Our final day at the Napa Lighted Festival was 19th January, featuring two talks by Dr Henrike Lange (University of California Berkeley) and Joshua Harvey (Oxford), in a session entitled Beyond the Material, in the First Presbyterian Church. Joshua’s work on material perception, and the quality of lustre in particular, sat engagingly alongside Henrike’s exploration of renaissance art and the manipulative devices used by artists.
Both talks presented a range fo unfamiliar and fascinating material, from medieval Norwegian polychrome statues to history of art. The second, and longer, session run by the Ordered Universe, The Greatest Scientist You’ve Never Heard Of…, involved a collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s On Light with members of the public, back in the Goodman Library. Giles Gasper and Brian Tanner (Durham) introduced Grosseteste, his world, and his particular appeal and fascination for modern scientists. We then tackled a joint reading of the treatise – working through Grosseteste’s cosmology, the range of sources he was using, and the composition of the universe as he conceived it. We finished with a wide-ranging discussion and showed then our film The Medieval Cosmos, based on the treatise On Light – which the audience were able to appreciate in far greater depth, having had the experience of grappling with Grosseteste’s thinking on their own terms. It’s always a privilege to introduce new participants to the Ordered Universe practice if collaborative reading, and learn from the experience ourselves, as always. Grosseteste’s text bear continual reflection and re-reading, and how they strike different people is fascinating and insightful for many reasons.
Our final session for the Festival took place in the evening, also at the Goodman Library, another very well attended show and tell with the whole team in attendance. Interactive artworks, stained glass, and experiments from Grosseteste, went alongside plenty of talking with the team and scrutiny of the poster and other literature we provided. The session was in support of the projection show Horizon playing for its penultimate night, which was watched by large crowds over the weekend. We also got to see the other projections within the Festival, including My Moon at the Culinary Institute of America, and Night Bloom featuring Hot Air Balloons.
The Festival was an enormous pleasure to support, and we’d like to thank very much the organisers, Erin Richardson, Pete Hangen, and Katrina Gregory for all of their help and kindness, the Festival for our accommodations, the staff at the venues we used (Goodman Library, First Presbyterian Church, and the Culinary Institute of America)Ross Ashton and Karen Monid for making our participation possible, Durham University for funding the activities and travel, and all participants from the Ordered Universe team and the public. In its second year the Napa Lighted Festival sparkled, and it is certain to have a dazzling future.
All photos with permission from participants.