (architexts, software, etc.) that make them possible while shaping them (Souchier et al., 2019). They can also explore the more or less explicit recognition of a guiding perspective in the representation, whether it is the reproduction of a visit to a so-called “virtual” exhibition or, conversely, the production of an a priori original perspective distinct from the viewer in the theatre when capturing a live performance. Additionally, proposals can investigate the mediations that enable various actors involved in these representations to work together (Le Marec, 2002), combining technical, scientific, social, symbolic, artistic, and heritage dimensions in a composite manner.

The third axis considers the relationship between the work and its reproduction from the perspective of documentation. In scientific research and within heritage institutions, the processes of digitization are associated with documentary logic related to works or heritage objects. The development of digitized databases, combined with political imperatives for digitizing collections, has, for example, led to the growth of digital documentation that is not merely a replication of pre-existing documentation processes. Proposals addressing this axis can, on one hand, focus on the status of representation in the documentation process: is it merely a “substitute,” like a digital version of the object integrated into the database, or does it enable the development of specific documentary practices? On the other hand, they can examine the documentary mediations (Tardy, 2014) related to the processes of digitizing works, collections, and objects. Finally, a third perspective will investigate the logic of archiving, knowledge organization (ontologies, metadata, etc.), and preservation specific to these digital representations, as well as their methods of making them available to the public (workfiles, databases, etc.).


Scientific Committee

Angela Anzelmo – University of Galatasaray (Turkey)
Sébastien Appiotti – University of Paris Sorbonne – CELSA
Cristina Badulescu – University of Poitiers
Jessica de Bideran – University of Bordeaux
Jean Davallon – Avignon University
Marie-Noëlle Doutreix – Lumière Lyon 2 University
Noémie Drouguet – ESA Saint-Luc School of Art, Liège (Belgium)
Geoffroy Gawin – ENSSIB, University of Lyon
Pierre Hallot – University of Liège (Belgium)
Camille Jutant – Lumière Lyon 2 University
Cécile Tardy – University of Lille
Laurier Turgeon – Laval University (Canada)


Selection procedure for proposals

The selection of the contribution proposals will be done in two steps:
– submission of a 1500–2000-word abstract which should include a presentation of objectives and principle arguments, explain the originality of the paper and provide key bibliographical references;
– for selected abstracts, a second evaluation will be carried on completed articles.

Instructions for authors, which must be strictly followed, are available on the journal’s website:
The evaluation will be carried out anonymously by at least two readers of the committee.

Abstracts should be sent by 15 October 2023 at the latest, in .doc/.docx or .odt format, to the following two addresses:

Proposals for papers and final papers of up to 35,000 characters (including spaces, footnotes and bibliography) may be submitted in French or English. The final articles are published in French for the paper version of the journal, and in French (and, if applicable, English) for the electronic version. No commitment to publication can be made until the full text has been read.



15 October 2023: Submission of summaries for evaluation
15 November 2023: Notification of acceptance or rejection
15 March 2024: Submission of full papers
15 June 2024: Receipt of final versions of articles
December 2024: Publication of the dossier in issue 63 of Études de communication


Call for articles for the Varias section

Études de communication is launching a permanent call for articles for its Varias section.
All proposals in the various fields of Communication and Media Studies, Cultural Studies, Library and Information Studies are welcome. Editorial guidelines are available on the journal’s website:



Benjamin, W. (2013 [1936]). L’œuvre d’art à l’époque de sa reproductibilité technique. Allia.
Davallon, J. (2007). Louis Marin : limites de la sémiotique et opérativité symbolique. Hermès, 48(2), 130-131.
Le Marec, J. (2002). Situations de communication dans la pratique de recherche : du terrain aux composites. Études de communication, 25, 15-40.

Marin, L. (1994). De la représentation. Seuil.
Navarro, N. et Renaud, L. (2019). La médiation numérique au musée en procès. Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication, 16.

Saemmer, A. et Tréhondart N. (2017). Livres d’art numériques. De la conception à la réception. Hermann.
Sandri, E. (2020). Les imaginaires numériques au musée. MkF éditions.
Sicard, M. (1998). La fabrique du regard : images de science et appareils de vision (XVe-XXe siècle). Odile Jacob.
Souchier, E., Candel, É. et Gomez-Meija, G. (2019). Le numérique comme écriture. Théories et méthodes d’analyse. Armand Colin.
Tardy, C. (2014). Les médiations documentaires des patrimoines. L’Harmattan.
Vidal, G. (2018). La médiation numérique muséale : un renouvellement de la diffusion culturelle. Presses universitaires de Bordeaux.

Superposition de nuages de points 3D de Notre-Dame de Paris avant et après l’incendie de 2019. La capture est issue de l’environnement de visualisation interactive 3D développé par l’UMR MAP dans le cadre du groupe de travail “Données numériques” du chantier scientifique Notre-Dame de Paris. © V. ABERGEL / L. DE LUCA / UMR 3495 Modèles et simulations pour l’Architecture et le Patrimoine / Vassar College / GEA / LIFE 3D/ Chantier scientifique Notre-Dame de Paris / Ministère de la Culture / CNRS.
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