Medieval and Modern Tides – Light Up Poole Festival 2019

Last weekend, on Saturday February 23rd, Ordered Universe members Brian Tanner and Giles Gasper took part in the Light Up Poole Festival, on the UK’s south coast, in Dorset. We gave a talk to the public on the scientific works of Robert Grosseteste, in Continue reading

Looking into the Unknowable: Premodern Conundrums of Prime Matter

The Ordered Universe Project is delighted to announce that long-time friend of the project Dr Nicola Polloni will be in Durham on Tuesday 5 March 2019 to give a lecture about one of his research interests: the notion of prime matter, especially in consideration of Premodern discussions of matter-theories in philosophy and science c. 1200-1700. See below for more details.

2019 03 Nicola Polloni web

 

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Napa Lighted Art Festival – Colour, Perception, the Avant Garde and more

A second set of talks, and memories from the Napa Lighted Festival last month. Friday 18th January saw a first talk from multi-media sculptor Alexandra Carr, a frequent collaborator with the Ordered Universe, and Joshua Harvey (Psychology and Engineering Science, University of Oxford). In Beyond Colour Alexandra and Josh spoke on various Continue reading

Berkeley Talk – Sound and Perception

Ordered Universe team members Giles Gasper and Joshua Harvey delivered a talk at University of California, Berkeley, on Wednesday this week (16th Jan). Organised by Dr Henrike Lange of the Departments of Art History and Italian at Berkeley, the talk focused on Robert Grosseteste’s treatise On the Generation of Sounds. An excellent example of the way in which the project used interpretative tools from a wide range of disciplines to analyse the implications of this short but beguilingly complex treatise. Continue reading

Napa Lighted Art Festival Opens Tomorrow

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The nine-day Napa Lighted Art Festival 2019 begins tomorrow, Saturday 12th January. A full programme features, amongst many installations, Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon, Birgit Zander and Daniel Bandke’s Language of Love, and Czech artists Hyperbinary’s Triton Genus, as well as Christopher Schardt’s Constellation Light Scuplture. All of this and Horizon from Ross Ashton and Karnen Monid’s Projection Studio. Ross and Karen have been setting up this week – and Horizon promises to be an Continue reading

Horizon – from the Projection Studio

Guest blog-post about the Napa Lighted Art Festival from Karen Monid:

Ross and I are thrilled to be asked to return to the Napa Lighted Festival in the USA. Our first piece there, Line, shown in 2017, was a contemporary study in the combined effect of optical illusion, sound and motion with modern architecture. This year, the festival has generously offered us one of the most historic sites in Napa to show our new work, Horizon, a co-commission between the Ordered Universe project, the Light Up Poole Festival in the UK and the Napa Lighted Art Festival in the US.

The Ordered Universe project website has information about Horizon already here. As artists, it has been a wonderful experience to create a new work that is not only inspired by Robert Grosseteste’s works, but goes even further, using his own words as the central core of the piece. Horizon places his observations, experiences and interpretations of the earth and our place in it alongside those of the ecosystem studies of the Jet Propulsion Labaratory in NASA, whose work sits at the cutting edge of 21st century technology. Horizon reveals a surprising similarity of human aim behind scientific enquiry and searching, both then and now. It shows how interpretations have developed, as we have changed our viewing positions from that of being ‘on the earth’ to moving ‘off the earth’ and looking back at ourselves on this planet.

Something new I was keen to explore in the audio for the work, something that has never been done before with the Ordered Universe project, is to focus on the context of Grosseteste’s writings, to allow them to be presented to Horizons audience as the teaching materials we believe them to have been, spoken aloud to students, learning about their place on the earth and in the universe as a whole. It has been exciting to find creatively meaningful ways to do this in Horizon, working with Professor Giles Gasper, Dr Sigbjørn Sønnesyn, and students at Durham University, in particular. Moreover, that Horizon also shows that modern science continues in this same work today shows a direct lineage from thinkers such as Grosseteste into the modern world.

