Ordered Universe at the Napa Lighted Festival 2019 – Programme

 

So, in January, you’ll be able to catch a number of Ordered Universe team members at the Napa Lighted Art Festival. We’re hugely excited about the opportunity which was instigated by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio (with whom we have worked very successfully as followers of this blog will surely know). We’ve been working Continue reading

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 California 2019: Napa Lighted Festival

 

January 2019 – if you’re in or around Napa California, drop into the Napa Lighted Festival which runs in the second two weeks of the month. Various members of the Ordered Universe team will be participating with a series of talks and activities in the afternoons and evenings of the 17th, 18th, 19th. We’re thrilled by the invitation to work for and with the Festival, which came about through Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio. With a festival theme of Beyond, we’ll be working with Ross and Karen on a new projection show drawing on Grosseteste’s cosmological treatises: Horizon. On the Six ‘Diffeertiae’, On the Sphere, and others will feature in the new piece, under development at the moment. Taking research from the seminar-room to a different audience, in partnership with artistic collaborators is a fascinating and exhilarating experience. We’re very much looking forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Department in Napa to bring the best that we can to the city. Continue reading

Ordered Universe Creative News 2: Magnitudo in Japan

In more news from the Ordered Universe creative arts strands, we’re delighted that Colin Rennie’s sculpture Magnitudo, having been entered into the Toyama International Glass Prize, a Triennial open competition for glass art. Created for the Illuminating Colour exhibition at the National Glass Centre (2017-18), Magnitudo also featured in the Light Embodied exhibition at Pembroke College, University of Oxford, April-June 2018.

The sculpture is now in Japan, as one of 57 pieces selected for the final judging show in September. There were over a thousand entries globally. That a piece of glass sculpture should be inspired by Grosseteste’s 13th century writings on colour, light and the rainbow, and the modern science that resulted from its investigation, is a wonderful story. Let’s hope the judges think similarly.  We’ll let you know how the competition proceeds.

magnitudo1.jpg

 

Colin has also entered Concurrentes to the annual New Glass Review at the Corning Museum of Glass, upstate New York. Another journey across the seas awaits perhaps.We all wish Colin the very best of luck!

Elemental! Hot Glass, Volcanoes and Bubbles

 

 

Just over a week ago Ordered Universe (28th June) members joined colleagues from the National Glass Centre, most of whom are part of the project, but it was brilliant to meet new colleagues as well including Joanne Mitchell. And we were joined by other colleagues from Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, Drs Ed Lllewellin and Fabian Wadsworth, specialists in volcanology. The meeting opened with a collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s beautiful treatise On the Impressions of the Elements, in which the question of heat and the nature of bubbles are investigated. These were all pertinent themes and phenomena for the gathering, and a lively conversation took place, showing again how stimulating these gem-like treatises from the early thirteenth century are, 900 years later.

 

 

We then enjoyed our first introduction to the hot glass studio, with a fabulous rendition of Grosseteste’s treatise in glass by Colin Rennie. Bubbles blown, and attached, and the piece came together before our eyes, in all the wonderful shimmering, changing colours of the glass as it cooled. And we had our own try and drizzling molten glass onto damped paper to create a variety of effects…abstract, pungent, a lot of fun, and a very interesting experience in learning to manipulate the medium (which you have to do fast!).

 

Lunchtime, a different location, and a different sequence of talks – catching up on the various lines of shred interest and the legacy of previous work and exhibitions, a paper by Josh Harvey on his work on material perception with material from medieval Norwegian polychrome sculpture provided by Kaja Kollandsrud, and then a demonstration by Fabian and Ed of volcanoes in action. Not with lava but with syrup and a cherry favoured carbonated drink. Glass and its properties, naturally in volcanoes and as worked in the studio, hot or cold, provoked a long discussion: the similarities and differences in the scientific and artistic approach to the medium were striking, and a lovely example of knowledge exchange.

