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

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

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.

The View from Kalamazoo…in pictures

Ordered Universe team members (Giles, Nicola, Mike and Sarah), and colleagues from Durham University (Helen, Abi and Katie), made the journey from Montreal to Kalamazoo and then back to Toronto airport and home. We have a visual record here…from Quebec to Ontario to Michigan, the Kalamazoo Congress (and dance) and the Museum of Ontario Archeology and its recreation longhouse on the way home!

Movement(s) of the Middle Ages – McGill/Durham 2018

Last week, following the Ordered Universe symposium at McGill, various members of the team stayed on and enjoyed a second event with our friends in Montreal. Organised between Durham University’s Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and McGill University, we took part in a joint graduate conference on 7th May. Taking place at Continue reading

Illuminating Colour – Now Open

Last night saw the launch of Illuminating Colour, a new exhibition from Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland. The exhibition, as readers of this site will know, grew from a collaborative initiative with the Ordered Universe project, Through a Glass Darkly. The exhibition emerged from a series of meetings, collaborative readings, knowledge exchange sessions (learning about glass, living medieval manuscripts), glass-making, planning and exhibits within the Being Human Festival, all of which took place over the last 18 months. Students and staff from Durham, Sunderland and Oxford, as well as the international collaborators from Ordered Universe, have all taken part and contributed, Artists Alexandra Carr, Ross Ashton, Alan Fentiman and Rosie Reed Gold have also been involved from their different media expertise.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is Cate and Colin’s work. Taking Grosseteste’s treatises On Colour and On the Rainbow as the principal inspiration, alongside his thinking on light and other meteorological phenomena, the works have come together over the last year. It has been an enormous privilege to watch this happen, and, at some level, to have been involved. The imagination, craft, skill depth of experience and curiosity to experiment are both mind-blowing and inspiring. The exhibition dwells profoundly on Grosseteste’s statement that ‘Light is colour embodied in a transparent medium’. The end of that treatise, On Colour, invokes the fact that those who are especially skilled can manipulate the medium to make whatever colour they like. This description is applied justly to Cate and Colin, and the pieces they have created.

Illuminating Colour finishes on 11th March 2018, so there is plenty of time to come and visit, and what a reason (if any were needed), to come to the North-East. This is also only the beginning of the collaboration, so stay tuned for further cross-disciplinary exploration of the universe in which we live and how we explain and perceive it. The exhibition is supported by the University of Sunderland, the National Glass Centre, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Durham University and the Ordered Universe project. For those that couldn’t be there last night – some images and a periscope tour of the exhibits – but do come and see the real things!

 

 

New Team Member: Sarah Gilbert

The Ordered Universe has a new administrative assistant, Sarah Gilbert, a project stalwart who has participated in a number of our symposia and workshops. Sarah has taken up post already, and we are very glad indeed that she has! Sarah will have charge of communications and the day-to-day running of the project with its four strands: academic core, schools outreach, creative arts and public education.

In her own words:

I am currently in the final stages of a PhD at Durham University (supervised by Helen Foxhall Forbes and Richard Gameson) where my research has focussed on the copying of medical texts into non-medical manuscripts in early medieval England. My wider research interests include palaeography, history of the book, and monastic intellectual culture, with a particular focus on England up to the end of the twelfth century. I am delighted to be joining the Ordered Universe project as an administrative assistant, and I am looking forward to supporting the project members in their efforts to understand and share the brilliance of Robert Grosseteste and his surviving scientific treatises.

Illuminating Colour: New Work by Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie

It is not often that you get to see your research used in the production of stunning artwork, but that is exactly the case for the Ordered Universe team and the collaboration with Cate Watkinson and Colin Rennie at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland. Opening this Friday, Illuminating Colour runs from October 21st 2017 until March 11th 2018 in the Main Gallery at The National Glass Centre. The fruit of collaboration across the project and the NGC as readers of previous blogposts will know, it is tremendous to see Cate and Colin’s imagination, hard work, skill, craft and learning come to the point of exhibition.

Continue reading

Oxnet Access Scheme Summer School 2017 – What the students said…

From the Ordered Universe themed summer school for the Oxnet Access to University scheme, a short film with some of the very talented student participants. A reminder of the  quality of their questions, and keenness to contribute and engage, and of an uplifting week in Pembroke College under the inspired leadership of Dr Peter Claus. The Oxnet programme is coming to the North-East of England this year, with the launch of a hub based at Southmoor Academy. We can’t wait!

Many thanks to David Shacklette for conducting the interviews.

Through a Glass Darkly – More and more things to do with glass!

Work continues apace for the October 2017 launch of the National Glass Centre exhibition by Cate and Colin based on research from the Ordered Universe and the scientific world of Robert Grosseteste. The official launch date is 20th October and the exhibition will run until March 2018. A visit with Giles Gasper, Alexandra Carr, photographer Rosie Reed Gold (whose photographs are used here), and OxNet Southmoor Academy co-ordinator Katarzyna Kosior, revealed the riches in store. Continue reading