One if the most exciting aspects of the project for us is that we are being given the opportunity to present the piece in Napa on the Goodman Library. The Goodman Library is a beautiful piece of Napa architectural history. It has survived several earthquakes and has recently reopened after an intense restoration program to preserve and protect its unique features. Libraries are the repositories of knowledge and so it is particularly resonant to have developed the premiere of ‘Horizon’ for this particular building. We will be discussing Horizon and our work, at the free ‘Meet the Artist’ event in Napa on January 13th. Tickets are available here.

Finally, we would like to extend our grateful thanks for the support of our collaborators at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA, Dr Joshua Willis and Dr Joshua Fisher. Dr Willis is the principal investigator on the OMG (Oceans Melting Greenland) mission and Dr Fisher is Science Lead on the ECOSTRESS mission, one of several space-based data gathering missions that are collectively looking at earth ecosystem changes, in collaboration with other space agencies internationally. We are delighted that Dr Joshua Fisher will also be giving a talk at Napa Lighted as part of the program of talks on offer at the Festival. Tickets are available here.

Ordered Universe at Berkeley

ann the generation of sound

Ordered Universe team members Giles Gasper (History, Durham) and Joshua Harvey (Psychology and Engineering, Oxford) will be giving a talk, open to the public, at University of California, Berkeley, on January 16th. We’re delighted to have been invited by Dr Henrike Lange, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Art History and Italian, and will be talking about Ordered Universe work on Robert Grosseteste’s treatise On the Generation of Sounds. In particular Continue reading

Napa Lighted Festival – from Cate Watkinson

As an artist inspired by glass and light, particularly in scared spaces, when I was asked to join other members of the Ordered Universe team to be part of the Napa Lighted Festival, it was an invitation I just couldn’t refuse. The whole event is shaping up to be amazing and I am really looking forward to a totally immersive experience during the festival.

Working as part of the team to create a series of talks and demonstrations around the festival theme of ‘Beyond’ is proving to be a fantastic opportunity to show case some of the ideas I have been exploring through the Ordered Universe (and beyond).

Together with Giles Gasper, we will be speaking on the theme of ‘Beyond Belief’. We’ll be telling a story of glass and light framed through the lens of historical stained glass, the medieval gaze and the context of the sacred space. We’ll go beyond this to show how glass artists such as myself are inspired by the past, building on this to reach into the future to create new works in colour and light. I am particularly looking forward to the experience of speaking in the grand environs of the wonderful gothic architectural space of the First Presbyterian Church in Napa.

Less than a month to go!

Ordered Universe in Napa – Brian Tanner

Maybe it was happy memories of touring Napa Valley wineries some years ago, but when I was offered the opportunity  of taking part in the Napa Lighted Art Festival this coming January, I had no hesitation in accepting. For the past 10 years, Durham (UK) has had a similar event, Lumière, so I am expecting a spectacular visual experience. The Ordered Universe team is participating in the associated public activities series and I relish the thought of sharing my experiences of light in all its forms with residents and visitors to Napa. Colin Rennie and I will present a session ‘Beyond the Visible’ where we will go on a journey from X-Ray Imaging via Radio Astronomy to glass Art, all inspired by the science of the electromagnetic spectrum and one great thinker in particular, the 13thcentury polymath, Robert Grosseteste. The creative fusion between medieval European theories, modern vision science and glass art unlocks artistic inspiration and experience, which always surprises me.  It is never what I expect from our artist collaborators.

We will also enjoy showing visitors how simple optics experiments and observations, that they can themselves do with minimal apparatus, have a deep-rooted history in the medieval and classical worlds. I look forward to evenings revelling in the pieces of light art to be projected on to buildings, objects and in spaces. And, of course, there is the wine.

Napa Sun

Color est lux incoporata perspicuo – Colour is light incorporated in a transparent medium

Ordered Universe in Dublin – Getting Hands-on with Medieval Science!

As part of last week’s Ordered Universe symposium in Dublin, Seb Falk and Giles Gasper gave a talk about the work of the project (Giles) and medieval understanding of the night skies, and the instruments for measurement and observation available in the period. It was a lovely venue – in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin, an attentive audience, and a testing series of questions (!), finished off with Seb’s demonstration of how to use an astrolabe. An especially fascinating and Continue reading