 

 

Then came our time in the hot shop again, to make paper-weights. This time, we had the experience of holding the glass, shaping it and learning to hold the equipment in the right place (because metal conducts heat…easy to forget in, well, the heat of the moment), The feeling of the heat coming off the ball of viscous, moving, radiating material which we were attempting to mould was extraordinary. And it made Cate and Colin’s skill all the more awe-inspiring. The results were kiln-cooled, and look very passable – all credit to our teachers and guides. We then watched Colin make a first draft of a piece of glassware inspired by medieval models…more on that to come.

 

A super day, one to treasure, and full of possibilities for future collaboration. We’re very grateful indeed to Claire Todd for organising, and to Cate, Colin and all at the National Glass Centre for sharing their experience and time. And can’t wait to see Grosseteste in glass, again.

Glass Gathering – Creative Experimentation with Hot Glass

Glass Gathering Poster

Experimenting with hot glass is probably best to be tried in the company, and with the guidance, of experts. That being the case, it would be difficult to find more expert guides for this particular activity than those at the National Glass Centre. So it is the best of all possible worlds in which the NGC and Hot Glass Studio, University of Sunderland, have organised a research and experience day, in which Ordered Universe members will be taking part. We’ll be reading one of more recent editions and translations, that of the treatise On the Impressions of the Elements, which is all about bubble formation in water and the action of heat. Quite appropriate, then, for a day devoted to hot glass experiments.

That done we’ll move to experimenting with and experiencing what it is to work with hot glass (a step-up from our last knowledge exchange session which involved sand-casting). Learning not only how glass works, but how those experienced at manipulating it explain their craft and  process, is essential to the effort of reconstructing how things were done, or conceived in the past. And, there are also scientific dimensions – we’re going to be joined by vulcanologists from Durham University’s Earth Sciences Department, and thinking about the ways in which glass-blowing and natural glass production in lava might mutually inform.

We’ll be having a catch-up as well on the various projects going forward with our colleagues at the NGC; publications, new collaborative working, and potentially, a range of wine-glasses. You never quite know what to expect at these meetings, and that’s all part of the fun! We’re enormously grateful to Cate Watkinson, Colin Rennie, and Claire Todd for organising, hosting and supervising (!) the day, and will report on what emerges (conceptually and in glass).

 

Note: Image of the 1954 Kilauea eruption from the U.S. Geological Survey.

OxNet & Ordered Universe: Seminars and Easter School in the North-East Hub

One of the wider activities with which the Ordered Universe is engaged is the OxNet access initiative, which seeks to place university learning directly into schools. In the case of the collaboration with Ordered Universe this involves team members bringing the world of medieval science and of the array of disciplines that make up the project to Continue reading

Illuminating Colour – Through a Glass Darkly

Film-maker Alan Fetiman followed and documented the Through a Glass Darkly collaboration between Ordered Universe and the National Glass Centre culminating in the exhibition of new work by Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie Illuminating Colour. The documentary is complete and makes for a fascinating insight into the different perspectives of the participants, and how the the various aspects of the programme came together. Working with Alan as part of the team has added an exciting dynamic to the collaboration, and another,  different, response to Grosseteste’s scientific reflections. We’re very grateful to Durham University for providing funding for the making of the film, and present it here as a chronicle of collaboration, and another segment of the kaleidoscopic approach of the Ordered Universe research project.

Through A Glass Darkly – Documentary from Alan Fentiman on Vimeo.

 

Ordered Universe in The Conversation: Colour and Glass

A new piece in The Conversation from the Ordered Universe team, in the persons of Cate Watkinson, Tom McLeish and Giles Gasper, on our creative collaborations over the last two years, and the on-going exhibition at the National Glass Centre, Illuminating Colour. Continue reading

Creative Lives – Colin Rennie and Alexandra Carr

Colin Rennie (National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland) and Alexandra Carr, both regular Ordered Universe participants, will be giving a talk at Sunderland University, on Tuesday this week (30th January). Details are below – including contact details for more information. Both Alexandra and Colin are integral to the way in which Ordered Universe research on medieval science, the modern science of the same natural Continue reading