1. First, our aim is to explore the gnoseological and epistemic nature of the catalogue in terms of its textual-narrative and linguistic structure, based on the thesis that language, text structure, narrative strategy, underlying discourse and knowledge are inseparable.
2. Second, together with the analysis of the catalogue as a textual-narrative structure that puts a particular model of knowledge into material form, we also aim to explore, in accordance with Bruno Latour’s Actor-Network Theory, the catalogue as a space for mediating in the complex networks established by different actors – both human and non-human, including specialists, artists, objects of art, institutions, publishers, etc. – that are being redefined with the passage of time. In this sense, one of the objectives of this project is to explore the possibilities of applying this theory in order to understand, from another perspective, the intellectual and narrative but also social, institutional and material logics (insofar as objects of art can also be actors themselves) that govern the processes involved in producing artistic knowledge. As we know, art and its knowledge exist in a continuous process of interaction among the individual, the social, the institutional and the objectual.
3. Third, this project aims to contribute to the development of the emerging critical discourse that focuses its attention on the new ways of generating and constructing digital artistic knowledge. The implementation of a series of international initiatives that seek alternative models to the traditional catalogue offers us the opportunity to perform a critical analysis, in the light of the studies conducted on the production of catalogues during the 19th and 20th centuries, of how much of a new paradigm these catalogues have and how much remains rooted in the models of knowledge embedded in the disciplinary idiosyncrasies of Art History. In other words, it provides us with the chance to investigate the tension between how much formal renovation there is and how much real epistemic re-establishment there is, and, if this latter does exist, how it is defined and what characteristics it has.
4. The fourth parameter from which we wish to approach this research concerns the emergence and consolidation of analysis strategies associated with the processing of large datasets and the new forms of visualisation made possible by the digital medium. Therefore, our aim is to explore the potential of these analysis strategies and their associated paradigm shifts in order to explain art catalogues. The application of these strategies, coming from different fields of scientific and technical knowledge, highlights the transdisciplinary nature of this research.
5. Fifth, to meet these objectives, our project also includes the development of a technological infrastructure that provides support for the most exhaustive repository possible of data on art catalogues, and thus make their computational processing feasible in accordance with the proposed strategies.