12th November, 2011
First International Conference on Comics and Graphic Novels : Sites of Visual and Textual Innovation
Held in Universidad de Alcalá, Spain
Oral Presentation
Materiality without material : Reconstructing Ruins in Bande Dessinée
Abstract | This paper explores Bande Dessineé as a resource to build and diffuse the knowledge in the field of History and Theory of Architecture using as reference the values in force in contemporaneity.
Focusing on Bande Dessineé whose scenarios portray ancient civilizations scantily documented such as Minoan, Etrurian and American Wild West, it is studied not only the scenarios but also the characters in a relationship of complementarity which helps to define both. Bande Dessineé authors fill this lack of documentation caused by time and material frailty manifested by ruins, with the desired autonomy for different ends such as a pedagogical instrument, as a stimulator to increase sales or to intervening in our space and society.
If History reflects a profane space and time quantified and defined by what it precedes and succeeds, the BD as a human creation aspires to be an ideology and myth of contemporaneity to intervene in eternity, rebuilding a broken reality similarly to Christianity.
To some readers the BD, as a low culture product or lowbrow, can be the only media that figures how the represented ancient civilization and architecture was, being essential to clarify the limits between what is created and was is real. As we shall see in this paper, this image that the readers created for themselves is unique and depends from their and the authors weltanschauung (vision of the world), defined by factors as age, culture and social background and constituting distinct representational and interpretative nuances.
Secondly, as BD constitutes a media to bring knowledge to the masses and to instil the passion for architectonical and social intervention we will examine how and where the audience find BD in Internet and in Portuguese libraries and what is the strongest and the weakest points of these media.
We will make a balance of the consequences that Internet, as a media who concretizes the wish of BD of reaching an international scale to amplify the authors´ intentions, may bring and possible solutions, the abolishing of editorial industry and how the new capabilities of being read in a digital support, such as movement and sound, may condemns the comics essence and integrity. In a national context, the Portuguese municipal libraries are other possible media to find a sort of BD books without choosing economical echelons as much as the readers do not need to acquire the books. At this point we will study how the libraries dispose their BD books in distinct spaces, what are the criteria used in the labelling of books and how the national prejudgement that BD are a unique infantile genre may influences it.
Artists studied include Edgar Jacobs (Blake and Mortimer), Jacques Martin (Alix), Dominique Hé (Marc Mathieu), Giraud (Blueberry) and Milo Manara.
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